Signing a book contract has been a whirlwind.
My story is not one of an overnight success. I had been writing steadily for over ten years with two manuscripts (covered in tear stains, I might add) still painfully shelved on the back burner when I finally signed with my agent. It was another year on submission before “If It Rains” was picked up by Tyndale.
After years of rejection and anonymity, I was, at long last, going to have an audience for my writing. Finally, someone was going to read my book.
But after the initial excitement wore off, the truth hit me in a different way: “Oh no…someone is finally going to read my book!”
As we creep ever closer to my release date, anxiety grows and the fight with my own insecurity has become daily.
What if my family and friends hate it?
What if everyone hates it?
What if it doesn’t sell a single copy?
What if it only gets negative reviews?
What if it doesn’t get any reviews?
Being a published author has been my dream since childhood, and the Lord has blessed me with its fulfillment–yet I still wrestle with worry and condescending whispers seeking to derail any kind of joy or fulfillment I might get out of this wonderful, amazing opportunity. And while my specific circumstance may be unique, my struggle is not.
It’s the mother who constantly worries she’s failing her children. It’s the employee who never feels like she’s doing a good enough job. It’s the wife who doubts her worth or her husband’s commitment. It’s the boss who is sure she’s running the company into the ground. It’s the daughter who believes she’s a disappointment to her parents.
Our lives, our relationships, and our roles both in and outside the home, are gifts. God has placed each of us in specific locations, circumstances, and positions for His glory, and joy can be found in each of these situations when we remember the love, grace, and sovereignty of the One who thoughtfully and purposefully planned out our days.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:16
The problem is that the world often shouts what should otherwise be the whispers of the enemy, drowning out the peace of God’s truth. Everywhere we look, including inside the depths of our own heart, gives voice to our fears:
“You are not enough.”
We can shake this thought away. We can call it a falsehood, chalk it up to a depraved culture or a misguided mind. But I think the most painful thing about this is that it’s not a lie. It’s true.
I am not enough.
The reason my anxiety and insecurity is so hard to overcome is because I know it’s rooted in truth. I cannot be all the things God has called me to be. My weakness is too big, my exhaustion too great, my sinfulness too overwhelming. I am not strong enough, good enough, wise enough, or faithful enough to fulfill any of the plans He has in store for me.
No, I am not enough…but He is.
You see, when insecurity rears its ugly head, I have a choice. I can keep my gaze turned inward, toward my own lack, or look upward, toward God’s perfection. Our deep longing for a life of purpose and meaning was planted by our Creator because it’s His desire for us to live abundantly; to spend our days in step with His plan and His will, more often than not completely outside of our own natural abilities.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
Don’t miss those words–“in Christ Jesus.” Yes, God created us for good works, but He created us IN Christ Jesus to do those works. We were never meant to do them alone! Our feelings of inadequacy are rooted in the separation between us and God that occurred at the fall; through Christ’s death on the cross, that separation has been erased. When we accept Him into our hearts, the good works God ordained for us to do can be fully realized because we have the Holy Spirit living inside us! We’re no longer alone, and those relationships, those roles, those circumstances that at one time seemed so big and overwhelming now bow at the feet of the One who ordained them.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”— 1 Corinthians 9:8
Our sinful pride is what makes us think that everything we do depends on us. It’s only when we rely on the strength, wisdom, faithfulness, and sovereignty of God that we are able to rest in humility. No, we are not enough. But God is. And our identity and our purpose must remained rooted, not in who we are, but in WHO HE IS.
“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is a mighty rock, my refuge.” –-Psalm 62:7
My salvation and my honor don’t depend on my book sales. They don’t depend on how good of a mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/employee/boss I am. They don’t depend on how many social media “likes” I get or how many bad reviews I receive. Because the world, and my own insecurity, will always tell me I cannot do enough or be enough. And you know what? They’re right. But, if I remain firmly in the hands of my savior:
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” – Psalm 138:8a
But I do still hope you’ll buy my book. 🙂