By Heather L. L. FitzGerald
As a fantasy author there’s one thing I know for certain…every January, most of America writes fantasy as well. We can’t help looking back on the story of our life and hoping to rewrite the plot, at least a little, in the year to come. We want to take our main character (ourselves) on adventures and reinvent their personality or makeover their appearance, all adding up to a refreshing happily-ever-after. But those goals are seldom realized.
How are your own New Year’s resolutions working out? If you’re like me, you’ve started off with plenty of enthusiasm, but you’ll find yourself in March trying to recall what you had pledged to do in the first place—if you think about it at all. Life has a way of pressing you back into its way of doing things, and it’s a rare person that possesses the wherewithal to push against it.
Will this defeat keep us from going
through the mental motivation to rearrange parts of our life by the end of next year? Probably not. Actually, there were a few years that I “resolved not to resolve anything” for the year to come. Tired of being defeated, I decided not to set myself up for failure and forget the whole resolution thing altogether.
But the older I get, the more I’ve started to believe that resolutions are an exercise in hope rather than futility. Am I going to settle for being X pounds over weight? Am I going to accept worsening back problems for lack of exercise? (Sitting behind a computer and writing your days away burns very few calories, in case you’re curious). Am I content with occasional spurts of time alone with the God of the Universe, scheduling Him in as I find it convenient? Could I possibly drink less coffee?
You’re own list of resolutions probably looks different from mine. Whatever the change may be, the truth is: change is difficult. It’s hard. It feels unnatural, even when we know it’s absolutely the best thing for us. How can such creatures of habit, such comfortable, spoiled Americans, hope to create new habits? Why can’t we “just do it” as Nike simply states? How can we begin each new year with such wild optimism and crash and burn into apathetic resignation?
I wish I knew.
What—you thought this post was to offer concrete steps for grasping your own resolutions? Sorry. This is really my way of thinking through this pattern in my own life. I happen to think better through my fingertips, seeing my thoughts spill out onto the computer screen. It’s hard not be nostalgic and contemplative this time of year. And it’s in my nature to be optimistic and filled with faith, despite the reality of years gone by.
There are changes I want to make. Sadly, most are changes I’ve been desirous of for many years. It would seem I don’t crave those changes as much as I enjoy my comfort, my familiar patterns. My coffee. In most instances, I haven’t been willing to count the cost, as scripture encourages me to do. The cost is too inconvenient—getting up earlier, denying myself things I like, making an effort when laziness is so much more comfy. Ugh! It’s not pretty to admit.
Of course, physical problems often stem from spiritual ones. Truly, I know this and believe it. I know that “unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain” Psalm 127:1, and I know “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I know that self control is a fruit of the Spirit. I bet you know these truths too. I didn’t want to offer you trite platitudes. The question remains—how do we get this head knowledge into heartfelt action?
Part of me believes the Lord continues to allow failure in some areas because of the dependency it causes as we see that our own strength is so feeble and insufficient. It is a beautiful miracle to see God take my failures and use them to teach me truth. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to press on towards the goal set before me—knowing that He certainly will get the glory when anything good comes from my actions. And knowing He also redeems the negative things and is glorified in them as well. I guess that’s the comfort in it all: in Christ, nothing is wasted.
So how about you? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired and wanting to see real change? Do you have a game plan? Have you had success in the past (and would you care to share how you accomplished this)? What have your failures taught you?
It’s a great time to take inventory of our lives. In this busy, hurried world it is wonderful to step back and be reflective and honest with ourselves. To let the Holy Spirit gently poke and prod and point out areas He wants us to relinquish. Don’t lose hope, my friends, and I won’t either! God is a God of multiple chances, of reconciliation, of new creations, and of making beautiful things out of what we’ve broken.
Keep hoping in Him. No matter what the year ahead brings, remember that His mercies are new every morning. He is not cynical. The Lord doesn’t roll his eyes at our goals and say, “Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.” Instead He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Now that’s good news for a new year, isn’t it?
Heather is one of our debut authors–we signed her for a three-book contract. The Tethered World released Feb of 2016. The Flaming Sword, book two, released November 1, 2016, and The Genesis Tree will release July 1, 2017. Heather lives in Texas with her husband and children, and loves all things fantasy.
The Flaming Sword, Book Two in the Tethered World Chronicles
Sadie Larcen and her family are slowly recovering from their life-altering trek to the Tethered World. That is until their aunt arrives clutching a mysterious letter and sporting a black eye. The letter that Aunt Jules shares with the family writhes with sinister implications. A new and menacing enemy has slunk from the shadows and is conspiring to seize the most powerful piece of weaponry in the land: The Flaming Sword of Cherubythe. The sword must—at all costs—be kept from the enemies who lust for its power.
The threat extends to Sadie’s autistic brother Brock. As High King in training, he now resides in the Tethered World, within close proximity to the sword. It’s apparent that drastic measures will be required by all in order to protect what’s most important. Can Sadie once again confront her disabling fear, stare evil in the face, and walk away whole—let alone alive? How can one teenage girl and her family save a sword with the potential to start a world war? Will lines be crossed even as Sadie’s faith is tested? Sadie knows it’s going to take a lot more than strength, grit, and courage to survive.