"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Double Marathon Challenge, Continued

Okay, now for the second part of my challenge. First, some background info: I love to write. There, I said it. I've kept this hobby a secret for so long, stuffed in the very back of the closet of my soul behind two old purses, about seven pairs of shoes, and at least that many dustballs. And for good reason. Anything one writes can be criticized, ripped to shreds, and fed to the dogs. The results--I know firsthand--are like a beating to the soul.

So why take the risk? Because I can't not write. Ever since my first story in the third grade, I'd Cross the Desert for Milk (how's that for unique?), I've played around with story ideas and a handful of completed and uncompleted projects.

I decided to get serious four years ago. I joined an amazing organization, the American Christian Fiction Writers. From multi-published, award-winning authors to folks who don't know POV from PMS, ACFW caters to them all. I've been learning ever since.

This past April, I won a full scholarship to the ACFW Conference in Indianapolis this year. A dream come true! I will have the opportunity to attend and report on various workshops that will help me improve my manuscript. I will be able to meet some of my favorite authors. And, I will pitch my novel to an agent. Eeek!

So now, for the second part of my double marathon challenge: finish my WIP that was birthed seven years ago in time for conference. This means I need to complete it by the beginning of August in order to have time for my critique group to read and give their expert advice. I must have a completely polished manuscript by September 17th, or I will not be able to pitch it in this personal, preferred manner.

Another daunting marathon requiring every ounce of perseverance I possess. Another area where failure may meet me at every turn. Another race I'm willing to give my all and give to God.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Double Marathon Challenge

On your mark...get set...go! I'm off on a double marathon challenge. Okay, not exactly 52.4 miles of actual running, but a summons that will require just about that much perseverance and determination.

It started two months ago when my husband and I were watching recaps of the Boston Marathon after my two pre-schoolers went to bed. I always feel a certain victory when I see those resolute, tired bodies crossing the finish line. And I'm not just talking about Teyba Erkesso, the amazing Ethiopian who ran the race in a little under two and a half hours. I'm talking about the sixty-nine-year-old father pushing his paraplegic son in a wheelchair up Heartbreak Hill, the two Marines in full gear helping a tired young woman complete the last mile, the dogged runner determined to finish--even beneath the moon.

I used to think I'd run a marathon one day. You know, in the future, when I get around to it. Well, that was ten years ago when I ran cross-country in high school and honey, I ain't gettin' any younger. ;) So instead of dismissing the idea, that night, I embraced it. That's it. My epiphany in front of the plasma.

Why do we so often sweep our dreams under the carpet, as if they don't matter--as if we don't matter? Are we too tired? Afraid of failure? Not willing to put in the necessary work?

Whatever the reason, I'm hoping to dispell some of their weighty limitations in my own head with this challenge. A Pastor I recently listened to said "It takes more faith to work with God than to sit back and wait for a miracle." Okay, God. I'm ready to work.

So here is the first part of my Double Marathon Challenge: finish the Amica Marathon in Newport, Rhode Island on October 17th with a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Yikes! Did I really just write that? Already I'm being bombarded by doubts. That's a time of 3hours, 40 minutes. Less than 8.5 minute miles. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I should just keep the challenge at finishing the marathon. The stakes are too high. The risk of putting myself out there and being humiliated are too great. Failure is imminent.

Or is it? I guess I'll never know unless I try. So here...I...go!

I'll tell you about the second part of my Double Marathon Challenge--which actually has nothing to do with running--in my next post.

Meanwhile, what has God put on your heart to accomplish this summer, this year, this lifetime?