On Wednesday of last week I made a big announcement – I announced that my book, Between Worlds, was coming out on July 1. I excitedly wrote the post, I received comments and emails and affirmation. I received so much more than I anticipated.
And on Friday I found out that the release will be delayed. Truth is, I’ve been given no actual date. And suddenly my identity, so secure in my blog post, took a beating. The ‘what ifs’ began and they attacked with venom. “What if it doesn’t come out this summer?” “What if people lose interest?” “What if no one buys it?” “What if no one reads it?” “What if no one likes it?”
“Last night, while I lay thinking here, some What ifs crawled inside my ear and pranced and partied all night long and sang their same old ‘What if’ song” says Shel Silverstein in a children’s poem and I remember this poem as I get wounded with the ‘what-ifs.’ “Everything seems well” he says “and then the night-time ‘what ifs’ strike again”
So I try to push away the ‘what ifs’ and I’m again struck by this truth: It is so easy to be defined by what we do, to get caught up in it and lose sight of other, far more important things. We become successful doctors or ministers, lawyers or nurses, professors or plumbers. And all goes along as planned. We meet people and proudly tell them what we do – it is, in the west, integral to who we are. While other parts of the world define themselves by whose they are, by what tribe they belong to, by who their family is, we in the West define ourselves and assign worth based on what we do.
In the western world we are what we do. Or that’s what we think.
And then an unexpected event comes into our life plans and we find ourselves in a world of confusion and loss. Who are we? What is our worth? What gives us value? The reality is we are all so much more than what we do. We are more than our occupations. We are more than our hobbies. We are more than our blogs. We are more than our Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. So much more.
And I am more than this book.
We are spouses and children, moms and dads, friends and colleagues. We are people made in God’s image who want to work, create, write and make a difference. But we get caught up in corporate ladders, pay checks, opinion, people’s reactions and responses, and for the blogger – the number of likes or comments on our posts.
In every occupation, in every vocation there is an underbelly. And the underbelly can pull you down and trap you, keeping you from focusing on your God-ordained purpose.
So here’s the thing: My book isn’t coming out yet. And when it does I will make a big splash, because I love celebrations and I’d like to celebrate with you, but until then deep in my soul I need reminding that I am more than a book, or a blog, or an occupation of any sort.
What about you? Do you need reminding that you are more than what you do? Do you struggle to believe that your inherent worth is as one created in the image of God?
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some What ifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old What if song:
What if I’m dumb in school?
What if they’ve closed the swimming pool?
What if I get beat up?
What if there’s poison in my cup?
What if I start to cry?
What if I get sick and die?
What if I flunk that test?
What if green hair grows on my chest?
What if nobody likes me?
What if a bolt of lightning strikes me?
What if I don’t grow tall?
What if my head starts getting smaller?
What if the fish won’t bite?
What if the wind tears up my kite?
What if they start a war?
What if my parents get divorced?
What if the bus is late?
What if my teeth don’t grow in straight?
What if I tear my pants?
What if I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime What ifs strike again!
What if by Shel Silverstein
Stacy is back and with her – some fig muffins! These look amazing. Stacy says this: “These muffins are made with fig jam and topped with some dried Black Mission figs. Figs remind me of summer and of my grandmothers’ trees and spending time with family in the small Louisiana town where I was born.” Take a look here for the recipe! http://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/2014/06/figgy-jam-muffins.html