Friday, July 30, 2010

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

My title has become a cliche, but behind every cliche is a bit of truth. The other day my BFF and I were talking about how her marriage had improved since she and her husband had gone to a counselor for a tuneup.

That led to a conversation about my childhood, high school, college, and the tough years since then. I got hoarse thinking about all I'd have to say to bring a counselor up to speed. Yeah, everyone's got regrets, I said, but it would take years to slog through that muck, so why bother? I decided that the past is past, the future is tomorrow, and today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Yesterday was my last day in a cubicle in a publishing company. Feels great! I'm still the acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press, but my field of vision has widened beyond the windows of the 5th floor office building in downtown Nashville. I'm now working from home and planning workshops and trips across the country with my hubby and our Chihuahua. I feel a sense of excitement again.

For the last several months at work, we've experienced blasting and the noise of heavy machinery as a several block area was destroyed to build a new convention center. It's been quite fascinating, although noisy. Actually, I think it was an answer to prayer. On one corner, we had a strip club hemmed in by a large parking lot and the bus station across the street--a magnet for prostitutes, drug users and dealers, and that one murderer the police caught a few blocks away after he took a bus into town. All gone. That strip joint was knocked down in a day.

My point is: life can change that fast. One minute you're living in the broken-down neighborhood of the past, thinking, "I'll never make it as a writer. I don't know anyone. I don't have any contacts. My writing stinks." And the next minute, God knocks down all your preconceived notions about your future and builds a career on the rubble of your past.

God is our secret agent . . . our secret literary agent. When you're ready, He'll open doors you couldn't even dream of. So don't despair that you haven't published yet. Keep writing! That's the exact short sentence my high school English teacher wrote in my yearbook. Before I left college, I had gone to 27 different schools. Her encouragement rang in my head through all the hard years. Let it ring in your ears today: Keep writing! That wrecking ball is about to destroy your disappointing past and build a new future on its foundation.

Be encouraged, dear ones.

31 comments:

  1. Barbara, Sincere good wishes as you shift gears and transition to your new situation. And thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic post. Thank you, Barbara.
    Congrats on the job changes. You'll do great!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful post! Thank you. :-)
    Your job is sounding awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  4. 27 schools...I can't get over that. :-( I'm sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are such an amazing editor, Barbara. I appreciate your encouragement and willingness to accept all your authors as individuals. Congratulations on your new status!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Most encouraging post, maybe, EVER. Thank you, Barbara! And many blessings as your roving editor position evolves....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so excited that the box has been opened, and the gift of you is now out for everyone. Enjoy, and I'm looking forward to all the future holds.

    ReplyDelete
  8. God builds on our rubble. I love it! Encouraging post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This was as good as a morning devotional. Just the encouragement I needed as I sit down to write for the day. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think you have been blessed with the dream job. I can't wait to hear more, to spend some time with you near the end of August.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What wonderful words to hold on to. I found out about your blog from Camy Tang, and yesterday I sent an email to everyone in my writers' group with a link to the blog. I hope the first post they read is today's.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Keep Writing. Those are words that have haunted me from time to time. In fact, a few years ago, I quit. For more than a year, I didn't write a word other than the occasional grocery list or email. I was finished chasing a dream I had once believed God's hand had designed for me! But resolutions are what we make while God is executing His plans. Obviously, the burning bush He threw into my path changed my direction yet again. A slammed and locked door was thrust open, and here I am.

    All that to say, "You tell 'em, Barb!" I join in on that encouragement to keep writing. If you ever heard the whisper in your ear that told you to write, keep your eyes open for the road signs and follow.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Barbara, your post today is an exclamation point on my day.
    Yesterday I cleaned out my desk, took down the photos on the cubicle walls and left my university program position due to financial lay-offs. And this week has been full of the stress of watching my elderly mother deal with incredible physical problems on top of her dementia.

    But today I woke up feeling such confirmation that I am a writer, that it is part of my being.
    I feel such joy in the midst of everything else.

    I do have a temp job starting Monday by the way!

    Your post and the news just now that I received 2nd place in the Daphne DuMaurier contest have blessed me so much.

    Thank you. I know that as you start this new chapter, you will have such an impact on Christian Fiction! "the first day of the rest of your life" means more to me today than it did when it first became popular many years ago. Great reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post, Barbara! EXACTLY what I needed today! I have a wonderful agent, but to be reminded that God is our secret agent puts it all in perspective. You've inspired me to keep writing!

    Blessings,
    Sherry Kyle

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have all encouraged me far more than I encouraged you this morning! Isn't that always the way with God? We're vessels that He pours into, and it's our jobs to pour out to others. Think about if we all gave 100% of ourselves to others, and they gave us 100% of themselves to us. None of us would ever lack. Thanks everyone, and thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love encouraging posts about writing--especially on Fridays. Going into the day or the week or the weekend with heads lifted, trust in God and a positive outlook that there will be a time, boosts motivations and expands outlooks.

    All the best on your new journey!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a really great post, Barbara! THANKS for encouraging us--and for being so awesome! I am so excited for you with this new venture. YAY!

    And ya know...even once you're published, it's still in God's hands. I've had to remind myself of that a lot in the last few months as I've stressed over sales numbers, marketing, etc. This post really reaffirmed what I've been hearing from His Heart...He's got it under control! Whew!! Hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As a new visitor to your blog, I assure I will be back. What a fantastic analogy and some encouraging quotes. Your perspective and Christa's comment reminded me of a sign I recently saw in our office:

    "How can I 'think outside of the box' when I work in a cubicle?!" Priceless.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Encouragement never gets old. Thank you. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Barbara - Thanks so much for this post. It came on a day that I really needed it. And as a writer who has occasionally lapsed into YEARS of writer's block, I don't think there's any better advice to any writer than, simply, "Keep writing." It's the only way to work through rough patches in your literary career.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great encouragement...thank you so much. I needed to hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. For some reason, my first comment didn't post. Odd. I basically just said thank you. I needed to hear this today!

    ReplyDelete
  23. As so many have said, thanks for the encouragement. There are days . . . but then, other days, God shows His rainbow and there is also hope! Congrats on the new arrangement!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for that encouragement, Barbara. Have a good weekend!
    <>< Katie

    ReplyDelete
  25. I just got out of the pool after relaxing on an air mattress for an hour. It's in the mid-90s here in Nashville. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've been in the water all summer. Life flies by way too fast.

    I loved the sign you shared: "How can I 'think outside of the box' when I work in a cubicle?!" How true! I heard not long ago that Americans work longer hours now than anyone else in the world, and we rarely take vacations. Sad! But today I'm filled with hope for the gift of tomorrow.

    Enjoy your weekend everyone! I'll talk to you on Monday.

    Blessings,
    Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  26. Loved the post! I'm late getting here because I took your advice ahead of time and kept writing.

    And just a thought--if a cubical is too small to let you think outside the box, then at least order something off the menu. It'll get your creative juices flowing as much as thinking outside the box.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Barbara, thanks so much for your advice. I think I'm going to print this blog out.

    Best of luck to you on your new path. How exciting.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great post. So glad that your career is moving in such an interesting direction! Just imagine how much you can get accomplished away from distractions at the office!

    I like the analogy of God as our our literary agent. When I started trusting more even in the face of it looking like doors were shutting, incredible things started happening. They will for others who continue to have faith in themselves, their work, and above all, in God.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's funny how the older we get, the longer our stories are and the more likely we are to edit our conversations! :) Your words have moved me. I have to say that one simple exchange I had with you at a writer's conference two years ago made a lasting impact on the quality of my work. Press on - forgetting was is behind and straining toward what is ahead - press on in Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wonderful post, Barbara. May the Lord truly bless your new venture outside the envelope.
    We are glad He is sending you our way to speak
    at the March 18-19, 2011, Carolina Christian Writers Workshop.
    Blessings,
    Elva Martin, CCWW Director, Anderson, SC

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for this post, it's just what I needed "today". It's been over a month since you've posted it but it still applies today. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete