In the past week, a book I’ve been working on for about nine months went to the editor. The feeling of hitting “send” was total freedom and relief! I’m expecting it to be published in mid-October, and I’m excited about doing a book signing with a number of other Christian authors on October 29, so that date has been my goal! Yay for beating deadlines right?
Sending it to the editor was also scary because what if it’s a mess? It feels like I’m sending my baby off to kindergarten – will he behave? Land in the principal’s office the first week? Be a people pleaser? Sheesh, silliness, but …
All that also inevitably led to: Oh gosh why did I send that!? And the feeling is fear. All of that = fear.
How in the wide wide world did I make this descent so quickly?! In that moment, I felt robbed. I wanted to bask in the relief for just a minute, take a few deep breaths, smile big and wide, and do fist bumps and high fives with my husband Greg, my biggest fan.
But instead, fiery darts immediately started coming my way and I guess my armor – probably my helmet? – had slipped and those darts were hitting me in all my hurt places. Hurt places that, while now scarred over are still sensitive somehow. Things like, It’s not good enough, YOU’RE not good enough, you can’t do this, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, and the one that’s probably closest to reality:
What if it sucks.
You know what though? God has been working on me and in me about trusting Him, and I mean REALLY trusting Him, with my fears, and that my happiness will always be short-lived as my enemy and my inner critic try to destroy all that is good in it.
To be more specific, He’s been teaching me intensely about not projecting my thoughts out into the future. My MO has always been to go to the worst-case scenario immediately, so that I can make a plan for if it happens, scanning for problems (and danger) that might crop up going forward. A specific example for me is when a new medical thing comes up, which may or may not be ABC, but to find out you need to have XYZ test and go see Dr. The Next One.
My natural response is to find out everything I can about ABC, and already have a plan in place before anything is ever actually diagnosed. I’d say I’m right about 50% of the time – which leaves the exact same chance that I could be wrong.
When I’m focused on worst case, I feel icky in my stomach and disquiet in my mind. I am wasting energy.
When the worst does not happen, obviously it was all wasted because it’s totally irrelevant. How many “right now” moments did I miss by worrying? But listen to this part – if the worst DOES happen – it was still wasted energy.
Because I cannot do a single thing about that diagnosis right now. Whether it’s true or not, on this day I am not saddled with the label or the possible consequences or anything else, and maybe most importantly, I feel the same today physically as I did yesterday. Yes, things may change in the future. But did worrying over it ahead of time accomplish one single thing? Yes – it scared me. It made me anxious. It kept my mind scurrying around like a hamster on a wheel.
Better question: Did it accomplish one GOOD thing? No. And who knows what I’ve missed out on while I’ve been so focused on all the what-ifs.
So back to the book send off. Here was Jesus’ question to me, when I really listened closely:
“So what if someone thinks it does suck? Who guided your pen and gave you the words? You know it was Me, because you give Me credit for every single one, and that gives Me joy. Do you really think I would give you meaningless, unimportant words?”
Then He said this:
“Do you think you’re a lousy human because you care about the outcome? No. You are not. But you are not trusting Me with this book. My book. Let Me worry about the outcome. Market, sales, stuff like that – I know it’s not your thing. Stop worrying about it. I’m lighting your path, remember? You just do the next thing. I’ll do the rest.”
So today, and tomorrow, and the next day until Kingdom comes, I will leave the outcome of this book (and any others that may come in the future) in the capable hands of the one who wrote it, trusting Him to get it into the hands the book belong in.
Can anyone relate? To the projecting out to the worst case scenario thing? Just wondering. Maybe it’s just me … but I suspect not. In the meantime, I’m doing the next thing even if I’m scared!
(The book signing with be held October 29 from 10am – 12pm at Homer’s Coffee House in Overland Park, KS. If you’re local, I’d love to see you! If not, I’d still love to chat with you! Contact me anytime.)
(PS This is my first post on the new website – please bear with me as I figure it all out! I am a tech fool …)