Happy New Year!
I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and celebrated the New Year in a way that brought you joy.
The end of 2018 for me was one of struggle. I felt a bit deflated in my writing, in my faith and in some of my relationships with others. I am not someone who thinks ‘new year, new start’ although I think it can be. I believe each day is an opportunity to start afresh. However, it just so happened that at the start of 2019 I woke up and felt completely different and somewhat new.
In my writing, I have a new optimism towards it and a greater desire to carry it through. This has also opened up the door to screenwriting. In 2007 I emailed a lecturer at a university about studying film and screenwriting. I was in my first year of A Levels. I was bright-eyed, hopeful and a dreamer. However, I talked myself out of pursuing it for fear of the unknown, the unpredictability and the risk.
Over a decade later, I have opened my screenwriting books once more and I am doing what I have done before – teaching myself. I realise that screenwriting might be like a drop in the ocean. How on earth am I ever going to sell a screenplay? I guess I am not the only writer out there who has doubts. But at least I can start. I pray that I can finish it. I pray that I will keep going no matter what obstacles or fears or comments get thrown my way. Part of being a writer is being free to dream – to create. I need to allow myself the permission and space to dream or else writing is squashed somewhat. That does not mean I am only writing screenplays. I write anything and everything but the key is to write, read and write some more. So that is what I intend to do in the hope of being the bigger voice against self-doubt.
Then there’s faith. The end of 2018 left me in a whirlpool of doubt. I had more questions for God than it felt like I had answers. I didn’t want to pray. Yet I had nowhere else to go. The following verse comes to mind:
‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.’ Psalm 139:7-12
Even in my despair, God was there. Have my questions been answered? No, not really. I have a lot to learn but even then, I will always have questions without answers, no matter what worldview I have. And we all have a way of seeing the world.
Waking up in 2019, I had a fresh zeal to trust God with not just the big concerns of my life but the little bits too. He is interested in all of it and He knows me better than anyone. I bring my questions and struggles to Him and He shows yet more grace for each day.
One of the ways that I feel I am gradually being transformed is in my attitudes. In particular, my attitude towards food. I have struggled with comfort eating since I was about 14 years old. I didn’t realise it was a problem until a few years back when I found it near enough impossible to go a few days without something sweet e.g. chocolate, some cake, biscuits, whatever. I haven’t made any resolutions to give anything up, but I have asked God to help me go deeper with why I seek comfort there and to help me to overcome the pull that it has over my life.
I hope this fresh desire to not let food control me continues. I am a firm believer in a balanced diet – but putting it into practice requires help from the Almighty! Small changes are everything and I have done my first workout out of 2019 and I have swapped some unhealthy snacks for healthier ones. This does not mean I am giving up cake but it does mean I am thinking a bit more about what goes into my tum and getting fit.
Finally, there’s my relationships with others. Last year I had to deal with a lot of issues which took its toll on me mentally and spiritually. I don’t think it’s right to go into details here but it left me hurt and exhausted. This year, I am committing all of that pain to Jesus knowing that He is able to restore what has been broken. It will take time but I am determined not to be bitter, but to praise God for a new day with air in my lungs and hope in my heart.
I don’t know what the year ahead looks like and I am glad that I don’t. There will be challenges in my life, in the lives of those I know and love and at a local, national and international level too. However, my confidence is not in myself or in anyone else, but it is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through Christ that I am made new. It is not on anything I have done or will do, but it is based on everything that He is and that He has done, continues to do and will do.
For 2019, my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus.