A Squeaky Wheel Comes Clean

5e70838bc3fad26d74d93640595a9761 It's strangely easy to be brave when nobody expects you to be. You are the deus ex machina, sweeping in and rescuing with your words, your actions, your bravado. But then the standing ovation comes and who can take a bow without feeling awkward and out of place?

Maybe you've noticed, or maybe you haven't, but it's been a little quiet around here. Or rather, it's been a little less than deep around here.

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Here's what happened: a year ago this month I started working on a book and when you start writing a book people in the know start talking about your platform and your reach and whether there will be a market for your words. So instead of scribbling your words on scraps of paper and in the margins of life, crafting sentences while you drive and wait and walk, you instead start working on an author's lifeline: readers.

Did you know that the real worth of an author's work is not in her bound or published words? It's in how many people read those bound and published words. No one wants to say that of course, except the publishers when they're squabbling over whose mark will be on the binding. Everyone else still wants to talk about your words and how they are needed and unusual and pretty and pithy and such. But deep down you suspect the real worth of your words is what someone will pay for them.

Sometimes they will pay for them with their emotions and sometimes their pennies, but pay for them, they will.

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A few someones have told me I am courageous and I look down at my person: can't they see this? This frail and fearful lot? Can't they see that whatever worth I have is not what I can do but Whose I am? I can put on a show, but the Author is the Finisher and the Principal Player.

I am studying Romans 6:13 this week, "Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." The chapter is about sin and how we, like Christ, have died to sin—but what is sin if not the full spectrum of brokenness touching our every part? Hear me when I say I struggle to say fear is a sin, but whatever does not proceed from faith is sin, and fear is the lack of faith. See?

A year ago I took what had previously proceeded from faith and continued the work in fear: would I ever measure up? Would anyone important ever read me? What constituted success? Would I know it when it came? Would anyone care about a book if I even wrote it?

And now here I am, people expecting me to be brave and confident, to have the words and the theology and the answers, and the truth is, dear readers, I spent more time presenting myself to you than to God this year. Or at least more energy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraged. I can trust He is actually the God in the Machine and I am simply a gear or a bolt, or more likely a squeaky wheel or rusty washer, and we can move on from here (hopefully). I am not brave and I am not strong and I am not whatever good thing you think I am.

I'm just one person with words inside of me about a God I love and Who loves me and that's the only story I have to tell.

And for His glory I want to tell it well.