To create, we writers need full tanks, and I’m not talking about only writing resources. I’m talking about our emotional and spiritual well-being. For our physical health, any exercise is better than nothing.
The same is true with spiritual exercise; do whatever it takes to jump start your spiritual life—prayer, Bible reading, reflection, whatever. Don’t feel like a failure if you haven’t worked your way up to an hour a day. Anything is better than nothing.
Some people lament that they tried to read their Bible every day or to read it through in a year and got off track at some point. Others have said they resolved to read some sort of inspirational or self-help book every day, only to give up when they missed a day or two.
That thinking is flawed, of course. It’s perfectionistic and will doom you to failure. Where is it written that if you ever miss, you have to quit?
It’s a weighty issue
I used to be a victim of such thinking. For decades I carried an extra hundred pounds, and every few years I would take a serious run at losing it. I’d eat right and start walking every day, only to quit when I missed once after seventy-one straight days.
In my mind I had fallen off the wagon. I don’t know where such craziness comes from. Did my missing one day negate all I had accomplished for those many weeks?
I have now maintained a 135-pound weight loss for eight years by keeping track of everything I eat, working out, and staying vigilant.
You can fail
Part of the secret to this success is allowing myself to fail occasionally. Do I exceed my calorie counts sometimes? Miss a workout? Sure. I’m human. And I don’t have to be perfect to succeed.
The same is true for developing our inner lives. Feed yours. And when you forget to pray or read your Bible, miss church, or get too busy or too lazy, just start over the next day. Cook your soul a small meal and get back on track.
You’ll find it easier to write for other’s souls when your own is healthy.
Jerry is author of more than 175 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series. He is former vice president for publishing and currently chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Jerry’s writing has appeared in TIME, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times best-seller list (seven in the number-one spot). His 2011 novel releases include The Brotherhood, the first of a Chicago-based cop trilogy called The Precinct Eleven Novels.