I can’t believe I’m going to ask…
I’ve been keeping a secret. Not intentionally, but maybe unconsciously because I’m afraid…I don’t want people to think that I am proud, or feigning humility, or a seducing friendships, or a failure, or a fake, or any other fear-induced label that has crossed my mind the past several days.
I’m a recovering approval addict. I spent much of my young life jumping through hoops to get people to like me. I desired popularity, class-favorite titles, and for people to speak well of me. I sacrificed who I was to achieve a fleeting moment of “everyone likes me.” Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that if everyone liked me–or even better loved me–then I was lovable. But, if people didn’t approve of me or like me, then I’m not “approvable” or worthy of love.
(Thank God instagram was not around back in my day, I’m certain I would have been one selfie away from a complete mental breakdown).
Seriously flawed thinking, but I believed it. And, I’ve spent the past 20 years re-training my brain with the Truth that God loves me completely, wholly, without reservation, and His love is not dependent on my behavior, action, or other people’s opinions of me. I am valuable because He says so. I am loved because He says so. I believe those Truths to my core.
So, here’s where it gets messy…
A week from tomorrow I am going with my friend, Dana, to the SheSpeaks Conference. I am excited, but mostly, about-to-throw-up nervous. And, all the people! I’ll have to interact and schmooze and make small talk…y’all know I’m not good with small talk.
I’m meeting with a publisher one on one, but there will be other casual opportunities to talk with agents, publishers, and authors.
Basically, I’ll have numerous conversations to try to convince people to like me. My pits are already sweating just typing that sentence.
I feel like God has done a miraculous work in my life in this area. Yes, I care if people like me, don’t misunderstand that. But, I care more that what I am doing is pleasing to God. I’m actually okay if people don’t like my decisions or understand my actions as long as I am confident that what I’m doing is obedient to my Savior.
But, with all addictions, I’m one careless decision away from falling right back into old patterns.
I want to write a book.
I want someone at the conference to believe in me.
I want to speak and teach.
I want an agent to sign me.
I want every one of the 700 people at the conference to find me warm, engaging, and funny.
But, more than all of that, I want to walk in courageous obedience stewarding the gifts He’s given me to use for His glory and His fame.
I believe I’m walking in obedience by going to this conference; however, if I’m not careful, I could walk right back into a minefield of hoops through which an approval addict easily jumps.
If God chooses to advance His fame through any word I speak or write, I’d be thrilled. But, I also believe that sometimes God hands us a shovel and we can do one of two things: 1. pray for a hole or 2. start digging.
I want to do both. I want to fervently pray while I’m furiously digging.
Here’s how you can help PLEASE. I can’t believe I’m going to ask, but it’s an unfortunate, necessary step in this process:
1. Pray for me. Pray that I wouldn’t fall into old patterns of basing my worth on others’ opinions. Pray that I would finish all the writing I need to before the conference. Pray that God would orchestrate every step, every encounter, every conversation.
2. Subscribe to my blog. I’m embarrassed to ask, but it’s a tangible indicator publishers and agents measure. Trust me, I will write regardless of numbers. I can’t keep quiet about Christ’s miraculous work in my life (not to mention I wouldn’t be stewarding well the gifts He’s entrusted to me).
3. If you like any words I’ve written, please tell your friends about the blog…whether it’s via text, sharing on FB, or RT on twitter.
It’s OKAY if you don’t do any of the above. I’m walking in obedience (and action) and trusting God for the results. Don’t worry, I won’t take you off the Christmas card list if you decide “no thank you.”
Know that this is a two-way street for me. I pray for my readers. I pray that the Truths I write would fall on fertile hearts, and you would know (to your core) you are loved without hesitation or reservation just as you are.
I’m more convinced than ever that we need each other in this journey. We need to cheer each other on, remind each other of our value to the Kingdom, and collectively make His name Great so others experience audacious hope, scandalous grace, and ferocious love.