Overwhelmed and Under-Qualified
“Hit send! Hit send!” Michael enthusiastically peered over my shoulder.
On January 9th around 1am, we finished the first draft of Real Men Don’t Text. The flood of emotions of turning in your blood, sweat, and yes, tears, in the form of a 52,000 word document was exhilarating. Was this really happening? Are we really turning in our first book to a REAL editor at a REAL publishing house? We couldn’t stop smiling.
But 12 weeks ago . . .
I was panicking.
After we signed the book deal, it was suddenly like I couldn’t write. I would read over what I’d written the day before and cringe. I started to panic. I bought 12 NYT bestselling relationship books from Amazon, made a writing schedule that commenced each morning at 5am, but honestly felt a little like I fooled everyone. Was I even a good writer? Could we write this book . . . together? I thought about how I didn’t even have the faintest notion of how to write a book. I couldn’t find any how-to book on writing a co-authored relationship book and Michael and I quickly felt like we were in over our heads.
I woke up each morning at 5am to write, and at first all that would happen is I would go on Amazon and read other people’s brilliant words and crawl into a deep hole of insecurity. Then I would write a few sentences, check Facebook, heat up my coffee, write a paragraph, think about all the emails I hadn’t replied to (sorry friends), find the perfect song, and then jolt from the couch because I was still in my pajamas and I have a day job. Not exactly the glamorous writing process I’d imagined.
In between panicking that everyone had made a terrible mistake about me and wanting to crawl in a hole thinking about how vulnerable I needed to be in order to make the book effective, I slowly strung sentences together. I prayed God would show up and pour words through me onto the page.
I would delete whole pages of text, but then write a few poignant sentences and feel victorious.
Sitting there in my chilly living room, I would remember the pain of bad relationships—the moments I felt so forgotten and unlovable—and the words would come.
Slowly, those stubborn words did come out of hiding.
One morning in particular, I felt so underqualified to write a book that I just closed my computer and stopped. Stopped writing, brainstorming, stressing, reading, and outlining. I knew others who’d be trying for years to get the attention of an agent, and I’d only been writing publicly for a little over a year. Did I have what it took? Would our book even sell? I felt God reminding me that while we couldn’t write a life-changing relationship book—He could.
Last week, I was reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (btw giving copies away on Friday!!) and listen to what he said:
“I felt under-qualified and overwhelmed, but that is when God has you right where He wants you. That is how you learn to live in raw dependence – and raw dependence is the raw material out of which God performs His greatest miracles.”
Relief. I was right where God wanted me—because if Real Men Don’t Text becomes a wildly successful bestseller, we won’t be patting ourselves on the back, we’ll be praising the God who made it possible.
If you are someone who reads the Bible, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. God intentionally and consistently calls the most under-qualified (and at times overwhelmed) people to do His work. Maybe it’s because He wants us when we hang our hats on success the only natural response is, “Only God”.
It was never about Michael and my ability. It was always about seeing miracles. Because if you know anything about the publishing industry, we aren’t qualified. Exactly where He wants us?
In what areas of your life do you feel overwhelmed and under-qualified? Could it be that it’s exactly where God wants you?
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