Five years ago today my one and only book Growing Down: God’s Grace in Spite of Myself was ‘born.’
That was a big day! I find it hard to believe that it was five years ago.
When a child is born, the waiting and working leading up to the birth is mixed with hopes and expectations.
And as it is with expectations, sometimes you don’t realize them, or have words to describe them, until the hopes are dashed or unmet.
I guess today I am facing the disappointment in my book-child.
First let me say, I am still proud of ‘her.’ I still wholeheartedly recommend my book for the stories (every chapter is a mini-biography of a ‘friend’ I met though a book), for the spiritual encouragement it offers, and because I think the editing and look of the book is top-notch, thanks to partner-publisher Deep River Books. And I am very grateful for the good reviews and feedback.
But still I am sad that she did not do better.
I’d secretly hoped my book would draw the attention of someone and be published by a mainstream company and even though I did not market her (radio interviews, speaking, setting up book table at events) still I’d hoped for a better outcome.
Not because I wanted the money, so what was it I wanted? (I am thinking and writing out loud here.)
Recognition? Validation? An identity: wanting to be known as an author? Is it my pride that is hurt?
I don’t know. I just feel sad that there are 800 books in boxes in my attic and I don’t want them to mildew.
Sigh. . .
I try to console myself with thoughts like There are just too many books in the world. Or It’s because of the subject matter. (Repentance is not exactly a popular topic.) And Just let it go, Sarah, let it be, it is what it is.
These options — Understand what’s behind it. Explain the reasons. Just accept it. — are not making me feel better.
Nor is it useful to follow the common advice: Lower your expectations.
I never have liked that option because
1. It comes too late. I am already disappointed.
2. I didn’t even know what the expectation was, so how could have I lowered it?
And 3. It puts the blame on me and feeds my sense of control and self-protection. I naturally look for someone or something to blame so I can reestablish control, to make sure it I don’t get hurt again.
I just realized: all these options leave Jesus out.
What if my disappointment is simply meant to turn me?
To turn me — not to my own understanding and resources — but to Him?
Okay, Jesus, I am turning. And I am trusting You again.
Have Your way, with me and with my book-child.
I want to celebrate her fifth birthday, not sowing disappointment, but harvesting praise that I am still growing down into Your deep grace, in spite of myself.
Today is a Happy Birthday day!