A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Monday morning to an email from my editor saying that she was really pleased with the latest manuscript of the book I’m writing, and that she’d sent it out to the production team for copy editing, typesetting, and printing. At first thought, this is great news. It means the
months years I’d spent editing this book were paying off, and it was finally moving forward to the next stage. But instead, I panicked.
If the book was being sent off to the next rounds for editing–all the spell checking, grammar fixing, and fancy shmancy stuff–that meant it was out of my hands. There would be no more re-wording, to make sure I was conveying exactly the message I intended. There would be no more adjusting, to ensure that I wanted to include that particular example. All the opportunities for second guessing were gone. It was out of my hands, and out of my control. That thought is terrifying.
I’ve put my work “out there” before, of course. I blog twice a week for all the world to see, post on Instagram almost daily, and I’ve released three journal guides (Faith, Food, Freedom; Foundations; and Healthy, Happy, Whole), but all of those projects are completely mine. Plus, social media has that wonderful edit button, so I can rephrase something if I’m not totally comfortable with it after it’s been live for 5 minutes. I can even edit all my self-published guides on Amazon. In my world, nothing is really permenant.
In the publishing world, that is so not true.
As I’ve learned again and again throughout my life, it’s actually a good thing that I’m not as “in control” as I’d generally like to be. In fact, I usually screw up when I try to take things into my own hands too forcefully. This book has already been a long journey. The first rough copy (and I mean rough) went through so many rounds of edits from my own pen, as well as those of my friends and family. Then, it went through round after round of revision from my fabulous editor, and was re-worked into something I never would have dreamed–rooted even more deeply in scripture and truth than I thought possible. The book was strengthened by voices beyond my own, and I’m so grateful for that. It never could have happened if I hadn’t set aside my pride and given up my tight grip of control at the very beginning.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
I didn’t write a book because I think I have all the answers. I also didn’t write a book because I think that my perspective (or myself) is perfect. Rather, the book was an outpouring of conviction that God laid on my heart, a story of triumph over trials that God equipped me to walk through, and a message for hope and deliverance that God himself promises in his very word. When we are called, as Christians, to share a testimony of faith, it isn’t of our own savvy or our own carefully crafted words. Rather, those words are holy, inspired by God’s own spirit. When I humbly remember that this book was born out of my own brilliance but rather out of God’s calling on my life, I can trust that the book will be lifted up to exactly what it should be, even if I forgot a comma or worded something completely wrong. The book isn’t for me, it’s for all the people who will be helped by it.
Giving up control is a blessing in every area of my life. From writing a book, to learning to trust my body with food, and even just taking the next steps in my family and my career. God’s got it.
In which areas of life do you struggle to give up control?