Unnecessary Worry

In the third and final installment of my “unnecessary” series of blog posts, today we will explore the issue of unnecessary worry. (Yes, I am going for the “w” theme with the posts, starting with words, then work. I am a sucker for intentionality and the obvious.)

For followers of Jesus, you cannot venture very far into the issue of worry without bumping into Scripture, as worry is addressed throughout the biblical Gospels. Jesus speaks about it quite sufficiently, so no need for me to review anything he said. You can read his words on your own.

Authors and other people in publishing generate their own brand of worry, stemming from the same issues Jesus spoke about in the Gospels, but related to books. The same cautions, promises and reminders found in Jesus’ words regarding worry still apply, but authors and publishers often seem to consider their brand of worry somehow a different kind.

It is not.

Worry about Writing

Are you using the right words? Is this good enough to be noticed? How am I going to finish this by the end of the year? Did I forget something?

You might be relying too much on your talent and training.

Often, when I am confident about my ability to handle something, I skip the step of humility and submitting myself to God’s leading.

Nothing like competency to replace trust in God. I’d like to think I am following God’s lead naturally, but we all default to our own power and often need to intentionally press the “reset” button to put things back on track.

Write the very best you can, never holding back inspiration and energy for your work, just pray before you start. It places the work in the proper order.

Worry about Publishing

This has less spiritual implications than writing, but I believe it is a universal truth the more we know about something, the less we worry about it.

Knowledge in any field of endeavor decreases anxiety and worry.

When you know what to expect, there are fewer surprises. The guesswork is replaced by “I know how this works.” If you want things to go easier for you, with less worry, learn a little about publishing, especially if you have not yet published.

Seriously, in what career field is willful ignorance of the way things work not frowned upon?

If you spend some time reading about trends, ideas, business facts and best practices, your worry-level will diminish dramatically.

Worry about Impact

This is the big one.

In Christian publishing, a book is not going to change a heart on it’s own. It might be used by God to change a heart, but a Christian book never operates on it’s own power, in the same way a Christ-follower accomplishes little or nothing by themselves.

A book might remind someone or point to something, but the power to change a heart always comes from the Spirit of God at work.

Could it be intense worry, anxiety and eventual writer-burnout is simply a result of an author attempting to take on the responsibility of doing something only God can do?

Yes, sometimes God will use a book or what someone has written to accompany his Spirit in doing all this, but it is never the book alone doing it.

So, relax. God’s got this.

All this is pretty simple. Authors need to put their part of the equation into perspective. In your own creative power and personal energy, you will not be able to write with power, be published well and convince someone to commit their lives to God and grow in faith.

Stop worrying, it’s unnecessary.

You are not alone in this journey.

 

16 Responses to Unnecessary Worry

  1. Rebekah Love Dorris November 28, 2017 at 5:37 am #

    Just your title helped realign my morning, which started out with worry the minute I dropped off my son at basketball practice. “Did I lecture too much on the way? Will I get everything done today?” And so forth.

    Thanks for reminding me that I play only a small part in a beautiful story that the Author has well in hand. God bless.

  2. Damon J. Gray November 28, 2017 at 6:18 am #

    My lack of worry is sometimes perceived by those close to me as not caring. I do care much, and deeply. My lack of worry is rooted in the reality that I know there are things about which I can do nothing even specific outcomes do, or do not occur. All I can control is my response to what transpires.

    Three pointless words, “But, what if…?”

  3. Judith Robl November 28, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    And the poster in my office states:
    “Worry is praying to the wrong god.”

    Or to paraphrase Job: that which I feared is come upon me.

    • Sharon Cowen November 28, 2017 at 7:03 am #

      Thank you Dan Balow (and Judith Robl)!

  4. Loretta Eidson November 28, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    Great post! I love that it’s packed with truth and power! Thank you for the reminder!

  5. Karen Saari November 28, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Thank you. I needed the reminder to pray before writing.!

  6. J.D. Rempel November 28, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement. God has been reminding me too that I need to pray and place my writing in His hands.

  7. Carol Ashby November 28, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Amen to this one, Dan! It was a giant step forward for me when I realized that all my worrying was a sign of a lack of faith in God’s power and His love for me. If things don’t go the way I wanted and planned, then maybe that wasn’t the way they were supposed to go.

    One of my favorite verses to remember when I start fretting about whether something is going to be successful is Psalm 127:1. “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. “(ESV)

    It’s my job to pour my heart, mind, and strength into doing the best job I can, but the outcome isn’t in my hands; it’s in His.

  8. Edward Lane November 28, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    That is phenomenal advice, Dan!! Reminds of Philippians where it says be anxious for nothing.

  9. Joanne Reese November 28, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    This is a beautiful post, Dan. It reminds me of a sermon I heard years ago about how birds praise God so freely, trusting that all of their needs will be met. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or where they will sleep at night. (Matthew 6:26)

    Nevertheless, I’ve never seen a bird have an anxiety attack due to unnecessary worry. We have much to learn from our feathered friends.

  10. Donna Myers November 28, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    Your three points are almost like Dorthy Sayers’ creative process comparing it to the trinity. God the Father is the idea (writing). Jesus the son is the work (publishing). The Holy Spirit is the power of the work (impact). Thank you for your blogs. I read every single one of them. You educate and inspire.

  11. Elaine S November 28, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Thank you! I have just had to “reset” myself during the past week, and everything you present here is Spirit-powered reinforcement. We need reminders of these truths–often!

  12. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D November 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    Thank you for these important reminders, Dan. We sometimes forget these very simple truths.

  13. Richard Mabry November 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    Thanks, Dan, for sharing great advice. If all the reader remembers is what you say toward the end of the piece, it will be worth it. “Relax. God’s got this.” Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kathy E December 4, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    Very good perspective. I know so many times I have worried and exhausted efforts of mine to publicize or publish my work. The truth is my work is His and He allows what is best!

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