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
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.
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.
WORD COUNT: 819
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!
*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.