Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Temptation to Perform and Please

As I was thinking about what to write this week, I realized that Thursdays are titled “Transparent Thursdays,” so it’s appropriate that I be transparent today. 

Let’s talk about this journey I’m on as an unpublished, unrepresented author. 

Right now, my goal is to send my manuscript to one of the agents who asked for it at the ACFW 2015 conference. I’ve been editing and polishing the draft since the day I returned. I sent it out to a second round of readers for feedback. And I’ve been agonizing over every word in the cover letter/email I plan to send as well. 

Let me put you inside my head for a moment. We are driving home from a weekend trip on Sunday, and I’m thinking about the email as I look out the window. Hmmm, I wonder if I should keep that line. Should I? I don’t know. I mean, maybe. Well, I don’t know. Maybe not. 


Man, I really need to be still before the Lord. I need to hear from Him on this.

A few seconds later…

But what if I think I hear from Him. And then I submit it. And she’s not interested. Rejection. Did I not hear Him? Was it that line that turned her off, made her stop reading? Ugh. If I miss Him, I might miss out on His favor—and it’ll be because that’s not what He said for me to do.

More sighing.

So, this is my internal dialogue—the full re-cap. And about the time I’m feeling defeated before I even begin, I gently heard the Lord say: “Sweet girl, that sounds like works-based performance. That sounds like attempts at pleasing me and pleasing others. I’m already pleased with you, remember? The Cross? It’s finished. My grace? It’s unmerited. It’s not about what you do or don’t do. I love you, baby. Don’t put performance on yourself.” 

I could have cried. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder.

The thing is, I’ve been on this journey with not being able to get pregnant for over four years. And it has been rough for most of those four years, but I’ve only recently learned a very important truth: the reason I can’t get pregnant (yet) has nothing to do with my performance. It’s not because I didn’t pray enough or believe enough. And my barrenness is not a punishment. God already dealt with punishment at the cross—He doesn’t punish me.

In fact, He loves me. He’s for me. And He’s a good Daddy. I can trust those truths. 

I didn’t realize until Sunday that the same truths I’m learning to walk in, to lean into—those truths apply to this journey as a writer, trying to pursue the dream God has put in my heart.

I may be rejected. I will inevitably face criticism. People may not like me. And they may not like my story.

But my identity—who I am—must be rooted in Christ, that I’m a daughter of the King, that I’m righteous, that I’m covered, that He’s already pleased with me—and that I don’t have to perform for HIS love, now or ever.

That has to be the foundation on which I begin this journey as an author.

To my author-friends: Do you need to remind yourself who are you in Christ today—or do you have any advice for me (or others) about how you remind yourself of your identity as you face situations that make you feel vulnerable with your work?

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Need to remind yourself that your performance does not earn God's favor? @grace2write

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