|Write down your dreams today!|
Since it looks like we've survived the doom and gloom of the not-so-pending Mayan Apocalypse, maybe it's time to think about some goals for the new year.
I am not a big fan of resolutions. For instance, "I resolve not to eat a lot of fattening foods in the new year. I resolve not to drink. I resolve to stop gossiping about people. I resolve to keep my house clean...etcetera." Resolutions are vows made to be broken. (A vow is a solemn promise--one in which a person is bound to act on). And a resolution? The Free Online Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Resolutions defines resolution as:
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.2. A resolving to do something.3. A course of action determined or decided on.
This sort of declaration sounds great on paper, but often fails in application. Why? Because we are trying to accomplish them in our OWN strength.
"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible"Matthew 19:26.
That said, what I am a big fan of is goal-setting. Setting goals each year for the future twelve-month period is a wise thing to do.
In October, I attended the Books & Such Literary Agency retreat in Monterey, California. One of the things our agents inspired us to do was to dream big for the year, to allow our imaginations, inner dreams and desires to run their course, and to write them down, no matter how outlandish.
The first thing we all did was to write down a scripture that defines our life. Some people already have a scripture chosen for their lives and I commend those people. I had one in mind, but it was one that God gave me many years ago and is specific to the ministry he called me to. Many of us visited a website that assigns a scripture according to birthdate, though the best thing to do would be to find one through a time of prayerful intercession. But for the purpose of this exercise, you might want to try it. The site is called Birth Verse:
Once you have your verse, try playing off the words in the verse to come up with categories. My verse was Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." So I thought of my life in terms of treasure. I divided my live into Faith Treasure, Family Treasure, Creative Treasure and Sharing Treasure.
Faith Husband Writing Writer's Groups
Church Children Painting Speaking
Bible Study Extended Family Crafts Giving
Witnessing Friends Encouraging
Listening to God
As you can see, I divided my life into four groups and subgroups, then I set goals for each. For instance, one of the goals I had from moment I began writing books was a promise to give away half of every book. I actually promised to give God half of the first three books I wrote, but decided to extend that promise for all of them. Since I started getting published in 2008, I've given to the women's ministry at my old church, to my brother's church, to missions and to build a water well in Africa (Living Water International http://www.water.cc). One of my goals under "Sharing Treasure," is to give toward building 10 water wells in Africa and also to missions. Is it a BIG GOAL? Yes, it is. How can I be so certain God will give me the book contracts to enable me to fulfill that goal? The answer is, I cannot be certain of it. I simply spelled out my hopes and dreams, and made my requests known to God. The rest is up to Him. If my dreams are in line with His desire for my life, then He will fulfill them exceedingly and abundantly over all my expectations. I am confident of that!
How can I be so confident? Because getting published, like everything else in my life, is all in God's hands. I do my part and God does His. We work together. A book won't have a chance of getting published if you don't write it. I write books and lay them on the altar to God. It's that simple.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Now fear doesn't mean afraid in that sense; it means, reverent. Once you know and trust God, you know that your prayers will be answered and God knows best how and when to fulfill them. Sure, waiting is frustrating. I was going to say can be frustrating, but you and I know that's not true. Waiting is frustrating! Many writers wait years and years to get that call or that contract in the mail, and many others wait as long to get another contract.
So, take heart! Spend some time in prayer. Write down the goals hidden in your heart. God already knows about them. He knows everything about you. There is nothing hidden from Him. Go ahead and write them all down. Find your verse. Break the heart of that verse into categories and subcategories and build your dream goals into it.
Finally, pray over those dreams and work at the parts you need to accomplish. Don't try to manipulate your way to a blessing. Many people try to make things happen when God doesn't fulfill their requests right away, so they act and expect God to rubber-stamp His blessing on it. Do you want the good, acceptable or perfect will of God in your life? I don't know about you, but I want the perfect! God will accomplish the impossible part. You do the writing!
Here's a prayer to offer up to God:
Dear Lord--I thank you for all the gifts You've given me, specifically for the ability to write. And if this desire in my heart to be published is from You, I ask You to get my work published in the right time, at the right publishing house and through the right agent. I release all my goals and dreams to You and know that You are the Author and Finisher of my faith. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:2. Amen.
Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.
Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency
Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.