It’s Been An Eventful Year or So
In the past 18 months, I’ve written two novels, published one (soon to be two in about a week), and have started plotting the third. This may seem like a big achievement, but I turned 46 this year.
I’ve been wanting to write books since I was about 11 years old.
That means it took me 35 years to realize my dream.
3 1/2 DECADES!
3/4ths OF MY LIFE!
I have to be honest. There are days when this really bothers me.
When I am in writing groups and the 20-somethings are talking about the series of five books they’ve just finished, and the new series they have planned, I feel like a failure.
Regret has a taste, and it’s bitter.
I ask myself why in the world I waited so long to start doing what I love.
I’m tempted to wallow in regret, and as strange as it sounds, to quit. I’m tempted to believe that I started too late, and I’ve missed my chance.
But here’s the thing, if I spend my time looking behind me, I’ll never see all the opportunity in front of me.
One of my favorite verses is in Isaiah 43:17, 18 “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”
Regret is one of those things that can keep you mired in the past, stuck gazing at the path behind you and all the things you’ve missed. The problem with that is that you’ll end up missing all the new things that God is doing up ahead.
I could spend a lot of time beating myself up for all the “wasted time.” I could bemoan the fact that if I had gotten started 10 years ago, I’d be way further down the author path by now.
But I didn’t, and I can’t go back and change that.
The truth is, even if I had written books, they wouldn’t be the books I’m writing now because I’m different at 46 than I was at 36.
The very last book of the Bible I taught to my Sunday school class was Philippians. This book contains a lot of very well-known verses and one of them is found in chapter 3.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13
And if anyone had a reason for regret, it was Paul. It’s easy to forget that before Paul had his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road, he was Saul. And Saul’s main goal in life was to go after Christians. He didn’t just go after believers in Jerusalem. No, he asked for permission to pursue them into other neighboring cities, too. If Saul and Paul shared one trait, it was zealousness.
Paul was responsible for men and women being dragged out of their beds, put in prison, and even losing their lives. He could have spent his life sunk deeply in the mire of regret.
But instead, he made the conscious decision to let that go and press forward. He turned his mental energy toward the task before him, not the regrets behind him.
Obviously, I realize that writing fiction books isn’t quite on par with Paul spreading the Gospel to the known Gentile world. At the same time, it’s what God has created and called me to do. And not doing it would still be disobedience.
So, on those days when I feel like I am way behind everyone else, when it feels like I will never catch up, I take a page from Paul’s book (literally!).
Instead of letting regret get the better of me, I purposefully pull my thoughts from what might have been, and instead, turn my attention and focus to the path before me.
And then, I take the next step.
What’s holding you back from moving forward?