I know quite a few people who view October as “prepping-for-NaNo month”. Well, this time around, it’s “indecision month” for me. I’ve never gotten to do NaNo before. I would love to try writing a 50,000-word novel all in thirty days. But November has never been a convenient month for me to attempt something like that. If it wasn’t school it was school or college or school or homework. Well, this year I really want to do it. I have a story. I’ve finally mostly figured out the personalities of my main characters. I have quite a few pieces of the plot taped together in an outline. I might could do this thing. I would love to try. I’m really tempted to.
And so comes the hard decision. A bunch of my friends are going to do NaNo, and I would love to join in and get to write alongside them. It would be super neat to get to churn out a story that I love in a short period of time, especially since I’ve never gotten to do it before even though I’ve wanted to for years. Sounds like a good thing. However, I have some other great opportunities happening right now, and I could really stand to use my time to invest in them instead of typing a few thousand words a day. That’s a good thing too. Decisions like this are hard. I hate having to decide between good and good.
Thinking through all this reminded me of a book I worked through this past spring. It’s called The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkeurst, and in Chapter 5 of it she talks about having to decide when either option sounds like it could be good. She talked about taking stock of her assets in four key areas of her life to see if she really could take on the extra thing. The four areas she looked at were physical, financial, spiritual, and emotional. The extra thing fit into the first three categories, but when she looked at it from the emotional aspect to see what it would ask of her, she realized she couldn’t do it. Because even though the thing itself was good, emotionally, she knew she would not be able to handle it long-term on top of everything else she had going on. She realized that over time she would end up, not glorifying God by doing it, but rather spreading stress and snappishness just because it was too overwhelming to maintain.
That’s where I did a double-take in pondering whether or not to do NaNo. See, I have a job. I’m working three to four half-days a week (and by the way, I love it and don’t want to stop) and attempting to hone my art through a correspondence art course. I have several other activities that take me away from home throughout the week, and I also need to spend time cooking and cleaning. Not to mention there’s a little brother who needs me to spend quality time with him. I also have a high tendency to get overwhelmed with life. What would it look like to add several hours a day of trying to meet my wordcount? Not pretty. Not pretty at all. There would be a boy hammering on my bedroom door asking me to come play with him, a Mom needing me to pitch in and cook something or wash some dishes, and a very exhausted and frazzled-snappish me not enjoying any of the wonderful things I have going on in my life right now. Does that glorify God? Uh, no.
Our one job in this life is to glorify God, and in that respect the attitude with which we do things is just as important as what we choose to do. As Christ’s ambassadors, our attitudes are a billboard to the world that proclaims who Christ is…and when we’re doing “good” things with rotten attitudes, they see pictures that tell them that God has a rotten attitude and He does things grudgingly or stingily. (Here’s a hint: He doesn’t.) As a result, the “good” thing becomes a bad thing; whether it’s volunteering somewhere, or writing a story.
Maybe that’s one way to tell what to do when you’re torn between two good choices. Follow the decision to see its effects on your life and attitude and relationships. Does the result bring glory to God, or dishonor?
…And maybe I’ll do NaNo another year. We’ll see. 😉