The old is gone. That finished, cluttered, scribbled-on, busier-than-expected 2015 calendar is wadded up and thrown in the garbage.
2015 didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. Nothing bad happened, which I’m grateful for, but nothing much happened at all. No big accomplishments. No victories. No good news to share. No progress, writing or otherwise. In fact, I think I went backwards. I ended the year feeling stagnant and directionless, with a parched muse who hasn’t drank from the gushing river of words inside me for too long.
The sight of a new calendar, an empty page, clean and fresh, should turn into something for us that is glowing, humming, alive, and crisp with the promise of fresh starts and do-overs. It should warm us and energize us with the excitement of possibility. It looks like endless time stretched before us. All those little white boxes, titillating with the unknown. Hundreds of them.
But for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this is not the start of something new. We are smack in the middle of our education year. Our kids are donning their winter coats and handing in assignments they began two weeks ago.
January does not feel fresh and new for us. It’s such a cold and bitter month. It’s a month for staying in and hunkering down, a month to watch gray days from the warm side of a window, and wish we could hibernate for two more months until the real renewal, when spring breathes life back into the earth we trod.
So we wait.
We are in between.
But there is hope in that. There is no need to look at my 2015 and despair.
Yes, I wanted to write a victory on those old calendar pages before they went in the garbage, but God wanted me to wait. And so I look before me at all those gleaming, empty white 2016 boxes, and I can only resolve to wait.
I don’t do this out of my own desire or strength. I’m too dark, too flawed, too proud to wait. My desire is always to walk down the path that looks more fruitful to my impatient eyes. I want to know my work and my life matters NOW. I don’t want to trudge through another season when it feels like it doesn’t.
But God’s people always wait. They persevere. They set their eyes toward the barren path, God’s path, and they trust him with it.
And they get busy, doing what he’s given them to do, whether there’s fruit or not, because they know time is short.
The days ahead, though they seem endless, are not. The blank newness, the endless possibility, is an illusion. In a blink this new 2016 calendar will be tarnished, scribbled on, wadded up, and thrown away.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
So my dear, fellow writers, if 2015 wasn’t your year, don’t assume that story is over. Discern the will of the Lord. Ask him to direct your heart concerning your writing work, to take from you this dream if he desires that you do something else. And if he doesn’t, then get busy. Pick up the pen, click on the monitor, open up the new page, and keep writing. Keep waiting. Stay busy, even when you’re in between. Especially when you’re in between, because this is when he’s molding you through perseverance into the writer he wants you to be.
Praise him for that as you continue to write through this waiting time.