My Word of the Week: Preapproved

pre·ap·proved – verb \ˈprē-ə-ˈprüvəd\

: to believe that something or someone is good or acceptable in advance
: to officially accept (an idea, action, plan, etc.) beforehand
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I am a word-girl, so things like book releases often translate to major life events for me. I’ve pre-ordered my fair share of books on Amazon; I’ve stood in line for autographs; I’ve carried books around with me for years while I soaked up every last word.

But yesterday, a new book found its way into the world, and my life will never be the same.

For the past several months, my husband and I have been considering what it would mean for me to be self-employed, to spend all of my working time with words. For the first several months of our marriage, it wasn’t even an option. We were paying two mortgages. End of story. But when it looked like the house might sell, and the two-hour commute even just two days a week was more than I could bear in this winter’s weather, we started thinking about it again.

The more I thought about it, though, the more anxious I became. I found myself awake most nights wondering how I could possibly replace my salary writing blog posts and doubting whether I would ever have a book deal. But mostly, I started doubting myself and wondering what everyone would think if I had the audacity to say I was going to do it, that I was going to follow my dream . . . and take my family down with me.

So, I told my husband to forget it. I would just keep working. I changed around my schedule a bit, worked on some organizational skills to squeeze every last minute out of the day, and prayed that the snow would stop.

But pursuing a dream part-time while still working and commuting and taking care of my family felt like too much. All the driving and hurrying and cramming in the writing after dinner in the evenings and before breakfast on Saturdays and gulping down toast and coffee in the car so I could work six hours in the city, then drive home and work three or four or six hours at home has been hard.

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And even though we were quietly socking away a little money and crunching numbers and thinking about maybe someday, there were still all of those insecurities to deal with.

Then, I read this from Jennifer Dukes Lee’s new book Love Idol:

“Wrapped in these pages are my heart’s cry and my personal fight for freedom, offered to you. I pray that together we can give up on

  • the inner critic who bruises, the mirror that accuses, and the mental playback that oozes with bad history;
  • our knee-jerk response to try to please people;
  • the idea that it’s somehow all up to you and me, or that our reputations hinge on our own spotless performance;
  • our penchant for self-criticism;
  • our fear of trying because we’re afraid we’ll fail when people are watching;
  • our inability to fully experience the love of God because we’re waiting for proof from a spouse or a friend that we are worthy of his or her love;
  • our longing to feel important;
  • our appetite for being “known”;
  • our un-gospel notions about pleasing God.

“Are you with me?”

In that moment, something shifted. I was with her. I had received an advanced copy of the book because I told Jennifer I wanted to help her promote it. I was reading that introduction and the subsequent chapters for her, I thought. But really, in God’s providence, I was reading them for me. Because I have an inner critic who’s been bullying me for too long. I have a reputation that seems fragile and dependent on perfection. I often don’t try because I know others are watching, and I’m far too worried about what they think.

So, someday is now. There are a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t quit my job and try to make a go as a full-time writer and editor. And even though having more time and flexibility for my family seems like a good idea, I am quite sure giving up my job and following my dreams wouldn’t be the first choice others would suggest.

But if there’s any Jennifer’s book has taught me, if I believe God is calling me to something, then he has preapproved me to enter into that plan, regardless of popular opinion or, more likely, my own personal opinion. It doesn’t mean I will be successful, and it doesn’t mean I will fail. Being preapproved simply means that God won’t love me any more or any less – couldn’t love me more or less, in fact – than he already does.

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WORD COUNT: 819

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To help celebrate Jennifer’s book launch, I have purchased a copy of her book, Love Idol, to give away in the next few days. Everyone who leaves a comment on this post or signs up to receive my blog in their email inbox through noon on Monday, March 31, will be registered to win. The winner will be posted on the Word of the Week post next Tuesday, April 1, (no kidding!) and I will contact the winner as soon as possible for shipping information. Currently, the book is sold out on Amazon, so sign up today for a chance to get your own copy!

 

 

Photo by Amy Breitmann, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

*This website uses “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Also, I received a complimentary preview copy of Jennifer’s book, but any endorsements, reviews, or comments about the book are my own opinion and were not influenced by the author. The book I am giving away was purchased by me.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.


  • Dolly@Soulstops ,

    Charity,
    Congrats! I am happy to read how you are pursuing your dreams with confidence in God’s love for you…((hugs))

    • Heather Day ,

      Charity–What a blessing for you to write more and with fewer obstacles! Through reading your blogs over the years, I am truly humbled and amazed by the gift of writing that God has provided you. This must have been a careful decision, but I am so thankful that you will be able to share your gift on an even greater scale. …And…that book! Thank you so much for sharing Love Idol. “The idea that it’s somehow all up to you and me, or that our reputations hinge on our own spotless performance” YIKES! I SO needed to hear that!

      • Sandra Heska King ,

        Girlfriend, you go! This definitely Snoopy-spin worthy!

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          Charity Singleton Craig ,

          Thank you, Sandy! Can’t wait to do the Snoopy Spin with you in GR in two weeks! Who do you think will get dizzy and fall down first? 🙂

        • Marie Bride ,

          Charity,
          I am so moved with the carrying the book around(I am not the only one?)
          And the striving to hold on to your dream. I am in the mist of right now.
          Being Pre-Approved is a gift to accept through the ability of recognizing an destroying the Love Idol, and I have only read the first chapter.
          Blessings to you for sharing this most valuable post on your blog!!!

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            Charity Singleton Craig ,

            Marie – The book was my constant companion for the few days I was reading it. Definitely. It is a gift to understand how much we are loved and the extent to which God not only loves us but likes us!

          • Heather ,

            Charity,
            When I read this post, my instant thought … prompting 😉 … was this, that I will share with you from the heart:

            I went through this exact thing when I was nearing the end of my daughter’s home education. I had written – mainly as a volunteer writer for many years – but wanted to contribute to our income through my own work at home venture. In 2008, I began to pray and seek The Lord’s guidance and little by little I had writing jobs coming to me. Word of mouth. No advertising! That’s also when I started my blog and dedicated every page and post to God… separating the duties from the things He wanted me to convey.

            Today I enjoy writing for Him on my blog, finishing up two books – for Him! – AND writing as a contracted freelance writer and media gal for a great company. No formal education. No degree. Just a great big God!!!

            My husband nearly died from meningitis during that early stage and we were out of his employment for two years. Then we were forced into bankruptcy.

            But today, we own a home to bless others within, my husband is healthy, and life is a blessing. All though that my vision grew and my work helped out!

            The VERY best part is that our story is being shared all over the world in ministries, people’s personal lives, and churches. God gets the glory when we go after things in our heart for Him.

            I share that to encourage you to forge ahead and know that even when things look impossible ~ they are not! Let Him guide that desire.

            Blessings!
            Heather
            40YearWanderer.com

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              Charity Singleton Craig ,

              Heather, what an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am so encouraged by how you took risks, faced hardship, persevered, and saw God’s hand guiding you and providing for you through it all. I’ve encountered quite a few impossible things in life – or at least they looked impossible at the time. I’m trying to remember that now. Thanks for commenting.

            • Megan Willome ,

              “But really, in God’s providence, I was reading them for me. “–Yes, that’s what happened to me, too. I thought I was just helping Jennifer, but God had more in mind.

              I’m excited about the direction God is nudging you. Praying you’ll hear and see each next step clearly.

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                Charity Singleton Craig ,

                Thanks, Megan. I am excited, too! And scared to death.

                One thing I am especially excited about is conducting myself as a “business person” (I use that word loosely) representing only myself and Jesus. Of course I will have clients to represent, but I find the responsibility to set up good practices and to really honor God and people in my work are very motivating right now. Thanks for praying.

              • Diana Trautwein ,

                Love this, love you, so excited for your new adventure.

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                  Charity Singleton Craig ,

                  And I love you, Diana. Do you know that your encouragement has also been a big part of giving me courage to make the leap? Thank you.

                • Caryn Christensen ,

                  Charity, as you step into your preapproved place, may you go out with joy and be led forth with peace! {Don’t include me in the drawing as I too, have benefited immeasurably by reading Jennifer’s book} 🙂

                • Sheri ,

                  I would love to win a copy!! I can’t wait to read this!!

                  Sheri

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                    Charity Singleton Craig ,

                    Sheri – You are going to love the book. You’re in the drawing! I’ll let you know soon who won.

                  • Donna ,

                    Pre-approved. Why is it so hard to remember such a simple and perfect message? Does the book come with a tattoo? I’m still grappling with being forced to stop working. But even that comes with a stamp of approval or it never would ave happened in the first place. Yes, I think I need a tattoo. Well, maybe a Henna- I dislike pain. :0)
                    Thanks for sharing … and good for you!!

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                      Charity Singleton Craig ,

                      Donna – I’ll have to let Jennifer know that for her next launch she should include a henna stamp to apply to our foreheads! It is such a simple message, and yet . . . always “and yet.”

                    • Krista ,

                      Looking forward to reading this one. Would love to win a copy. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

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                        Charity Singleton Craig ,

                        Krista – You are going to love the book. I’m honored to host a giveaway. I’ll let you know soon who the winner is. (maybe it will be you!)

                      • Jennifer ,

                        I came across the Love Idol Movement on a day that I was struggling even more than other days….In my current circumstance, I long for the love and approval that really should be within my grasp, but isn’t right now, and it is very, very hard. I know that God’s love should be enough, but if I am totally honest, it doesn’t always feel like it is.

                        That day that I found out this book existed, I wanted to read it RIGHT then, because in my struggle, I never saw it that way…that I could be idolizing LOVE…I want to not only trust God with my circumstances, but with my whole heart…and I truly think that this book would help me greatly.

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                          Charity Singleton Craig ,

                          Jennifer – I’m sorry that you are struggling so much right now. I have been there – wishing I could be satisfied with God. Period. But wanting so much more. I think the Lord has something for us even in that struggle, that he will make himself known to us as we wrestle with those desires. And as we tear down the idols. I think you would love this book.

                          • Jennifer ,

                            Thank you, and I agree <3

                        • michelle ortega ,

                          YES!! Take the leap! Don’t stay up nights wondering how you will be able to do it…just sit back, listen and be ready to move when God opens doors for you. He will! He has given you a gift of expression that leads others (including me!) to desire greater depth and authenticity, in such a relatable way. This was read in our morning worship today,”You did not ask us to succeed, you asked us to be faithful”. Awesome!

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                            Charity Singleton Craig ,

                            Michelle – Thank you for the encouragement! I love that quote; I need that quote. I have my 25th High School class reunion this year, and recently, my classmates have been making plans on Facebook. Just this week, I remembered that I had been voted “Most Likely to Succeed” all those years ago. When I look at my life, I doubt this is what anyone imagined when they cast their votes. And yet, God says, “You are mine.” I’m resting in that.

                          • jdukeslee ,

                            The thought that my message in Love Idol could somehow help you? That humbles me greatly. I hold you in high Christ-esteem, my friend. I adore your heart, and am inspired by who you are as a writer, and as a sister in the faith.

                            Thank you for joining this journey with me, and not only cheering me on as a writer-colleague, but opening up your own heart to the message.

                            I love you.

                            (I can’t wait to share this message with the Love Idol Movement tomorrow. It will be a great encouragement.)

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                              Charity Singleton Craig ,

                              Jennifer – Thank you for running ahead, discovering the intimate truth of this good news, and then coming back for the rest of us. I’m so proud of you!

                            • SImplyDarlene ,

                              Regarding your new at-home writerly job(s), may the Lord knock your socks off with all He sets before you. 🙂

                              That last sentence of yours is rather convicting – especially since I’m about ready to drop the ball on something big. And by drop, I mean break, shatter, scatter. Even if I let down people from here to the moon and back, God is still God. So simple, yet so hard to grasp at times.

                              Blessings.

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                                Charity Singleton Craig ,

                                Darlene – Love like that – so unconditional – is so intimate that it frightens me often. But there also is something so reassuring. I’m in. I’m loved. It’s not up to me. Praying for you as you “drop the ball.”

                              • Marie Bride ,

                                Pre-Approved is a Victory to Rejoice & Celebrate!

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                                  Charity Singleton Craig ,

                                  Marie – I agree! I am rejoicing that He knows my name and loves me first.

                                • Ann Kroeker ,

                                  Charity, you are one of the most talented writers I know, poised for success in so many ways. I’m so glad you are seeing yourself through God’s eyes, so you can move ahead with a sense of confidence in Him.

                                  • jdukeslee ,

                                    Yeah. What Ann said. Completely poised for success! Move ahead and confidence … and God-fidence!

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                                      Charity Singleton Craig ,

                                      Thank you, Ann. Your friendship and investment in me over the years has been God’s grace to prepare me for this. Thank you for walking with me.

                                      • Megan Willome ,

                                        Yes! Yes! Yes, Ann!

                                    • Amy ,

                                      Charity~ I am with you on many levels here. The book spoke to me so much as well. I am in a similar place balancing work, writing, and life. What a beautiful message Jennifer has for all of us striving to do it all. Grateful to be a sojourner with you.

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                                        Charity Singleton Craig ,

                                        Amy – Thanks for your comment and for letting me use your photo! Sometimes, I feel crazy for trying to balance so many things. But then, I don’t know what I would give up. This transition in my work life also feels crazy. But I feel like it’s a move in the right direction. I’m grateful to be journeying with you, too!

                                      • Steve Craig ,

                                        Very good article and I pray you have much success on your new challenge.

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                                          Charity Singleton Craig ,

                                          Steve – Thank you. It’s definitely going to be a challenge! But I’m excited about it!