This post is in the form of a letter because that's how I've communicated my plans with my other friends and colleagues.
The Lord and I have had a few come-to-Jesus moments in the last month, and He finally won. My husband Mike is in 100% agreement.
After much thought, prayer, pushing, and prodding, I have cancelled all freelance work, workshops, conferences, and blog postings for this next year. In short, I'm retiring . . . for now.
Some of you may know that I battle fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and probably chronic fatigue syndrome, but what you don't know is that those conditions aren't under as much control as I wanted people to believe. Over the years I've learned to compensate and push through the pain and disguise it from employers and friends.
But I never know when I'll have a bad day or week, and when I do my life comes to a grinding halt. Not a good thing when I must work on deadline. Work stress has played a large part in exacerbating my problems.
Rest and restoration will be my bywords for the next year.
I'll finish out the 2013 contracts for Abingdon, and then after selling our house we'll head to Florida to live near our granddaughter. I wish I were there now walking on the beach.
I don't know what God has for me on the other side of this season, but the Lord has made it abundantly clear this is the right choice. A dear friend and author, Cynthia Ruchti, shared a Scripture with me that will carry me through.
"But we encourage you . . . to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands . . . so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone."I've never given myself permission to lead a quiet life; hard work is all I've known since I was 19. I'm now 62.
--I Thessalonians 4:10b-11, Holman Bible.
The NIV version of that verse reads to make it your "ambition" to lead a quiet life. I’m seeking a quiet and peaceable life. It’s a foreign concept in today’s world where position and money are the yardsticks of success. Yet Jesus encouraged His followers to store up treasure in heaven.
Interesting . . . my decision to retire comes during our 30-Day Prayer Challenge for the Christian publishing industry, which ends tomorrow. As I’ve prayed, I’ve changed, and I've observed a few major changes in the book business:
- Christian books sales have dipped for the fourth straight month.
- Summerside Press has been sold to Guideposts.
- The sales of digital books are increasing.
"In our current economic environment, I have come to the conclusion that we must all become avid readers or we will die," he said.He challenged book sellers to turn off their televisions, put down their cell phones, and take a fast from Facebook. I would add, if you don't read, how can you sell books?
Doom and gloom? Not at all. I think the CBA industry faces challenging times, but bold new leaders will emerge. They will take the baton and run the next lap of this race. Will one of them be you?
So long for now, dear friends. May the Lord bless and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. In Jesus name, amen.
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This is day #29 in our 30-day Prayer Challenge for the Christian book industry. What changes have you noticed? Please share your prayers and thoughts with us in the comment section below.