By Brandy Heineman
Checking In On 2020 Goals
How are your resolutions going? Or your One Word or verse for this year? Are you doing the things you planned to do, making big strides toward your goals?
I’ll wait for some of you to stop laughing and/or cringing.
Now that the short-lived enthusiasm of New Year’s has faded and diet food is back to full price, let me ask—are you closer to your big dream for 2020 now than you were on January first?
If your answer is “no” or “barely,” keep reading.
Chasing a Number
My top-priority writing goal for this season came in the form of a recommendation from my agent: to edit my novel down by a whopping 20%. A whole lot of “darlings” started sleeping with the lights on.
But it seemed no matter how much I hacked at my manuscript, or how many funny “current editing status” tweets I posted, that golden number remained far out of reach. The goal seemed too big, and the finish line too far, especially considering that I had naively clocked this project as complete when I turned it in the first time. With every negative word count I logged, usually a minuscule figure compared to the joyous free flow of fast drafting, discouragement nestled in deeper.
Small Things, Great God
Sometimes it’s obvious when God has something to say to me. A pattern or theme emerges as my daily life and His Word intersect, repeatedly, in weirdly specific ways.
First, Luke 16:10 was the verse of the day on a popular Bible app, and dozens of my friends shared its truth:
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
That same day, I came to Zechariah 4 in my daily reading and felt the zing of these words from verse 10:
“For who has despised the day of small things?”
Then, my friends at A Rough Draft Life (and fellow ACFW North Georgia members), Lindsey P. Brackett and Kristi Ann Hunter, served up a podcast with special guest Regina Jennings all about working toward goals—surprise—in small, actionable steps.
Finally, a webinar I attended referred to Elisabeth Elliot’s comforting advice:
“When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.”
In each iteration of the theme, I understood a little more that the challenges we court by way of big dreams aren’t meant to be shouldered all at once. That just as Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread, and that tomorrow has trouble of its own, so is today’s progress enough for today. If that progress is minuscule, even so, do not despise the day of small things. Instead, be faithful to the task, and the dream, and the One who called you to it.
Encouraging One Another
We all face struggles on the path toward achieving our writing dreams. Do you have a verse or words of wisdom that pulled you through a particular challenge? If so, share in the comments below.
Brandy Heineman writes dual timeline novels laced with generational secrets and mysteries of the faith, believing that with Jesus, it is possible to overcome the past and find real connection. Her debut novel, Whispers in the Branches, was a 2014 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.
She loves springtime in Georgia, testing new recipes on unsuspecting friends, and to her husband Michael’s chagrin, well-timed puns. Visit her online at brandyheineman.com.