Thursday, January 26, 2012

This and That Thursday: A Cardiac Arrest Victim's Twist on New Year's Resolutions

Ocieanna here. I know it’s toward the end of January, and your goals, resolutions, and plans have already been made and embarked on, but will you indulge me one more article about goal setting?

It may be different than you expect.

I tend to be a goal setter. I love my lists with little boxes to check off (just ask my kids). In the past, each year I carefully thought out my short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Personal, professional, spiritual, you know the drill. SMART goals…

Early on (probably way back in my twenties) I learned how discouraging these dang lists can be. No matter what my intentions, my success rate hovered around ten percent. Not stellar.

Regardless, year after year, I’d get into the spirit and plan out (either mentally or physically) my list of goals and dreams.

I did that last year too.

Well, if you don’t know what happened to me last January, let me share. I was lying in my bed watching TV when my heart stopped. Paramedics came and revived me, but in that minute, my life changed. (You can read more about my story on my website.)

So much for my goals and plans.

Everything I expected for the year—my planned novel, teaching Bible, homeschooling, even trivial tasks like doing laundry or making dinners—all fell away. I was left with me and God. And just as He promised, He directed my path, step by step, through that time.

You know what? Even though it was difficult, I liked His plan better than mine. Not only because, well, He's God and His plans are just plain better, but because His plan revealed His tender care and protection of me in a way my pre-set goals, as grand as I thought they were, couldn't. Through His way--so different than my own--I felt His love like I never had before. I'd call that a better way.

I’m not telling you this to discourage you from filling out charts, making goals, and especially not from dreaming, but maybe my experience will temper your planning a little.

You may plan to finish three articles and a proposal. He may plan for you to love your kids through a life-changing event. You may plan to send out five queries to agents. He may plan to send you to a new and unknown ministry. You may have great successes planned. He may want to show you His love through failure.

Or like me, He might just want you to rest a spell.

So make your goals, but remember to walk in step with the One who holds your writing career—your whole life—in his hands. His love will guide you, even down uncharted paths.

Happy 2012, my writing friends,



  1. Thanks for sharing this, Ocieanna. Since being diagnosed with cancer last April I've come to have this same perspective. He's driving the bus now. :)

  2. Thanks, Marcia. He's driving the bus, I love that. I'm putting you on my prayer list right now!

  3. Ocieanna, thank you!

    I'm like you--I like lists and I've always been a planner. However, beginning back in 1991 with a close encounter with a log truck, my plans went awry--God had another plan. I've had lots of course changes throughout the years, but a year and a half ago an incident set me way back. I've been struggling with the "new" plan. I needed your reminder that my life is in God's hands not mine.

    I'm thankful you're still here to spend time with your kids and grand kids.

    Bless you.


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