Ambitious Targets

Well, I don’t have a concrete plan, but I’m going to go for it.  I’m going to aim to finish a readable draft of my book by the end of June at the same time that my wife writes her nurse practitioner exam.

I told my wife about it and she was very supportive.  She even suggested that I look at my vacation days to see if I might be able to use some of them to work on the book for a concentrated period of time.  I might actually be able to do this, but talk is cheap.  I need to actually take hold of all the small chunks of time that pass me by and make use of them.

I would like to revisit the idea I wrote about a few months ago about making better use of my thinking time.  I haven’t been able to make great progress in that area, but I haven’t given up.  One interesting development is that I’ve got a lot of new things to think about now that I’m on the board at my church.  I’m not going to discuss any of the ins and outs of what those things are, but it’s given me a lot to think about.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my church even before I stepped onto the board.  I find that often as I think about the search for sweet solid ground it comes around to the idea of a church and how a church is a place where people come together to do that.  It’s a very specific expression of that search.  The Christian faith has a very long history with many different streams and traditions with very robust theologies and practices, but I find that the most challenging piece is to make the connections from there to the day to day life with all its ups and downs.   That’s my concern and my quest.

Similarly in a church, there can be a very clear idea of what a church should be and what it should do, but in practice it can be extremely difficult to live that out in the way you would want in theory.  It is a community of human beings who can be very different and very flawed and human relationships can be complicated at the best of times.  It’s easy for things to get bogged down.  It’s easy to fall into habits – to do things the way that they’ve always been done without thinking about why.

I know that for me this is the case with my book.  It is very easy to feel strongly about wanting to finish the book simply because I’ve started it.  I don’t want to let this drop.  I’ve invested so much time in it that it would be heartbreaking to see it grind to a halt.  I want to finish it.  It means a lot to me.  But I don’t always think about why I’m writing this book.  I don’t think about what I want people to get from it.  It’s hard to think about it in that way because there is always the fear that no one will read it beyond the people I know.  What if it doesn’t find an audience?

So when I find myself thinking about things for the Board at my church I find myself thinking about these big picture questions.  It is our job to think about these things.  It is our job to think about why we do things and how we can do them better and all the important things like that.  I like doing that kind of thinking, even if it’s hard.  It’s fascinating to me how a group of people put aside differences to think and work together for a common purpose.  It’s not always easy.

Sometimes I think it would be good to have a board that came together to think about all the big decisions in my life.  Other times I’m very glad that I get to do it on my own – that I can do the thinking and I can do the choosing.  I think a fear that I would have is that getting input from other people takes the power out of my hands – it could become someone else’s life.  But that would only be the case if the people giving that input and doing that thinking didn’t know me or care about me.  In theory, an effective board is going to be making decisions and choices that will help me to do the things that I want to do and that are good for me.

On top of that, I also have a fear that the things that I want to do are mutually exclusive from the things that are good for me.  So then there is a fear that the people who are helping me will tell me the truth and that will actually ruin my life.

Fear can be so crippling.  A big part of having faith in God is believing that God knows me and that Gods want what is good for me and that God will not ruin my life if I let him and this would extend to the work of a board making decisions for a church – we do the thinking and the decision making but we want to make sure that we aren’t working against God in any of it.

It all comes down to trusting God.  We can plan and scheme and work things out and plow forward on our own, but there’s also this quest to find the way forward that incorporates all this effort on our part – we always need to put in the effort in one way or another – but to do it in a way that recognizes the role of God in all of it, believing that finding that sweet spot will be the best way forward.  It may not be the way we might hope for, but always it enables us to come through with a peace and a hope that it is never, ever for naught.

So…I’m going to set a goal and I’m going to for it.  If God wants me to do anything in this life, I’m fairly certain that he wants me to finish this book.  I don’t know what’s going to come of it, but I’ll trust him on that one.

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