Almost two years ago, I decided I was going to write a book on encouragement. Initially, it was going to be just a brief E-Book, but then…
Then, I started asking for a few folks to contribute their stories–stories of how they went through struggles in life, but somehow made it through. Several people responded, and I had stories that I could include to truly add life to the book!
This meant that the book needed to expand and with several concepts brewing in my head, I knew that I had enough content for a full-length printed book. My goal was (and still is) to make this a unique book by including a lot of paintings, drawings, and illustrations to go with the concepts and stories.
I had a title already picked out for it: Light Arises in the Darkness: How to Go Through Suffering and Experience Incredible Joy. The premise of the book is that in the middle of your biggest trials, fears, disillusionment and devastations, God would meet you in the dark place and pour out His light, love and mercy on you, if you would only seek Him.
I know, because I’ve been there, and experienced it. Maybe you have too! This was a book that I needed to write. Even as an artist, sometimes pictures just aren’t enough to communicate a message that dives down so deep into who you are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I would need at least a hundred pictures to share this message of hope with others.
Words are needed too.
Soon enough, these words flowed out into the keyboard and on my screen, and I had about two chapters done within a couple months. I was feeling good.
Fast forward two years later.
For the longest time, I was sitting with just two chapters in the book! What happened?
Let me be completely transparent here and share with you seven reasons why my book still remains undone:
1. I didn’t feel like I had my outline organized enough.
2. I got so busy with art commissions, teaching classes, marketing, and just life, that I didn’t feel like I could commit to the time necessary to get the book done.
3. Marketing seemed like such a nebulous thing and so the whole project became too daunting.
4. Am I a good enough writer? I was afraid of what people may think–either something they thought that was incorrect, or that it wouldn’t connect with them.
5. I procrastinated on it this long. The people who knew I started the project had to be disappointed that I haven’t finished it yet and so, in my shame, how could I continue?
6. My relationship with God at times is not as close as I’d like it to be, so I thought, who am I to write a book like this?
7. Because this book deals with theological concepts, I was afraid of writing something erroneous, even heretical, and God would be angry with me.
Recently, I was praying, and I asked God if I should write this book. As I had my Bible in front of me just paging through, I read the words, “write the book.” I know this seems strange, but that is how God often speaks to me!
I flipped through a few more pages, and quickly my eyes fell upon the words, “Tell your friends how the Lord has had compassion on you” (And that is the main thrust of the book.)
Then I thought “Well, I’m afraid.” But the Lord showed me the passage “So do not be afraid…”
And again another: “Why are you so afraid?”
Finally: “Where is your faith?”
I really sensed God’s presence and encouragement as I prayed.
The Bible says that plans fail for a lack of counsel. So recently, I asked my pastor what he thought of the idea and if he would pray for God’s blessing on it of it. He said, “It’s not just a good idea, it’s a God-idea.” He was happy to pray with me.
So for that and many other indications when I’ve asked “Lord, is this your will?” I’ve gotten a green light. I shouldn’t have to have God hit me over the head to get me to do this.
Now, let me write eight reasons why the book must get done, in answer to my excuses–and by God’s grace why I’m going to do it.
1. I’ll never have my outline organized enough. But I have many concepts that I’ve written down in my journals, and soon enough, they’ll find a home within the chapters I already have set up. The book can evolve as I write it.
2. I have to just make the time to write. It only takes about 30 minutes to write about 400 words. I can schedule that time every day, and little by little, I’ll chip away at the project until it’s done.
3. I’m a better artist (possibly writer too) than a marketer, but I’ve educated myself on some of the core concepts of marketing. Basically, it involves letting people know about what you’re doing before and while you do it, getting their feedback, letting them be a part of the experience so that they are truly interested once the project is done and launched! Even if I make several mistakes in the logistics part of it, I will have still connected with people on a deeper level, and that will have been worth it!
4. The more I write, the better I’ll get. There will always be room for improvement. However, the goal is not to impress people with my writing. It is to share something that could make an eternal difference in their lives. Even just one word is able to do that. And since I plan on including scripture verses into my text, I know for sure, that has power to change lives.
5. It’s time to close to door on shame. For those of you who knew about this book idea when I first started writing (and especially if you took the time to share a story with me), please forgive me for how long this has taken to write! I thank God that I still have hands to type with, and as long as I do, I’ll use them to glorify God.
6. My relationship with God–and all of ours–will have its ups and downs, but I’m trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, that He has brought me near to God the Father. If God wants me to write this book–then He will enable me to do it well.
7. God showed me that I don’t need to be afraid of writing erroneous things. Now, I don’t want to swing to the other side, and be prideful or careless with my words, but God can keep me in the clear. Only the Bible is inerrant. I may write some things that are not completely correct, or fail to convey an idea properly, but God can keep me from distorting essential doctrines or theological concepts.
8. People took the time to write to me and share their deepest struggles, and it would be wrong to not share those things with others who could identify with them and use the encouragement.
And then finally, I need to write it because I believe God wants me to. And doing His will is the most important thing!
So, the book is on! I’ve already started a habit of writing a little each day on it again, and so far, I’ve been pretty consistent. Occasionally I miss a day or two, but I get back on the saddle and keep going! So far, I’ve written over 25,000 words! 🙂
As I work on the book, I’m going to post segments of it here on my blog, and send you updates as I go along.
Eventually the goal is to have it printed up, possibly in full color, with several of my paintings, drawings, and illustrations interspersed to bring the words alive.
I want to encourage people. In this world, we need as much of it as possible.
Have a blessed day,
If you like this post, please share it with others. And feel free to comment below. Thanks!
P.S. Would you be interested in receiving updates on the book as it’s written (2-3 times a week)? Click here and I’ll send you excerpts of the book as it’s written, before it’s published. I welcome any of your feedback on it…truthfully, it would be much appreciated and very helpful. 🙂
"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."
"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo
One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!
Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!