A number of friends have asked about how the book writing is coming. I actually just turned in the final, final, final manuscript this past week. There have been various edits, revisions, tweaks, etc but this one was really it. No more revisions. It is headed to the printer–which made me a little nervous. It seemed that every time I would read it over again, I’d find more typos that I hadn’t seen before.
Confession: all my perfectionistic tendencies came full throttle to the surface in the writing of this book. Isn’t it amazing how our flesh can be so powerfully active even when writing a book on the freedom and joy of the gospel? Ugh…it has been a reminder again of how desperately I need the gospel every moment of every day.
The highlight for my flesh (and low point for me) came during the process of nailing down a title for the book. For several months, I had been under the impression that the title for the book was set. Then in March I received from the publisher the final mock up of the cover and discovered they had changed the title on me. I didn’t like the change at all.
This threw me into a very unspiritual week or two of panic. Even though I was writing a book urging us to not be about “Trying Harder”, this was suddenly my default response when my “baby” was being tweaked. I started trying harder by getting everyone’s opinions about the title, including the entire church family during worship one weekend. I actually took an impromptu raw poll in the service so that I would have lots of data to present to my publisher.
I now realize, through the gentle work of God’s Spirit, how my response of panic was deeply rooted in unbelief and idolatry. This book had become too important to me. The title (and image) of this book had become my god. Looking back, I think I was being put to the test by God and ended up failing miserably. It was a hard lesson to learn but an important one. Idols come in all shapes and sizes. Repentance is something we continually need to do as God reveals what we are ultimately trusting in.
I now see that writing a book for Christians who are trying harder doesn’t exlude this Christian from needing its message every day. Just because I’ve authored a book on the subject doesn’t mean I’ve outgrown this tendency. God’s grace is meeting me in this whole writing process and I welcome the fresh breezes of His mercy.