Monday, November 9, 2015

Treasure the Journey

Hubbles and I went for a hike on Saturday that took us "down the shore" as we call it here in New Jersey. The Manasquan Reservoir has a wonderful meandering cinder path that amounts to a 5.4 mile walk around said reservoir. 

There was a bench at the Environmental center where we started, which had a plaque that said this:



It made me think about my writing journey.

Like so many bloggers, I am writing a book. Well, more like two or three. And like five more in my head. I started writing one, then I got busy writing my blog last month (31 Days of Intentional Joy) and this whole personified Joy thing that I wrote about last month took shape as a book idea, so I veered off the Overcoming Negativity book trail to follow this trail. 

Meanwhile, between working full time and all the other stuff that goes on in a day, it's becoming increasingly difficult to decide: "Do I focus my writing time on the blog or the book?"

Always a dilemma. 

The blog usually wins. 

Then there's all the social media. I won't even go there. I posted something on my personal Facebook page the other day about how I sometimes feel strangled by the "necessity" of social media for a writer, when I just want to write, and someone posted this encouraging comment:

Maybe you need to take a small break from the public part of writing and just write for yourself for a little bit. The stuff you want to say that's just for you...you are very talented and doing it out of love. You will find YOUR path to be heard.

Writing to write. Not to publish. Not to the specifications of any publisher, editor, agent, or well-meaning coach, fellow writer, or friend.

As Julia Cameron says in her book, The Right to Write:

We can either demand that we write well or we can settle more comfortably into writing down what seems to want to come through us--good, bad, or indifferent. 

Kind of like treasuring the journey. It's not getting a book published that counts--it's not even about finishing it. It's about what I discover along the way. It's about treasuring the journey of writing as much as I treasure the journey of walking in the woods around the reservoir. As much as I treasure discovering new things about myself as I journey through this phase of my life. As much as I treasure the gift of life itself.

It's about writing what I feel God is leading me to write, whether anyone else ever reads it or not. What's in my heart, on the edge of my brain, at the tips of my fingers.

Somehow, it all comes back to joy. 

It's all about finding joy in what we do, in the journey of what we do. And treasuring it. Taking it in. Holding it. Experiencing it. Exploring it. Enjoying it!

In our journey, whatever it may be, sometimes the path is wide and straight, covered with fallen leaves. We can't see the path, but we know it's there, and it's pretty clear where to go.

Other times, it can be confusing, even comical, trying to read signs that don't make sense (The sign in the picture below says, "Overflow parking area...tough to get a car through there, though).



Or, perhaps the signs are pretty clear. And maybe we ignore them and press on to continue down the path we were going--the wrong one. 



But if we listen to the Holy Spirit (who, by the way, speaks to us sometimes through other people) we might find a blessing in taking another direction, one that may not seem or feel quite right or good. But IS right and good.

Regardless of where our journey takes us, it is always...always necessary to stop along the way to reassess our route and mostly, to admire God's handiwork. I spent the summer doing just that:





As I stand at the top looking out over the treetops and the valley of where I've come, I ask myself, and my God, "What now?"

I keep going back to what my friend said. Maybe I need to take a small break from the public part of writing, and just write for myself. Ultimately, it will be for others, but right now, I just can't keep doing it all. Because when we try to do it all, something inevitably suffers and we often feel resentful. I've come to far in my joy journey to let that happen.

I love my readers, and I love blogging--it's my outlet. But that October Write 31 Days was crazy! I can't keep that pace up! So, my new plan is to continue to blog once a week and concentrate on my other writing--the stuff out of the public eye--the rest of the time.


Look for my blog posts on a Monday or Tuesday. It's hard to stay away, so perhaps I'll throw another one in later in the week at times. But the every day blog? Not gonna happen right now.

Where are you in your journey? Are you following the wide and straight path? Are you confused by signs right now? Have you gone down the wrong path (don't worry, you CAN turn around!)? Do you need to make some adjustments? Reassess the route? Change the direction? 

Or maybe you just need to rest and admire God's handiwork. Recharge. Refuel. Renew.

Wherever you are in your journey, remember this:

It's not getting there that counts. 
It's what you discover along the way.Treasure the Journey

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these..

20 comments:

  1. Good for you, Mary! I was so awed that you were able to keep up with the challenge and felt bad that I couldn't keep up with reading all your fine work on a daily basis. I trimmed back to once a week with two on occasion, for a specific purpose on occasion so I could focus on my other writing to its purpose. You will joy in the journey more when all things come into balance. I am working diligently to that end. Be aware of your season and God will give you the where - with - all to accomplish His call in your written words.
    Blessings!
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I know it was a lot to read every day. I confess I can't always read yours either, but I sure try! We can only do so much, right? And I don't think any of us should feel obligated to be dedicated to anyone else's blog except our own. We need to give and receive that personal freedom. You are a wonderful friend, mentor, and encourager! Joy!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement, neighbor. I totally hear you and agree with you. Blessings on your journey!

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    1. Thank you, Mari-Anna, and thanks for popping over.

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  3. Yes, much wisdom in this post! I used to write every day on my blog when I first started. It took about a year for me to become completely worn out and burned out. I seriously considered hanging it all up. But, I continued to feel God saying, "Not yet." I have now settled into a once-a-week-on-Monday schedule, and it works for me. There are still times when I feel like I don't have words, but God continues to give me new ideas. I find that my blog is the place where He and I walk out my journey of faith, and I need that.

    Sometimes just removing the *have to* makes all the difference in allowing the words to flow...

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. I'm so glad you didn't give up, Sharon because I LOVE your posts! They're sometimes a little kooky, like mine, but always have a spiritual lesson!

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  4. Very interesting post. I love to write as well but am not writing a book.

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    1. As long as we write what we love when we write, it keeps the writing as something we love to do. Writing to the specifications and expectations of what we think everyone else wants becomes a chore and is no longer fun!

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  5. Every day blogging will never happen with me! I am committed to 3x a week and try hard to stick to that. I'm from NJ and remember "going to the shore." No where else do they call the "beach" "the shore!!! Thanks for visiting me, and yes you definitely "GET IT." Blue feathers. ;)

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    1. Thanks for that encouragement, Susan! And thanks for your encouraging tweet earlier.

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  6. Mary, this is the most beautiful and encouraging post I've read today! Every word resonated within my heart and spirit as I too have wrestled with the dilemma of blog vs book. Thank you so much for sharing this, Love! You have been a great inspiration and encouragement to me this morning. GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

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    1. oh, I'm so glad, Tai! I just share my heart. You never know how many people are sharing the same heart!

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  7. Mary, Thank you for such an encouraging and insightful post. You spoke to this blogger's heart!

    I've only been blogging since January and since August started blogging six days a week. One of those days is my main blog post, the other days are daily features that I am finding therapeutic to do for me, but seem to be blessing others as they read them. But in the mix of writing, being a part of link-up communities which are so important to the whole of blogging, building kindred relationships, being a blessing and receiving blessings, I am finding some resentment creeping in...

    My life as a whole is super busy with part-time work, babysitting my granddaughter, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter living with me, Bible study homework and household responsibilities... It's becoming too much. I need to find my way back to quiet times with the Lord that are meaningful, not rushed.

    But your post reminded me that God redeems everything and that there is indeed joy in the journey. I am so thankful for all the aspects of this busy season, but you have refocused me to not feel like I am failing at everything, but to seek God and see God through the journey. :-)

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    1. Wow, Karen, that's a pretty full plate! I can understand how you might feel overwhelmed. Someone recently wrote a blog post (can't remember who) about putting our online friends, "family," and responsibilities before our real life ones--what's wrong with THAT picture? It's so easy to get sucked into comparison and resentment. That's why it's also so important, as you said, to get back to our quiet times with the Lord. Thanks for visiting. I'm so glad my post gave you some encouragement.

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  8. We dialed back our blogging responsibilities and it did help refocus! May you be so blessed!

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    1. Thanks, Helene. I think we all need to find the appropriate amount of time for ourselves. And remember why we even started blogging! When I started, I didn't even know about linkups etc. I just wanted to share my heart. God tells us not to despise small beginnings. It would behoove us to remember that.

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  9. I face this same dilemma, Mary--juggling life-coaching, ministry through my church, blogging, and writing the books God's put on my heart to write. I usually let that last priority slide because, as you've pointed out, the marketing and social media end of things can be so time consuming. I've pulled back on reading other's posts in my linkup for that very reason. I simply try to visit those who comment. And I've cut back on how many posts I publish too. I keep that Wednesday post fired up, but sometimes let my Monday posts slide or remain brief. But even with that, I'm still struggling to find the time. I hate the idea of pulling back from engaging with other bloggers like you, Mary. And I hate the idea of not hearing from you as much too. What to do, what to do?? It's all so very daunting at times. We must just do one day at a time, focused on what God is calling us to do and be. The rest will have to wait or fall by the wayside, I suppose. You've got my prayers and my "go get 'em, Tiger!" cheers for whatever you sense God tells you to do, my friend!

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    1. That's why I comment on your blog! Haha, just kidding...actually, sometimes I get so excited about commenting on your post that I forget to add my post to the linkup! I do enjoy reading yours. And I do hope that we can continue encouraging and supporting one another through our busy season in life!

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  10. I love how you've compared writing to a journey...in fact, I've written about this very thing several times in my own blog. Life truly is a journey and we are sojourners, often even wondering nomads (as this earth is not our home). I've taken a couple of "breaks" over the past 4 years of blogging (just recently celebrated that milestone.) Once I've taken time away, though, God has always drawn me back to write and fellowship with other believers through my blog. I've really enjoyed reading and seeing your photos! I hope you take the time you need to refresh and return with renewed enthusiasm and desire to write/blog again!!
    Blessings, Ann @ Christ in the Clouds = http://christintheclouds.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you for you beautiful and kind words, Ann! And congratulations on your milestone. I do feel that blogging has brought me to a special place, where fellow bloggers really "get" me like "regular" people (i.e folks in church, friends, family) don't. I do love the support we all give and receive here, and truthfully, writing blogs is in some ways, an experience of communing with God. I don't want to give that up completely! Thanks for taking time to visit here.

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