I’ve worked a lot on my current manuscript lately, and I have to say it’s been a personal challenge. I’m writing about cosmetic surgery from a Christian perspective. The topic is personal for me, since I had an elective cosmetic surgery several years ago. I’ve wanted to write a book on the topic for a long time, but I just wasn’t ready emotionally to dig deep. Last year, I finally felt ready, I started writing and completed a huge chunk of the draft.
Then I hit a slump. With only three chapters left to write, I felt as if I didn’t want to dig deep any more. One of the chapters was what I’d consider the most important chapter of the book: how cosmetic surgery impacts family relationships. This chapter is a challenge for me in so many ways. It’s difficult because #1, I’m limited to write only from my perspective (I am not writing from my family member’s perspectives). #2, I’m protecting the confidentiality of other people whose choices have made an impact on my choices, #3 I still have some internal confusion and pain to work through.
So I stopped writing. I stopped doing the difficult work. I left the manuscript alone for months.
Yet there it was gnawing at me. I wasn’t getting any better ignoring it. I wasn’t working on the confusion and pain by pretending it isn’t there. I can’t run from my last chapter forever. So I finally started working on it again. Last week I spent a full two days working on two chapters. I finished one of the chapters pretty quickly, but that chapter about the impact of cosmetic surgery on family members . . . I wrote five pages and felt so overwhelmed by the greatness of the topic, I just had to stop.
So it’s been about a week and I haven’t touched it. And my brain has stayed on high-anxiety since I stopped working on it.
I talked to one of the authors I’m working with about the book and the chapter. We had been talking about his book and working on it for a while. But I needed to talk, and thankfully he listened. One thing he said really stands out to me, and that is that my book doesn’t have to cover everything. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive on the topic. It’s just a little piece of the big picture. One piece of the puzzle. It’s just a resource to open the door for discussion on the topic. It’s not the end all.
Just hearing him say that eased my anxiety a bit. Sure, people will read my book and they may have thoughts and ideas sprout in their own lives because of it, but my book is not the end all. It is not the source of all clarity.
In the Christian world, the topic of cosmetic surgery is controversial. I’ve encountered a few people who feel defensive over their surgeries and are unsure about what I’m going to write about it. It’s a topic almost no one in churches are talking about at all. That’s why I have to write about it. Maybe my book will spur some discussions, and maybe those of us who have had cosmetic surgery won’t feel so isolated and shamed over it.
One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in this past week is the picture of who I am writing for. I’m writing for sisters, daughters, mothers and friends. I want to offer my story and my research as a sister, daughter, mother and friend. In the process, I’m pouring out my life into the book. It’s painful at times, but I know if I can complete this book, and if the Lord is given full reign over it, and if His anointing is on it, only then will He be able to impact lives through the work.
We never know what will come of the work we strive to do for God. I am facing the same fear, frustration and doubt that you might face when you stand up to preach or sing in front of a crowd. My book will be going out to the world. I feel vulnerable. What will God do with my offering?
Like other ministers, I have to say that if my book touches one life and brings that one life closer to Jesus, then it is worth it all. Even if I face rejection and defensiveness, and conflict and controversy, I know if I put the Lord first and allow Him to fight my battles, He will bring good out of it all. And that is what I want. I want God to take my life and use it for His glory. I want yesterday’s selfishness to become today and tomorrow’s gift to God.
At the altar, on my knees is where I have to be when I write. It’s there that He begins to whisper into my heart the words He wants me to write. And I find myself kneeling at the cross of Christ, offering my life, my book, for His service.
Please pray for me as I write. I want the words I write to bring God glory. I will take my writing to the leadership God has placed in my life and ask their opinion. I will re-write and write until the books is ready, a nurturing and nourishing meal for my sisters, daughters, mothers and friends.