Monday, June 4, 2012

I don't play that way and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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Photo by Sandra Heska King
My husband says that I would never be able to survive in a corporate environment.

I think he's probably right.

When people say, "That's the way the world works," I usually say something like, "Well, it doesn't have to work that way."

Maybe I'm naive.

On Thursday, my last full day of writing before the kids get out of school for summer vacation, I worked diligently on the book proposal, typing away about books that are potential competition.  I email some people that I know to ask if will serve as endorsements for me and this piece of writing.  But then I pause, look back over at Mary DeMuth's proposal guide that I am working from, and I see this in big, bold, orange letters:

Other side note: Sad to say, but the bigger the name, the more it will get noticed. 

She's talking about the people I should enlist to endorse my book.  They should be big if I want to be noticed.  And all I can do is shake my head.  This is, indeed, sad.  Who is the judge of "big?"

When I read this, it initially makes me feel hopeless.  I am not on a first name basis with Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer (although I have met her).  This is my first foray into the publishing world.  I feel like I've perhaps spent a few years learning the steps of the dance, but this is the first time I'm making it out onto the floor.  I think of it like the old time competitions where everyone would start dancing to the music.  If you got tapped on the shoulder, you were ousted from the floor.  You just couldn't hang with the big dogs.

When I get to this part of the proposal about endorsements and media coverage and my past accomplishments, I feel like I just got the tap.  And I hadn't even started dancing yet.

I close my computer, I put my head into my hands, and I just sit a minute.  What am I doing? I wonder.  I feel so small and inept and ill-equipped.

God, I need to know how to proceed.  I know I cannot manufacture big names and lofty accomplishments. It's not about that.  It's about the state of my heart.  The fear of not being/having/giving enough.

I've asked Him for a Word and He answers me.  This is grace, I think.  To ask for encouragement and then to have it fall into my heart.  He leads me to Matthew 6: 26:
Look at the birds.  They do not plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?  (NLT)
Maybe I'm naive, but just at this moment, there is a bird outside my back porch hopping happily along, pecking in the grass, finding nourishment.  I take it as a love note from heaven.  I imagine the words of Jesus splayed on the wingspan, "I am enough."

He makes up for my lack.  He moves the mountains.  He is my rod and my staff.

He is enough.  I don't have to try to be more than I am.

And so, I press on.  This book may never see the light of day, but I know that He is asking me to write it.  It may be for no other reason that to unearth old strongholds and bring Craig and me closer to freedom.

I often get bogged with the size and shape and scope of the fruit that I am trying to cultivate.  But fruit is fruit -- it is nourishment and a gift.  And so, I will partake in the process with Him.
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  1. I hear you! I've had the same thoughts while reading the same book:) God is bigger than even our biggest dreams. He can make the impossible possible. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. oh, man. i haven't even gotten my belly up to the table of a book proposal for that very reason. all that self doubt circling in hard and tight around a love project. your words are valuable and honest and true. no matter if they become a book {which i believe they will!} that accomplishment will never be taken from you. get it!

  3. I'm with you, Jen--"it doesn't HAVE to work that way." When we know the King of Kings as Savior, Brother, and Friend, names just don't get bigger than that! Your response of obedience is all He asks--He will decide where it all goes from there. My hat's off to you!! Go get 'em!!

  4. Jen, I loved this line: And so, I press on. This book may never see the light of day, but I know that He is asking me to write it. I've been pressing on for a few years now, and I'm learning some of the same lessons, friend! I continue to write because God has given me this burning desire, and I just need to be obedient. I need to leave the results up to Him. Blessings on your words.

  5. Why do we listen to self doubt? I do it too. I still think no one will come to my blog to read anything of mine, and then I remember, this was started for HIM, because of HIM, and that is why I do it. I am so impressed that you are the point of a book proposal! That means someone in interested in your work, how exciting!!! I'll be one of the first in line to buy your book:)
    Thank you again for letting me be a part of SDG!
    (I'll be praying for your work and to be led by the Spirit with all the details)

  6. HE is enough. Amen. I love how you preached yourself back into a place of grace. A great example for all of us. Thanks, Jen.

  7. I so very much understand where you are. We are in fact sharing the same bench. I have whispered, "What am I doing?" so many times in the last few weeks. And I have come to the same conclusion as you... that God has called me to write this work and I do it out of love for Him. No matter what.
    May God continue to show Himself to you... I am praying for you, my friend. Can't wait to hear what happens!

  8. Jen, you're so right. If the Lord wants it published, it'll be published, not matter what the names. And most importantly, you're being faithful by just writing what He gives you -- the rest is up to Him!

    Praying for you. I've been there.

  9. Jen...isn’t He faithful...we wander away from His heart....start striving...stressing...than His Love calls us home...back to His heart. This would be such a struggle...were are the boundaries of making our own way...letting Him clear our all leads back to the cross...laying all down. May you feel His sweet spirit leading you as you walk along this journey...and may we all really look to the audience of matter the size of the blog...the magnitude of a book. blessings to you Jen, God will lead you on a clear path~

  10. Good words, girlfriend. I'm working from her book as well and let me tell you...It's intimidating and daunting to be completely honest. Thanks for this wisdom as a reminder. Best of look to you, sweet sister!

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  11. Oh dear, I know. I know! I feel the tap, too, and I have not even begun a proposal! As I read your words, I was thinking this, "Girl, just write it. Just do your best. God will get that book published if it's his will. It does not matter if you know Beth Moore or not." Jen, you must trust him. This is his book, not yours. You write that proposal, giving it to him every step of the way. Rest in his ability to do with it as he pleases. Rest in his promise to not do you harm. I look forward to reading the end of this story!

  12. Jennifer--the birds.....oh, isn't God good to send us creatures that are so care-free to remind us, as you said, "He is enough..." You have the best perspective--it may never see the light of day, but God told you to write it. That is enough, right there....

    you're in my prayers.

  13. "And so, I press on."

    Yes. Press.

    Those are life-giving words. You can do this.

  14. Ahhh, yes, the whole, who are the big peeps you can bring to the table? That's a fun one, yes?

    Proud of you for pushing on, lifting that head up, and following His lead.

  15. You write straight to my fears, Jen. "Who do I know that is big?" and "I haven't even started dancing yet." Gulp.

    I am working on a book project to help women find their faith based path to happiness, and I have thought those same exact thoughts. Like you, I feel so compelled to write, to serve, to reach out, to extend a hand to help others out of one place into a better, brighter place.
    I believe each of us must just keep putting one foot in front of the other, in faith, knowing these are God sized dreams and projects that can't be accomplished without him.

    So many of us are already blessed by your writing, and I have no doubt others will be as well. Thanks for the encouragement and community you share here!

  16. Jen, I just wish we could sit down for a cup of coffee and talk the day away. I feel like I'm re-living my own dance on the publishing floor every time I read your posts. I TOTALLY understand your feelings of hopelessness. ANd I LOVE your response- I don't have to try to be more than I am. The first time i took a book proposal to a conference I was just frozen with fear. My husband kept reminding me that God was my platform. And at any point, He could kick down those doors that stand between me and that "yes" that I sought for my first book. At that conference I met an agent who just seemed to "get it." God planted me in her path over and over that week- gave me chances to minister to her instead of to promote myself. Crazy stuff- like finding her on her cell phone crying and following God's nudge to ask her if she was okay. The whole conference became less about my book and more about my chance to be His light that week. Long story short, that agent wrote me months later and said she couldn't get me out of her mind- she'd placed my author card in her Bible and prayed over it every day. I don't' have a fairytale ending her- she never signed me- but she did walk me through the process of getting my book to the final cut with a major publishing house. She stepped in every time I needed a voice to say "This writer is SOMEONE." My book - which by then, at publisher's request, had turned into a series, made it to the last cut to contract stage and then I got a "no." Heartbreaking. Confusing. But, oh, the growing, and learning to trust. And surrendering. God taught me that He is Big and i don't need to be. Someday soon I'll resurrect that book- when God nudges me to try again. But for now, I'm just cheering on writers and friends like you who are stepping out there on the dance floor in faith. You've got everything you need to succeed, Jen. Because you've got a HUGE PLATFORM called the LORD! :) Praying for you as you dance. Can't wait to hear how He shows up in BIG WAYS.

  17. I think we all feel small when we go over those lists of what is required. They can send me in a downward spiral. My eyes must look up and into His eyes to keep the faith, chart the course, keep walking when I want to stop. His ways are far beyond a list of shoulds and have to's. Proud of you for doing this, can't wait to hear the outcome.

  18. me too, friend, me too!

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  20. Oops. I meant to say: Friend, success is obedience not results. You keep on walking in obedience and you have already made it. (Still, I can't wait to read that book of yours!)

  21. Jen, this post is beautiful. I understand all your feelings; sometimes, I defeat myself before I've even gotten started. Thank you for sharing how God answered you--I need to hear those stories once in a while because they are reassurance that God hears me the same.

    You are obedient; this process will not be for nothing, but I'm hoping with you that I'll have a book in hand some day!

  22. Jen, I remember being in the exact same place as you--exactly this time of year in 2009. I put my head in my hands and uttered the same prayer, "What am I doing? I don't know anybody!"

    And I heard God whisper to my heart, "True. But I know EVERYBODY."

    You are intimately connected to the creator of every single human being on the earth. When you need an endorsement or the right network of "big" names, God can connect you in a heartbeat. This isn't hard for Him. Just continue to walk in the path He is has chosen for you. He will open the doors and connect you as the need arises.

    Love you.

  23. Dear Jen, can I just say how hugely your words have blessed me today? Yours, AND all those sweet sisters whose comments reflect and affirm your obedience. You all, every one of you, inspire me to keep on.

  24. praying for you. Jen. Matthew 6 has become pretty special to me after surgery -- esp v 25.

  25. Oh, Jen, now you are on the same page with me...

    In a comment some time back I said I was done with book proposals. This is just one of the reasons why. (But that doesn't necessarily mean I'll never publish a book...!)

    Over the past couple decades or so, things have changed dreadfully in the "Christian" publishing *industry*, which, sadly, it has mostly become, instead of ministry. Traditional publishers are driven by money fears instead of faith. It's sad. BUT more and more writers I know, including some with books already published with big names like Nelson, and some of them even best-selling authors, are now opting for self-publishing. Many experts see this as the wave of the future. So don't rule out this possibility for yourself. Whether God wants your book published may not be made evident by traditional publisher acceptance.

    Just something outside the box to think about...

    God bless!

  26. Don't give up. You are absolutely right that the writing process will grow and change you, whether publication results or not. You are so beautiful and brave to be doing this at all. Press on, Jen.

  27. Oh Jen, how precious are His Words to us and His love is everlasting. Remember Mary who poured out her best at the feet of JESUS. JESUS took her act and forever linked it with the gospel.

  28. I think I would face the same stumbling block. In fact I have many times. How often I forget that what God can do does not depend on size/stature/renown. Regardless of what "they" think, I think most of us here would love to read your book. :)

  29. Late to the party, but at least I'm writing again. (sort of)

    Kudos to you for persevering and for each step you're taking in the dance!

  30. Press on, Jen! Even if the book doesn't get published, you're going to learn so much about God, others and yourself that the learning experience will be well worth the time you have committed to it. God WILL take care of you either way.

  31. Carry on, Friend! Especially when you feel disheartened, I think when you press on in those times the reward of finishing is so much better:)

  32. Amen, Jen! His grace is sufficient! He will guide you every step of this dance!
    Love in Him,

  33. I don't know what to say after reading all the wonderful support in these comments. You write so clearly your feelings and share so openly the process you are going through - you WILL bring that strength to your book proposal. praying for you

  34. Yes, He is. God is using you in such big ways, girlfriend. And He is just starting to sweep you out on that floor...

  35. I love it when God speaks to us like that. So simple, yet so comforting and encouraging. It is a beautiful thing.

  36. so sweet when God sends a word that just speaks to our hearts...congrats on finishing your book proposal, and for trusting the Gardener with the fruit...blessings to you, Jen :)

  37. love love love the picture of the robin - the article is great too ;) glad you are listening to Him!!!


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