Open Water

In 2015, I am seriously considering competing in a triathlon.

Originally posted at the Breathe Writer’s Conference site:

150213 Open Water

In 2015, I am seriously considering competing in a triathlon.

Even a few years ago, I would never have thought of doing this, because, quite honestly, I am terrified of drowning. (Pretty much not an exaggeration.)

Since I can currently hardly swim the length of a pool, some of you may feel concerned that my life might actually be in danger. I assure you: I won’t attempt a tri without training. And even with training, well— Swimming in open water? With no pool edge nearby? Pretty sure there will be a healthy (or not-so-healthy) dose of adrenaline going on.

So why do it? Because we only know the joy of overcoming when we face the things we fear.

In 2015, I’m doing another thing that scares me: starting an MFA in Creative Writing. I think it’s going to be awesome. And hard. I may have to cut some things in my life that I enjoy. Like sleep.

It’s worth it to me because I think it will help me become a stronger writer.

The beautiful—and terrifying—thing about 2015 is that it is still unknown. It is a page yet unwritten, one that may bring joy like we’ve never known—or one that may undo us. We launch out into the open water of 2015 with no edges to grab on to. Facing unknowns, knowing our own insufficiency. Maybe the waters of 2015 will take us under.

When I feel uncertain about the challenges ahead, I think of someone who had a different perspective about the future:

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future (Proverbs 31:25, NASB).

Here’s a woman (and men, you can learn from her too!) who looks with courage at the unknown and smiles in anticipation of success. She’s dignified, strong, self-assured.

I want to face 2015 that way.

A few verses earlier, we get a clue about how she can feel so confident.

She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong (Proverbs 31:17, NASB).

She’s doesn’t just plunge in, willy-nilly. She took time to look ahead and to prepare. She gets strong for whatever is coming.

There’s another piece to the puzzle. This person is confident, but not self-reliant. She trusts in God.

… a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30, NASB).

At we start into 2015, take some time to reset your internal perspective. What are your writing goals for the new year? How can you prepare yourself? What unknowns do you need to commit to God?

For me, I want 2015 will be a year to remember: a year where I strengthen my arms, trusting God for the outcome. A year where I smile at the future, anticipating the joy of overcoming.

Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:31, NASB).

May it be a year full of writing successes for each of you!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What do you hope to achieve this year (writing or non-writing)? How are you preparing to succeed? Where do you need to trust God for the unknowns?