What’s it like when the books arrive?

Terrifying.

That’s what it feels like when my allotment of soon-to-be-released books arrive from the publisher.

I can barely bring myself to cut through the packing tape and pull open the flap, because I know too well what’s underneath the crinkled packing paper.

While some see an accomplishment–and all glory to Him, that it is–I see doubt. Revisions. More doubt. Excitement over a sentence I *think* I might’ve actually written well. Mortification over a sentence that follows that I should’ve written differently. Exhaustion. Glee. Writer’s block. Relief. Not one, but two near-complete re-writes. A roller coaster of years of work all packed up in a little brown box.

It brings to mind the story of the boy in the Bible with the loaves and fishes.

I bet his stomach rumbled as He approached Jesus, terrified to let go of what was perhaps his only chance at a meal for the day. I bet he felt so awkward as the crowd stared and perhaps sneered as he approached the great Teacher. The child’s face must have flushed with the heat of inadequacy and even shame at the pitiful offering held out with hands shaky…dirt caked under fingernails from foraging for bait or from a morning of play…to Jesus.

That’s what it feels like to me when the books arrive.

I don’t know what God will do with my words. Inevitably some folks won’t like the bread and fish I bring. There’s really no telling how many will be nourished by the story I did my best to tell.

All I can do today…indeed every day…is to place the little brown bag in His hands and walk away, leaving the rest to Him.

*****

What about you, friend? Have you ever released something and been terrified of what would happen afterwards? Maybe you’ve released a job, a career, a child, a loved one, or your own artwork. How does/did that make you feel?

*****

“One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” John 6:8-9 (TMV)

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