Endorsements are coming in for my book, and it is making me compare my past and present selves.
In the past, like Peter Pan and his shadow, I have stitched myself to my work. If someone praises my writing; they praise me. If someone is impacted by my message – why, then, I am important, and everyone should listen to me. The converse would therefore also be true: if someone rejected my book, they rejected me. If someone criticised my book, then I was unfit to be called human. And – of course – I would believe the negative things as true and the positive ones as pity-lies.
If someone criticised my book, then I was unfit to be called human. And – of course – I would believe the negative things as true and the positive ones as pity-lies.
Now, I am better at accepting the differences between me and my writing. (Not completely perfect, you understand, just better). I am not my work, and my work is not me. In our work-obsessed societies, this is increasingly difficult to distinguish.
There are a thousand reasons why someone may not like your work, and most of them are none of your business. I know this because I am a reader. There are times when I know a Christian book is objectively good, but it’s not my genre, or I’m not quite with them on the theology, or they’re talking from life experiences very different from mine. Right now, I have a few books I know I will love, but I just don’t have time to read it. (Who knew that book launches were so time-consuming??)
This is the only way to accept praise and criticism, especially of your work – with a light hand. Don’t swallow the opinions down: the good ones are too saccharine, the bad ones too bitter to digest. Hold them in your hand lightly.
Even as I prepare for a book release, I am unstitching myself from the work. Peter Pan needed his shadow to follow him, and he held it down and bound it to himself – but how much more fun to see your shadow dancing of its own accord, going where it wants?
I am chewing on the words of affirmation God spoke over Jesus when he was baptised. By extension, if we are baptised into Christ, those words now apply to us, too.
Therefore God says to you,
“You are my child, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.”
For a good endorsement, you’re looking for a combination of positive words from a really important person. The more positive the words and the more important the person, the better the endorsement.
So to all who feel discouraged, who look to others for reassurance, hungry for words of praise, know this:
You can’t get a better endorsement than that which you already have.
“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
You can't get a better endorsement than that which you already have (from God) Click To Tweet Don't swallow the opinions down: the good ones are too saccharine, the bad ones too bitter Click To Tweet To all who feel discouraged, who look to others for reassurance- Click To Tweet
Over to you:
- How do you deal with praise and criticism?
- In what ways do you stitch yourself to your own work?
- What does it mean to you to speak Mark 1:11 over your life?
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Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay hits the shelves on 16 October 2017. As gripping as a novel, it journeys with four Bible heroes who struggled with the weight of waiting, with reflection questions and six Bible studies for groups. Sign up here for updates and offers.