Seasons, Productivity, and a Word of Encouragement

Cynthia Herron Encouragement 6 Comments

Photo Credit: Jim Bauer/Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Jim Bauer/Creative Commons

Do you find there are certain times of the year where you feel more productive? Seasons where you realize more of your goals than others?

If you’re nodding your head “yes” you’re not alone! And because of that, I wanted to share a message of encouragement with you today.

I think, for me, my productive times are the summer months. There are a lot more distractions (outdoor activities, weekend commitments, traveling, etc.), but I do tend to accomplish more during that season than any other.

I adore fall, but winter ushers in cold, nasty weather, shorter days, and less energy. And while I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays, various family get-togethers, and church events, I remain very busy, though not necessarily more productive. It takes a lot of determination and self-discipline to make my hours count during the snowy, daylight-starved months.

For those in solitary professions (aka “writers”), we may feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of sitting at a desk or laptop day in, day out, with little interaction from the outside world. The darker days of winter may cause us to feel insecure and unproductive.

Many years ago, I was at a crossroad in my writing career. Life was a nonstop circle of school, work, appointments, and endless obligations. When I walked in the front door at night, I didn’t know how I’d get anything else done, much less have the physical strength to write.

(Add to that: it wasn’t as easy then. There were no smart phones. No internet. None of the bells and whistles we have at our fingertips today. One had to really be goal oriented and committed to the writing craft if publication was the eventual goal.)

The bottom line is I wrote. Despite exhaustion and outside influences, I wrote during every spare moment I could find.

If I took an occasional break at work, I’d sometimes pull out a little notepad and create fictional characters, dialogue, and scenes to alleviate tension from my high stress job. When I became a mom, I took advantage of nap times, playdates, and park days to create. Over the course of a five-year period while our family lived in and out of hospitals, I even managed to plot a bit (though I did have to put the actual writing on hold at the time.)

A few words about seasons and productivity:

I think the key to realizing our writing goals, or any goal for that matter, is consistency and perseverance. I believe the two are dependent upon each other. God’s desire for all of us is to realize our full potential, but we can’t just sit on the sidelines. We must be a willing participant.

There may be times that are more productive than others. It’s frustrating, disillusioning, and draining, but if we wait for circumstances to be ideal, those prequel moments to possible greatness are forever lost. God meets us right where we are–during the good and the bad and the in between seasons. One seemingly small thing that we accomplish today may make a huge difference in a divine appointment down the road.

To shrug off our cloaks of complacency isn’t the easy thing. It’s the brave thing. It’s the thing that will nudge us to aim higher, dream bigger, and rise beyond the bar. When doubts, self-comparison, and occasional missteps come calling, it’s an intense time of testing, but also a wondrous season of self-discovery and internal growth. We can’t measure our productivity by others’ success. That’s a distraction. A time stealer.

Writing is lonely sometimes. It’s easy to get stuck in the muck and mire of discouragement, perceived abandonment, comparisons, and self-doubt. But can I tell you something? Every writer has felt this way at one time or another. Share your feelings with those who can empathize. Go to your “safe places.” Your fellow writers, your prayer warriors, and those who care about you. Wallow in it for a while if you must, but remember, those are stumbling blocks created by one who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

Believe me. I know. I’ve battled it all. Recently, in fact.

There you have it.

Because as I’ve said before, I’ll always tell you the truth.

So today if you’re in an unproductive season, take heart! I know it feels crummy. God knows it feels crummy. The thing that you must remember: our perception of how things feel versus how things are gets skewed.

No matter the crud and the downright junk of life, God’s always working behind the scenes. He allows us to experience the worst to prepare us for the best. 

Often, our season isn’t even about us. (I know. That’s been a game-changer for me, too!) 

God works through our less-than-stellar seasons to bless the socks off others!

And somewhere in the midst of it all is this truth:

What we perceive as our most unproductive season is really God’s preparation for a bumper-crop harvest!

 

And…in the words of the apostle Paul:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12) NIV

And:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) NIV

Shake off illusions of failure. Don’t become daunted by less productive days. Refocus, refuel, and dust off defeat. See your vision. Act out your ministry. Get ready for success!

******

Have you ever been crippled by a difficult season?

Do you have tips for dealing with less than productive times?

In what ways might we encourage others during a season of endurance?

PLEASE SHARE

Are you in a difficult season? Words of encouragement for the writer’s heart: (Click to Tweet)

Don’t become discouraged by unproductive days! Four things to consider: (Click to Tweet)

Photo Credit: Jim Bauer/Creative Commons

Blessings Always,

Comments 6

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Wonderful post.

    There have been days lately when due to illness, I have been almost unable to write when the opportunity came. The illness unfortunately isn’t going to go away; it means to kill me/)

    But I do write anyway, and find that the pain sometimes serves to sharpen my focus, and sends the heart with which I write further abroad into the world, and further into God’s heart as I find it in others.

    Got to have a lot of heat and pressure to make a diamond, though that comparison sounds a bit presumptuous.

  2. Melissa Tagg

    Really, really good stuff today, Cindy! Especially loved this: if we wait for circumstances to be ideal, those prequel moments to possible greatness are forever lost.

    So true!!

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    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew, I’m so sorry you’re ill! Our family has walked that road and I want you to know you’re in my prayers! Of course you must write–God’s given you a message that only YOU can share. I think when we experience life’s worst, it grants us insight and perspective that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. And then God prepares us for a new season–a better one. One that we, in our human frailty, can’t comprehend because it comes by way of the “intangible.” The season of miracles!

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