When I received word that B&H had agreed to publish the book I’m working on I was in Ethiopia with my sister-in-law, meeting my precious niece. I avoided thinking about the book and the work to be done for as long as possible. Then after I returned to Nashville I listened to this message from the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, in which Jenny Salt spoke on Paul’s humility in 2 Cor. 12 and shared a quote from George Whitefield that I haven’t stopped thinking about since.
See, the book manuscript is due in 19 days. Up until now I haven’t had time to think much about marketing and promotion and critics and all the “other stuff” that comes along with publishing a book. Just writing the book has been more than enough to occupy my thoughts and prayers. But now that I’m wrapping things up, I’m starting to struggle with my fears.
What if (insert popular book reviewer) doesn’t like it?
What if I get it wrong?
What if no one reads it?
And then, even worse, are these fears:
What if critics do like it?
What if lots of people read it?
I know myself. I know my heart and my pride and my hunger for the praise of man.
Shortly after his conversion, George Whitefield prayed these words:
O Heavenly Father, for Thy dear Son’s sake, keep me from climbing. Let me hate preferment. For Thine infinite mercies’ sake, let me love a low contemptible life, and never think to compound matters between the happiness of this world and the next.
Later as he became more famous for his evangelism and preaching he wrote the following:
The tide of popularity began to run very high. In a short time I could no longer walk on foot as usual, but was constrained to go in a coach from place to place, to avoid the hosannas of the multitude. They grew quite extravagant in their applauses, and had it not been for my compassionate High Priest, popularity would have destroyed me. I used to plead with Him to take me by the hand and lead me unhurt through this fiery furnace. He heard my request and gave me to see the vanity of all commendations but His own.
This may all be moot. The book may not be read, the critics may not like it and that will be okay. Or maybe they will and it will be read.
Rather than praying for God to take away the commendation (which would be fine), I pray He would change my value system. May he “give me to see the vanity of all commendations but His own.”
May He use my life for His own glory, may I proclaim Christ and may I desire only His exaltation.
Sometimes the best way to defeat pride is just to put it all out there and ask for help. Would you maybe pray the above for me also? Thank you so much.