I have finished very few blog posts in the past few months. It’s a funny thing as a writer to admit that you are not writing. Even my journal has been bare over the past months. I’ve been puzzling over this and what exactly is stopping my words, my progress, my passion.
I don’t have an exact answer, but a couple of things stand out.
The first is that I am working on publishing and launching my first book, Girl with the Sparkling Eyes. (What?!) I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to publish the book independently. (Thank you, awesome backers!) It has been an incredibly powerful and absolutely exhausting journey. There are the practical elements that require time and energy – communicating with my illustrator, the printer, and my backers. Then, there are all of the choices regarding the actual printing, the website, the marketing, etc.
Choices are absolutely exhausting for me.
Emotionally, though, there is ever so much more going on. It’s all the usual human stuff – what if I fail, what if people don’t get it, what if people are just plain mean, what if I succeed… Then what?
See, moving forward into this new territory means that I’ve never been here before. There are many aspects of my life that I have moved into that were unknown, but most have just been forced into my lap, like learning all about spinal chord injuries when my mom was paralyzed in a car accident. It wasn’t a choice – I just had to deal.
That’s really the crux of the challenge for me – it’s a choice to move forward. Why move into an area that is truly vulnerable because of my love for this book when I have no idea what’s going to happen. I have no idea if all of this effort will pay off. I have no idea if this message in my book is going to help anyone.
But I am compelled.
I read the “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield this past week. It was just what I needed. Don’t you love when books happen into your life at just the right times? This book is about the Resistance all artists (people) encounter in their life and work. All of it is brilliant, but the part that I’ve really been mulling over is this question I’ve just posed, “What am I doing this for?” “Why write and share it with the world?” Pressfield writes the question like this:
“If we were the last person on earth, would we still show up at the studio, the rehearsal hall, the laboratory?”
Meaning: if nobody else cared, would we still be compelled to create?
He answers this quandary on different levels, but the final one goes like this:
“Then there’s the third way proffered by the Lord of Discipline, which is beyond both hierarchy and territory. That is to do the work and give it to Him. Do it as an offering to God.”
Oh yeah, I remember…
“ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Col 3:23-24)
This is what God says to do – and yet it feels so much harder in practice than in theory. Of course, we are supposed to do our work unto Him – without Him, we’d be dead, literally, He created air. But when I launch this book, I want people to buy it. Now I guess I can say that God can inspire people to buy it (which He can) but what if that is not what He chooses to do? Will I be satisfied to have done my work “for the Lord.” Or will I become bitter?
How many things in our lives are like this? Doesn’t all disappointment come because we had some expectation that wasn’t met by people? If we solely did our work “for the Lord” would we ever be disappointed? If we do the work and release the outcome to God, how can we be let down?
I am working through my expectations, while simultaneously having to plan events that are meant to create certain results. It’s a strange time of stretching.
Yet, I am compelled.
What are you creating this week? Do you feel yourself stretching to create it?
Leave your insights below – I want to hear them!