The other day, I was talking to a friend about my kids’ piano lessons. Every Friday, I drop them off at their teacher’s house for almost two hours. My friend asked, “What do you do while they’re there?” I think my answer surprised her:
“I’m writing a book.”
It’s true. With an hour here and a couple hours there, at Mama Carmen’s coffee shop and the new Starbucks near my house, I have written almost an entire book on how to be a friend to someone with cancer.
For the first several weeks of focused writing, I wouldn’t refer to it as a book. I knew I was writing a book – the goal was a book, not just pages – but I had a hard time admitting it to others.
My bestie would ask, “What did you do today?”
And I’d say, “I wrote some more pages for that thing that could be a book someday!”
And she’d reply, “YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK. JUST SAY YOU WORKED ON YOUR BOOK!”
But the truth is, I don’t want to say that I’m writing a book. Because writing a book is possibly one of the top three most terrifying things I’ve ever done.
(Having chemo that required countless injections, a clinical trial, and blood transfusions every time I turned around was the most terrifying. Giving birth to my first child was a close second. I would stare at my huge tummy and think, “How in the world is that thing gonna get out of there?!? And what will I DO with it when it does?!?!?”)
It might sound silly that writing a book makes the list of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, right up there with pumping poison into my body and becoming a mother for the first time.
The reason I’m terrified is that I am an Approval Addict. I want people to think highly of me, and I can’t stand it when they don’t. The things that upset me the most are: 1. death, 2. cancer, and 3. someone not liking me. I’m so ridiculous.
And in the arena of earning others’ approval, lots of things could go wrong with this book.
– My friends could be disappointed to find out this isn’t the book they were hoping I’d write.
– My friends could love it, but when people who know about publishing books (by the way, anyone know any of those people?!?) read it, they could say it’s worthless.
– It might not sell.
– It might get bad reviews.
– People might look at me and see failure.
– People might look at me and think I must be a snob who thinks she’s really something because she wrote a book.
– People might expect me to be the Best Friend Ever to someone with cancer because I wrote a book about it, when the truth is that I fail my friends with cancer on a regular basis.
And yet, I know that God has called me to write this book and pursue getting it published – but not so that I can earn the approval of men. He wants me to write to serve His people and for His glory.
The only way I can do this is to rest in the truth that in Christ, I am fully approved by God. I am loved by God with an unquenchable, never-ending love – not because of anything I have done, but only because of what Christ has done. When I stand in that amazing love, I can be free to write a book and take this risk with my eyes on His glory, not my own. I want to get out of the way and make much of Him.
Would you pray for me?
Pray for the courage to finish the book and take the next steps. (I know how to write. But I have no idea how to get a book published. So this is getting scarier and scarier.)
Pray that God would use what I’ve written to minister to His people for His glory.
Pray that I would rest in His love for me, free from the chains of others’ approval and bold in what God asks me to do.
I can’t wait to read it. Perfect perspective!
Pam Gilbreath says
You will be in my prayers, Marissa☺️
I wondered what took you so long! You blessed so many of us with your blog as you were going through treatment. Your transparency and raw emotions intermingled with scripture was thought provoking and encouraging. You need to put that into a companion book. Thank you.
Of course, I am going to keep praying for you! This is going to be good for you and for a lot of other people. It doesn’t have to be the definitive book. It is just supposed to be the book you’re supposed to write for the reasons you stated above. I’m with you.
Linda Christy says
I can’t wait to read your book!! There are many out there who need the strength and compas
sion to know what to say to those that have cancer. So proud of you! :))
I’m honored to pray for you and the book and for God to receive all the glory. He will. The book will be just what He intends it to be, and it will be good! Have no fear! I can’t wait to read it.
Bev Worley says
I have full confidence in God’s work through you. I have anxiously been awaiting this announcement. Praying that the whole publishing experience will be a wonderful and blessed one! Thank you for being courageous!