If You Were Loved this Much, What Could You Surrender?
I don’t contribute to criticism of other authors or their works or beliefs. I used to, some, but now, I have my reasons.
For one thing, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. Especially when I am writing. One of my greatest fears when composing, is even the slightest inkling that I might take something from someone else’s heart and head, and somehow make it my own.
I have sat with a victim of plagiarism. It is atrocious.
Second in my reasoning, I have come to a place in my life where I know, I can wholeheartedly disagree with someone, and still call them friend. And finally, I don’t need the roar of the internet beasts telling me how wrong I am for saying someone else is wrong.
But on a long drive home from my Marine Baby’s wedding, I caved. I decided to listen to one of the most popular books in the Christian market. And no, it wasn’t mine. Mine, despite my dream boards, positivity, creativity, authenticity, snark, and freedom, mine hasn’t broken any records.
After listening to it, I was still somewhat endeared to the author. But I confess, I pulled over twice, wait, three times, to weep. Not for the wisdom, but for the anguish.
Well, I did dream big. And it didn’t work out.
I did believe and take control… and no, still, this is not what I had hoped to harness.
I had a couple of things in common with the author. We both own computers, we are both female, and I too pee my pants if I sneeze, jump, or LOL. Sure, some days I wish I had a nanny. If I did, it would be easier to answer the question I and many other authors are asked, “How do you do it all?”
My answer is always pretty disappointing, I am sure.
I don’t do it all.
This is my greatest confession to date, I pretend to be my own assistant.
Originally, my daughter was going to be my assistant. So if you email, firstname.lastname@example.org, you might assume Maggie will answer. But, since her small embroidery business took off, she only answers if I remember to sign her name instead of mine.
I always forget. Yes, I need an assistant, badly. First on my imaginary assistant’s list of things to do, remind me to answer that email address with Maggie, not Jami.
Second, go out for coffee and pedicures.
And, this is probably why I cannot have an assistant. I love the women I encounter, I want to spoil them lavishly, not make them fetch my coffee or answer my emails.
Which is another one of my most common message introductions, “you probably don’t even read these but I wanted to say…”
Nope, I read them. It really is me.
Here in the trenches, there is peanut butter and jelly on my left boob. I forgot that it was game day at my son’s school, he was crushed that I forgot to send his chess set. I probably won’t get over this anytime soon. He’s already forgotten, however I believe he also reserved the right to bring it up in counseling in 12-17 years. I haven’t unpacked from the wedding, I feel like I might not, I mean, maybe I will be traveling again very soon? Someone put all my laundry in the dryer and now… I will have to buy new jeans or lose 15 pounds.
Note to self, buy new jeans. Love, Maggie.
But I am not telling any of this to impress you. And I am not going to go line by line and tell you what was right or wrong with the aforementioned book. I am just going to tell you what I was forced to face after listening to it.
I am not in control.
And, no matter what I want or how hard I have tried, the results are far from typical or untypical. They are uniquely mine.
Recently, in an effort to convince my husband that we should investigate foster care and adoption just one more time, I pleaded with him, “But I just knew we would have another daughter. And, I don’t know how to let go of that Justin. I just knew that is what God had in mind for us.”
His answer left me breathless.
“We did, we had a beautiful little girl. Jami, we don’t get to raise her. She is home now with her birth mother. But she was our daughter, she will always be our daughter.”
And at one point, on Highway 6 South, as I heaved my heartache at the mention of believing in my control, that no means try something else, I met with surrender.
Forty miles before, when I heard the same thing, in relation to book publishing and mega sales, I had met with the identical conclusion.
And in the face of a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on girl!” society, I, Jami Amerine, aka Maggie, give up.
No, not entirely. But to cease striving in the sense of “IF YOU CAN DREAM IT YOU CAN BE IT!”
I surrender.And in the face of a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on girl!” society, I give up. #surrender Click To Tweet
Surrender comes with comfort and devastation.
The devastation part has many different levels. Fear often accompanies it. The fear of the unknown, looking like a quiter, or never making it to the finish line. It is also steeped in loss. And while I can testify, sometimes the loss was worth the ride, it still leaves an empty place in need of healing.
The comfort comes in waves. But foremost is the relief I feel knowing, it isn’t all about me. It isn’t about what I can or can’t do… it is all about how my God restores.
And as the chapters concluded and I was left with only my thoughts, failures, losses, wins, and half-hearted attempts, my last good cry was in a Sonic parking lot.
Thy will be done.
Your grace is sufficient.
I beg you to toil with this, I believe there are no good or bad books or authors, there is only the reader’s’ perception, growth, and discernment in the information they glean from someone else’s work.
I sat at Sonic for a while, recounting and replaying what I had heard. And I don’t want to be championed or ostracized for my takeaway. For me, I was motivated to surrender. While you, you might be driven to believe bigger or try something new. The end result was the same, motivation.
In blogging, there is an opportunity to increase your numbers with political rants and civil unrest, to disembowel something popular with ideals that 10,000 will champion and 100,000 will feed on the carnage of. But, I didn’t write any of this to do either.
Perhaps I did it to simply confess, I am glad I read it.
I learned something about myself and my beliefs. And, I know what is for me, and what is not. Truly, we all are on a journey, one size does not fit all. Some have it easier, some have it much, much harder. And some of us LOVE things, while others despise them.
But in what was perfect timing for me, I got a notice about a picture from my son’s wedding. John and his bride had just been declared husband and wife by the officiant, the bride’s daddy. Anne is the baby of the family, the youngest of seven.
Her father’s words were earth shattering and life changing. You and I have both probably met with such words. And as the couple turned from him, someone caught his surrender. Letting go of that which was his, giving away what he adored, for something new.
Completely out of his control and yet, obedient and frankly, inevitable.
That is what I am able to do. I can do that. Sometimes it may not look like I had hoped, but I am adored. I believe in a God who loved me unto His brutal death. He knows the plans He has for me… and you.
In this, I find much hope and comfort.
I surrender to my God and the plans He has for me. If and when I stumble or fail, I believe He will restore. Greater, His efforts, not mine, get all the glory. And this is huge, bigger than book sales or pounds lost, fears conquered. He wins.
And now, I am going to wash my face.
Jesus be all over you. Love, Jami
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Read Rebecca’s post