“Babe, why do I feel like I'm going to puke?”
Studhubs, Moses, and I pulled into the crowded parking lot yesterday and walked towards the front door of Barnes & Noble, my heart pounding faster with each step. This wasn't just the release date of my first book. It was the payoff after twelve years of waiting.
“My worst fear is walking in there and God Loves Ugly not being on the bookshelf.”
For over a decade, I've been paid to help make someone else's dream come true, which has been both an honor and a joy. I've toured with everyone from Michael W. Smith and Jennifer Knapp to Jordin Sparks and the Jonas Brothers, and every night, I performed my little heart out to make sure they looked and sounded the best they could. I partied when their albums released and sat watching as they made movie debuts. I learned a lot about serving, dying to your own agenda, and building others up. But in the process, I also learned about disappointment.
Over and over again, I found myself in the ‘almost' zone. You know that place where you almost reach something you're excited about, but for some reason, you get crushed as the door slams right before you get there? I've known that place very well over the years, watching friends and colleagues attain their hopes and goals while I sat on the sideline cheering them on, learning how to genuinely champion people in the midst of heartache. Well today, every unhealed wound, every insecurity, every fear that, once again, this was going to be an ‘almost moment' rose as a lump in my throat as I walked towards the Barnes & Noble door.
We were immediately tackle-greeted by two of our best friends, Abner and Amanda from the band Johnnyswim. They threw their arms around me and screamed congratulations. And then, they dropped the bomb.
“So, they actually don't have any of your books out here.”
(Cue wrecking ball to the heart hitting me so hard, I felt like the wind got knocked out of me.)
Oh my gosh, Christa. Is this whole book thing going to be another almost in your life? (Ridiculous, I know, just track with me for a sec).
Studhubs walked up to a guy behind the counter just as a woman came up and said, “You know, we need to get those God Loves Ugly books out of the back and do a display. We've had lots of people asking for them and it's the release date.” Studhubs let them know that the author was in the store, and they were so kind that they put up a massive display of my book in prime location….right as you walk in the front door. You can't go into that Barnes & Noble and not see God Loves Ugly.
I might have sighed a deep sigh of relief, but I knew there was a root exposed that needed some extra healing.
You see, this book can't ever be about me. If it is, it loses it's power. It can't be about people liking me or selling heaps of copies. I wasn't the one who led my life to freedom. I'm not the one who continually loves me into more wholeness. I can only point people to the One who did it all, and who continues to do more every day. My fear of disappointment yesterday revealed something in my heart that needs deeper healing–and a place of me that still thinks it's about me.
For me to care about numbers, hits to my site, book sales and best seller lists means I'm caring about the wrong things. It always has to be about the person behind the numbers–are they finding healing, are they experiencing freedom, are they being encouraged and changed. Fear can only exist inside my heart if I continue to make this whole journey about Christa….whether or not you love me and my book. And what a silly, terrible, horrible waste of time.
My life is lived to RECEIVE the love of God and to be so full of that love, that I give it away to everyone I come into contact with. And when you live like that, you have no room for fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of failure. Why? Because perfect love casts out all fear.
Do you get frustrated when you see things coming to the surface in your life that you don't like? Maybe insecurity, fear, anxiety, and jealousy? Instead of getting mad at yourself for your feelings, THANK GOD that they're coming up so they can be removed!
Today wasn't a failure for me. God orchestrated a situation that would bring parts of my heart to the surface–parts that He wanted to heal and remove from my life!
If you have something that you've been condemning yourself for, pray this prayer:
Father, THANK YOU that you put me in the fire of situations where the things inside of my heart rise up. I hand you my _____________ and am so excited that you're healing and removing this from my life. I'm ENCOURAGED by this, and not ashamed. You will do what you say you will do while I live in surrender!
There were a lot of firsts in our lives yesterday, including my son's fist experience with Apples & Mangos. And in order to put a smile on your face (and also because I'm in love with this little guy), here's a little video Studhubs made to brighten your day.