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.