Let me let you in on a secret. I may seem cool and calm in person. But, when I'm launching something new, I'm a nervous wreck on the inside. For there's nothing scarier than putting yourself out there, putting all your energy or weight behind something and hoping people show up, participate and gain from the experience what you hoped they would.
I believe such fear is a normal part of the world of church ministry.
Pastors are often the movers and shakers of the church, aren't they?
We are the ones who start new things. We are the ones who say to other church leaders: "Trust me. We just need to do this." We are the ones who often plan the sermon series that ruffles some feathers.
And so every Advent or Lent when I've offered a new book study or worship series . . .
Or, every summer that I've thrown out the normal worship practices in exchange for a Sabbatical of sorts . . .
Or every church council meeting, I've offered a new way of thinking about church leadership . . .
I've had a pit in my stomach. That pit that reflects back: "What if ___ is a terrible idea? What is no one shows up? What if I'm the only one who really cares about ____?"
Of course, I could listen to the fear and stop all plans. But, I'm a firm believer that we can't let fear control us, can we? So, with my brave face on, I've set out chairs. I've make flyers. I've invited people to a meeting.
And when all is said and done, usually I'm delightfully surprised.
All is usually well. Or at least I get through the experience (so I can cry about its failure alone at home).
Life is lived well when we put our ideas, our heart on the line, isn't it?
I'm soon offering the world something new, something I've been working on for a long time. Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility will soon be available for sale. And I have a PIT in my stomach about it too.
Though I know it's the best writing I could offer readers at the moment it went to print. . .
Though I know it was a writing project God called me to complete . . .
Though I know it has the potential to help readers who've walked through a similar season of pain find hope . .
And there's part of me that wants to hide out and not come out till the book launch is over.
Because I want you to like it (and I know not everyone will).
Because I want to keep doing this kind of work: living stories, writing stories and sharing them with you (and the number of copies sold of Birthed will have a lot to say about whether or not I can easily keep doing this).
Because my heart is on every page (and it feels so vulnerable to offer the ENTIRE public my heart).
But, my prayer is MAY NOT MY FEAR HOLD ME BACK.
So in faith, I've spent the past weeks planning, organizing and dreaming about book launch events trusting that some of you might want to come. And hoping these events will help me get this book in the hands of those who need it the most.
For the truth is this: the only job I have is to trust the Spirit-- the Spirit who nudged me long ago to write this-- will help Birthed be what it needs to be. All will be well. It really will!
And would you like to read a preview? Head over to my publisher's website, Chalice Press and read what some earlier readers have to say about it and one chapter! Thanks, friends, for being along for the ride.