I pushed. I pulled. I grunted and groaned and heaved and wrenched my back. The shelf creaked and cracked and threatened to topple. A few paperbacks pitched onto the floor. But the shelf didn’t budge. In the end, after 15 minutes of exhausting exertion and a pulled neck muscle, the shelf was exactly one inch from its original spot. Not two feet. One inch.
I gave up. I left the bookshelf where it was. All my pushing and pulling and sweating and heaving resulted in nothing.
And this, my friends, is the perfect metaphor for my publishing journey.
For the last three years I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to building a platform. I’ve written more than 700 blog posts, an entire book, a quarter of another and two book proposals. I’ve tweeted, Facebooked, commented, Klouted, emailed, guest-posted and Google Plussed. I’ve pushed and pulled and forced this process along with all my might.
Thanks to yesterday’s reading, I now know exactly what I’ve done wrong.
“If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.”(Psalm 127:1, The Message)
The hard truth is, I’ve tried to build the house all on my own, without God.
Okay, okay, God has sort-of been involved. After all, I write about God every day. I pray. I talk to God. I believe that he inspires my words, and I know that my faith has grown stronger and deeper because of my writing. But still. I have allowed him only a minor role in the construction of this house.
As Pastor Michael said in his sermon yesterday, “When it’s apart from God, work becomes labor.”
This publishing journey has been labor — labor speckled with occasional moments of joy, but mostly labor, with pain, writhing and a fair bit of screaming and cursing.
I know, I know, you’ve heard all this before from me, haven’t you? After all, back on December 31 I resolved to make “surrender” my word for the year. But I haven’t surrendered, not entirely. Or maybe I have…on some days…but then I revert back to my pushing-pulling-grunting-heaving habits all over again.
Good grief I’m a slow learner.
So today, once again (sigh), I surrender. I hand over the plans and the blueprints to God. I allow him his rightful and only role as the foreman, the big boss. And I ask him to forgive me for trying to run the show.
I’m done building the shack. God holds the plans for this house, and he’ll decide whether it will be a mansion or a hut…or something altogether different.
With Jennifer and the Soli Sisters:
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