If you’ve been following me on social media, read my Christmas letter, or even just talked to me in the past few months, you know my book, Back Away from the Cookies, was released last week. I should say FINALLY RELEASED because the book getting into print was a very long process.
The path to publication was long, curvy, challenging, and s l o o o w. Oh, so slow 11 years ago, I shared my dream of writing a book out loud. It wasn’t a dream I had grown up with, but for many years friends had been telling me, “You need to write a book; you have the same kind of humor as Erma Bombeck.” Their suggestions set my mind in motion. And then, at a Bible study group one day, the leader asked us what was our biggest dream that we’d never shared with anyone. Right away, I thought, I’d like to write a book. Next, she asked our large group to break into smaller groups and share our dream. Yikes! There is something about sharing a dream out loud that makes you realize it is real, that it’s in your heart because God put it there.
Once I realized God was asking me to write a book, there was the problem of coming up with a topic. So, I thought about that for probably another year (you can see why it was such a slow process). When I heard a radio announcer ask the question, “If you, as your younger self, could offer one piece of advice to the person you are today, knowing what you now know, what would that advice be?” My gut response was, “Back Away from the Cookies!” But then, as I thought about it, I knew there were other, possibly more intellectual things that I would tell myself. And from there, the book was born. Let’s just say it was a preemie and spent months and months and MONTHS in the newborn book ICU.
Over the past ten years, I would write like mad for a few months, then tell myself that writing a book was stupid. Maybe it wasn’t my dream or something God wanted me to do. Then, someone with whom I’d shared my vision would say, “How’s your book coming along?” Oh rats, I forgot I’d told people. (Advice NOT in my book – if you have a dream you know is from God—share it with a few friends. They will hold you accountable. If you don’t want to be harassed—I mean held accountable—don’t tell another living soul. Your dream will probably die a slow death inside your heart, but at least you won’t feel like a failure every time someone asks you how it’s going.) So, when people asked, I’d sigh and say, “not well,” but then I’d find the file on my computer and start writing again. Eventually, I had a finished rough draft. That’s when things got real.
After months of agonizing over my next step, I sent my book off to a professional editor. When it came back, I opened the envelope and found THOUSANDS of suggested edits. It was overwhelming, so I did what any professional author would do. I set it down on my desk and didn’t touch it for another year. Again, I almost gave up, telling myself writing a book was a dumb idea.
And then one day, when I’d be feeling restless, I’d pray, “Lord, what do you want me to do with my life?” And I’d hear a still, small voice say, “What’s in your hand?” “A cookie?” No, not the cookie. “My book?” “Yes, your book.” “Oh yeah, that.” So, I’d start again. I want to tell you this conversation with God only happened once, but that wouldn’t be the truth.
There’s a chapter in my book titled, “Don’t believe the lies.” I basically wrote it for myself because believing the lies is what kept me from getting this baby out of the newborn book ICU a lot sooner. So, my obedience to God’s direction to write a book was slow and very, very, long. Do I wish I’d finished it sooner? Yes, but I also think that it came out at just the right time. Perhaps God knew that my obedience would be sporadic, and that is why he gave me the assignment so long ago. I just know I’m glad I didn’t quit.
What is God asking you to do? Just start. Who knows where it’ll take you? But, whether your obedience comes in fits and starts, or in one contious movement, just stay on the path He’s laid out for you. Don’t believe any stupid lies.
By the way, if you’d like to get a copy of Back Away From the Cookies please click on this link.