Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Persisting Past the Point of the writing god

Angie here:
Can you be persistent? Is writing your god? Here we have both extremes in the same week. But the reality is both questions are crucial to our success in attaining any goal.

God doesn't ask us to be so overwhelmed that we both burn out or replace him. There is a middle ground. I've been searching for that this year since I became a full time speaker and writer. I've never worked so hard in my life!

Travel, proposals due, coming edits, marketing, accounting, meetings, planning future events, duties for my volunteer positions, and a family reunion left my desk a complete disaster. All important. Then the call came. Could I just help out with one more thing?

I'm not kidding, I almost said yes.

What stopped me?

Absolute fatigue. I knew I could not stay awake to make a dessert or sandwiches, let alone find a way to get them to the special event. Was it worthwhile? Yes. Did it need to be done? Yes. But not by me. There has to be a place where we come to the end of the run and allow our bodies to catch a breath, rest, and prepare for the next day's run.

When we exhibit persistence there is a sense of a plan. In that plan is scheduled or intended time set aside to reach the goal. When writing or any other goal becomes a god, the plan goes out the window and every spare moment is focused on the activity barring all other activities, and people sometimes too.

So where is that balance?

I believe it's in weeding out the great from the good. Focused writing time (or whatever goal you have) does not need to block out relationships and responsibilities around you 100% of the time. We should be able to fit in daily time with our loved ones, small chores, and joyful moments. Focus removes distractions and things that are good, but not helpful. But it should be for work time, not a lifetime. Focus is a word that means to concentrate for a period of uninterrupted time. It's poor practice to become myopically challenged by it. It'll make your eyes cross so you can't see straight to do what you intended in the first place. Then what good are we?

Think about 1 Corinthians 10:23. "Everything is permissible but not beneficial. Everything is permissible but not constructive.

For me that means extremes. I can over-focus and not benefit. I can under-focus and not benefit. I need to build my goals into my daily life in order to be persistent, but not so much that it crowds out important relationships. When that happens, it's destructive not constructive.

In saying no this time I was saying yes to time with my family. Time to say goodbye to my son as he leaves for college. Time to get some much needed rest after nearly 5 months of intense travel, writing, speaking schedule. Do you think they wanted to have me do one more thing? I think they would mutiny.

Ultimately I was saying that I recognized I could have done that activity, it was permitted, but it wouldn't be beneficial. Sometimes there are seasons when we just need to say no. (This is especially important if we seem to be one the church, school, or volunteer program is always calling. Other people need the chance to serve too.) But if we are saying no all the time then that should be enough proof that something else had become a god? What if we are saying yes all the time?

Do you have a "god" that is a great thing but needs to be scaled back?

Are you persisting at a long-term goal?

How often are you saying yes? No?

Are your answers too heavily weighted in one direction or the other?

How do you balance beneficial versus permissible?

I challenge you to reread the verse 1 Corinthians 10:23 and ponder it this week. How might it apply to you?



  1. Angie, I will definitely ponder that verse. Another timely blog post for me... And I have found I have to say no at things that I would love to do. But, some things, people, are more important than what I want. The things I want will be there when I'm available and if they are meant for me, in God's will, then they'll be there and more wonderful than I imagine.

  2. What a great post. Great points. And yes, the key word is balance. I love that you took our posts and created a way to have that balance.

  3. Great post, Angie! I've learned to say no more often. But I'm also feeling led to say yes more often to certain types of activities that are service oriented.

    Balance and setting priorities is a great thing!

  4. Such a timely post! I struggle with this all the time. Great verse!