One year and five months ago, I took a picture of a tube of hand lotion I had just put out on my desk at work. You would be rightly thinking that was an odd thing for me to take a picture of, but there was a method to my seeming randomness:
I had been having a bad day at work. The specifics escape me, but suffice it to say I was experiencing some sort of frustration not only with my job, but with life in general. I felt like I was stuck in a “lather, rinse, repeat” cycle for my days, and it was starting to grate. But when part of my job involves answering phones (and being pleasant while doing so), I was also trying to get my mind onto things to lift my spirits. So as I set out the new tube of lotion, I remember thinking something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be neat if by the time this lotion was gone, I was either starting or on the cusp of starting a different job?” So I snapped the photo to have as a marker of sorts to look back upon when I was in my new job. I figured it would make a cool blog post.
Well here is the picture, and this is a blog post. But I’m not in a new job yet or about to start one. In fact, I’m still at the same location (and using the same brand of hand lotion). And I was wondering as I looked at the picture from all those months ago why so little has changed in regards to my job situation.
The answer is rather simple: Because I didn’t do much about it. I didn’t pray, I didn’t plan, and as a result, I have done little to change things. It’s pretty hard to end up somewhere new without moving, after all.
I have all kinds of reasons for my stagnant state, however, chief among them being a fear that God is going to tell me I’m not supposed to be a writer. Yes, the God who wired me to love words and stories, the One who knows my frustrations with things like complex math equations and physics is going to tell me to be stock broker or physicist or a mathematician. It makes perfect sense. Only not so much.
The other key issue stems from my unwillingness to make the necessary sacrifices to make the dream of being a paid writer a reality. Oh, I’m not a total sloth — there is evidence of work being accomplished. But there is much more I could be doing. For example, I could easily get up earlier in the morning for some writerly pursuits if I got my tookus into bed earlier each night. It’s not like I work all kinds of crazy hours, or have children to tend to, or the like. I’m simply reluctant to change, to do more and expect more of myself (or to have more expected of me). It’s easier to talk about doing something, after all, than to actually get out there and do something.
So all that to say I don’t have a definite plan yet. Honestly, I don’t want to be out of God’s will for my life, but I also don’t want to use a lack of handwritten instructions on my wall as an excuse for not doing anything. Nor do I want to be so rigid in the plans I have that I fail to make the necessary course corrections to account for life’s inevitable surprises.
But I’ve taken the first step: I’ve admitted the problem. Now to get down to the business of doing something about it.