I haven’t written a proper blog post in nearly a year. To be sure, there has been plenty of writing around here. Thousands and thousands and thousands of words between writing my book and crafting those Instagram anecdotes. But I haven’t been here, in this specific space. And I felt it heavy and strong this morning – it’s time to blow the dust off. And to tell you about my dare to overthrow.
I sat down in a local coffee shop three days before the new year began, unpacking my bag of must-have coffee shop items: laptop (that I didn’t use), Bible and journal (that I did use), and my Lara Casey PowerSheets (that I just barely started scratching the surface on). Jordan was home with a babysitter, and I was settling in for a carved-out, intentional, (and pre-paid) three-hour quiet time.
My manuscript was sent off in October, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Have I said that out loud yet? The first round of editing went flawlessly. I had prepared myself for days and days of editing. I have friends in the book-writing-world who have shared their editing process on social media, scrolling through endless notes that amount to hours of revisions and tweaking and better-explaining and clarifying.
“You basically re-write your book,” they had said about the editing process. And I prepared myself for that. But when those first edits came back, it was minimal. It took me an hour, tops, to complete them (and most of that was trying to figure out what to put in my biography). I chalk it up to the fact that living our story was hard enough. It was His mercy that I didn’t have to re-live it for weeks in the re-writing process.
To be fair, I’m not out of the editing phase yet. My beloved book-babe has been in the hands of the senior editor for a couple of weeks, so there is still one more round ahead of me (insert all the prayer hands!)
As I wait for those, I’m getting to the part of the book-writing-process that I’ve dreaded. The part that makes my insides turn upside down with anxiety and fear and I-cannot-measure-up, wide-open-cry-mouth emoji faces. Which is what brought me to that coffee shop a handful of weeks ago. And this is the honest heart-truth that started my conversation with God that morning:
Thinking of creating a marketing plan for this book is intimidating, I wrote. I feel entirely cynical that any of my plans will ever work out. Because any marketing efforts I’ve ever attempted in the past have always flopped. Always. I can go through a tried-and-true formula to the letter and hear crickets chirping. Loudly. For days. Everything I have done has always happened accidentally or, I suppose, sovereignly. LORD, I know how to rest in Your sovereignty. I’ve learned over the years to just take my hands off and trust You with my business. But this book is different. I have to have a marketing plan. Have to. And if it fails, the book fails.
And then something funny happened. While I kept scribbling and reminding myself of all the things that have led up to this moment and just how specifically God had brought it all together, I was also listening to some music on my phone. Elevation Worship’s Here as in Heaven was playing. And I was mixing the lyrics in with my own praying-words, when it came to one particular part of the song:
Overflow in this place
Fill our hearts with Your love
Your love surround us
You’re the reason we came
To encounter your love
Your love surround us
Here’s the kicker. And it’s always the kicker for me when the Spirit of God begins to speak to me – I wrote down the wrong word. Instead of overflow in this place, I wrote overthrow in this place. And I underlined it twice before realizing a couple of minutes later that it was the “wrong” word. “Huh,” I thought. And then I quickly moved along to the verse that I’ve prayed over my business for nearly a decade now. It was one of those quiet-time-mornings – the kind where the Spirit-words are fast-moving and there’s no time to stop and check things.
The kind where it all comes together in the end.
“Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”
I know the words inside out and backwards. They have been the blanket over my business from practically the beginning. But this time when I went to read it anew in my Bible, I started reading one verse earlier. And I realized for the first time that the key to verse 17 is really found in verse 16. You guys, it’s so good. I posted about it all in my Instagram story, and saved it as a highlight – just go to my account on your phone and tap on “The Musings.” to hear it.
When I finished digging through Psalm 90:16-17, I paused for a moment. To think about where to go next in my carved-out-babysitter time with God. And I still couldn’t shake that accidental, underlined-twice-word. Overthrow.
So I did a quick Bible word search for the word, scanning through the verses that came up until my eyes rested on a verse in Acts and Spirit-chills covered my body in the “that’s it right there” kind of whisper-revelation-way that He has.
“… if this plan or this work is of mean, it will come to nothing. But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it.”
(Acts 5:38-39 parts, emphasis mine)
Deep breath in.
And then, I stepped into the Greek and let His river of meaning flow around me: You cannot have the power, whether by virtue of your own ability and resources or through any other circumstances, to deprive it of success.
Deep breath out.
Provebrs 27:25 was one of the verses referenced in the Psalm 90:16 digging into His work that appears (seriously – you need to go watch those snippets!). And Jamison, Fausset, & Brown pushes the point home, continuing the Proverbs-27 conversation:
Providential arrangements furnish the means of competence to those who properly use them.
In other words, God’s divine foresight to pre-arrange His plan literally supplies you with the ability to accomplish it. You just have to do it. But that’s the hardest part of all, isn’t it? We can have these holy-wow, jaw-on-the-floor, “surely the presence of God is in this place!” moments of divine inspiration and Spirit-motivation and walk away with pages full of notes and ideas and dreams. But actually stepping out and implementing them? It can be even more terrifying than coming up with them in the first place!
I sat down that morning and stared down a weakness in my business-brain-makeup. Let’s be honest: I hate marketing myself. And God met me right there at that table-for-two and took my face in His hands and explained our parts in this book-launch-dance: He’ll reveal the tender grass. I just need to harvest it and use it.
Even as I write this, I wonder about really publishing it. The vulnerability and fear of failure flies right in the face of the “I’ve got it all together” facade of the social media world. If I had it my way, I’d just let this manuscript float out there and trust God completely with carrying it where He wishes. My hands off of it completely. But I have a publisher and marketing meetings and goals to present and an action plan to create to meet those goals. And I swallow down the slight-stomach-twist of anxiety. And look again at the foundation He just laid out for me:
That He is in full control of all of this. And that no matter how hard I try to sell it (or how much I avoid trying), my failed efforts (or fear of them) cannot overthrow the success of this book. And that is a promise that I can rest in.
So I took the mix of Psalm 90:16, Proverbs 27:25, and Acts 5:38-39 and turned it all into prayer: So, LORD, I wrote after scribbling down the accidental-overthrow-meaning, “I pray that You would brush off the hay and the straw and the chaff for me this morning to reveal the Proverbs-27:25-tender-grass beneath. The little sprouts that will make this book literally shoot forth. And give me the diligence and the bravery to pick them up. And to step out. And to use them. Because if they are of You, LORD, nothing can overthrow them.”
* * *
I’ll be periodically posting here throughout the rest of the book-release process, including more of the background on the overthrow word that God gave me for this year, and also with ways that you can be part of launching this book with me! Make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter to receive all posts to your email and be the first to know about how to be a part of it!
I cannot wait for your book to be published & released! God has given you an incredible gift in writing, Jane. He also has been incredibly faithful in your story. I know from your blog & Instagram posts that you are obedient to His calling. His honor & glory continue to be seen & heard through you. Can’t wait to see His &’your collaboration in your book.
Praying for the process to continue to go well until it is officially published.
I have missed your blog posts so was delighted to see this one resting in my inbox this morning. I am so thankful you wrote these honest words, as I needed this reminder myself today. I will be praying for you as you take these next steps forward and that God will continue to remind you what success in His world really means…and that is obedience. You have been faithful and obedient to His assignment on your life, therefore victory is already won! I can’t wait to read your words.
Oh my… as I read your post I felt as if I was there sitting with you as you unfolded these awesome God moments! So looking forward to your book! May He continue to pour out upon you!! Kay B.