The temperatures climbed to a balmy 60 degrees on Sunday. And while I wanted to lie outside like a lizard on a rock, for some reason, my daughter and her friends thought Sunday was the perfect time to go ice skating. C’mon now, really?
Just days from having an unprecedented snow and ice storm which left enough ice to skate in my driveway, the girls house wanted to go skating. (I blame the Olympics) Just about everyone in Atlanta has cabin fever. It’s not that we want to put our children’s safety at risk, but if they don’t return to school (soon) we momma’s are going to start screaming like banshees. So it was with sheer joy that I dropped the teenagers at The Cooler, and pulled the people mover into a parking space. I tightened my shoelaces, donned sunglasses and stepped into the glorious sunshine determined to work off the extra pounds that magically appeared after five days of being trapped inside with nothing to eat but brownies.
Usually, I multi-task during my walks. I call friends, or my parents. Walk time is catch-up time, one when I do my best to disguise the tears and pray my voice won’t crack after learning that my momma’s hematocrit is two. (Yes. One plus one = 2). Today, as I wrapped my hands around my cell that still small voice told me to run to the throne instead the phone.
I’ve been analyzing my life a lot lately, worried because my daughter will be a senior next year. Worried, because I do not have enough money saved for her college; worried because, despite my efforts, finding a full-time job has been impossible; worried that my next book won’t be well received.
And I know, truly know in my heart, that worry is not of God.
Authors are a worrisome lot, especially in today’s world. There is so much negativity out there: shrinking advances, lackluster sales, Amazon-the devil incarnate-driving small bookstores out of business. Still, many of my peers are doing well. They are doing very well and I love hearing about their success because it gives me hope. I am happy for them, but I also want some of their success.
Honesty: that is what you always receive when you read my blog. Honesty. On this little blog I open a vein and share my soul. I have been an author for ten years now and while my time is but a blink compared to other authors, I have worked hard to grow and improve which is why as I walked I asked myself, what do I want?
I ticked off a list:
I want my mother to be healed of cancer.
I want to sell a lot of books.
I want my daughter to do well in school, well enough to earn a partial scholarship.
I want to finish my novel in progress
I want to restore my Dad’s Jeep.
I want to have money left over at the end of my husband’s pay day.
I want to return to school.
As I turned and walked back up the hill toward the parking lot, God whispered, Are you done?
So I thought some more.
I want a lot of people to come to my writer’s workshop in April. (Because I have so much to share).
I want more fledgling authors to use my editing services.
I want the weather to be clear when I travel to TN for a conference next week.
I want to sell books at the TN event.
I want to stop worrying.
I want what He wants for me.
Ding. Ding. Ding!
Finally. After the third trip up and down the concrete hill, I got it. God doesn’t want me to rattle off a list of what I want. He already knows what I want and what I need. What I really wanted, what I really needed wasn’t any of the things that I had mentioned.
Sometimes I imagine God gazing down on me and asking my relatives who are in heaven, “Who’s got money on three times up the hill . . . cause she’s almost there.”
I didn’t want to be as successful as my friends. I didn’t even want to be more successful than my friends. I wanted to trust God to give me what I need, and I want to accept that what He gives me is the best for me. I really want peace. Peace that only comes when I trust Him first.
Because if I get all of the things on the list and I don’t have a relationship with Him, then what good are those “things?” What good is money, college, a refurbished Jeep, Momma’s health when compared to my relationship with Him?
Turning, I headed down the hill again, only this time I said. “Lord, I don’t want the success my friends have. I want what you have in store for me. What you’ve got already planned with my name on it. I want to stop worrying. You know I am not afraid to do the work. You know that I work as hard as anyone my size possibly can, but you also know that somehow, somewhere deep inside of me I don’t really trust You to keep your promises. For that I am sorry. Forgive me. Replace my want of things with a want of You!
My legs were burning as I climbed the hill, but my burden was lighter as I realized that what I want, and what I need can only be found if I trust The One who made me.
He will keep his promises, of that I am certain.
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Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com