I spent a good portion of this weekend working. Editing some early chapters of a new book. A book that is well….all about me. Yes it feels like the second book about me which is awkward right? Who wants to read more about this girl? What is there possibly left to say? I could go on with all of the self-doubts and negative talk, but I won’t. You can just trust that they’re there. (And I do realize I’m writing a post about the insecurities surrounding writing about me. The irony doesn’t escape me.)
Writing a book feels vulnerable. Writing a book about all my stuff feels even more so.
I live in an industry of putting myself out there. Reviewers on Amazon are free to say whatever they want. I post blog entries where people comment about how they disagree with me, or sometimes worse to the ego, don’t comment at all.
One Amazon reviewer gave my first book two stars with the title “unimpressed”. The comment, “Was hard for me to get through it. I thought the ending was very empty and bitter.”
Okay, so there’s that.
But I saw the review had a comment, so I clicked on to read, hopeful someone was defending me. (We all want defenders right? Someone to say she’s worth something.) It was the same reviewer.
“Woops wrong review, wrong book!”
Phew! I kept reading. Ready for the correction to spew awesomeness. She made a mistake. She actually couldn’t put the book down. In fact it was her favorite book of the decade. (If I’m going to hope, I might as well hope big, right?)
“I didn’t care for this book. Meant to give it one star.”
Go ahead, twist that knife already lodged in my chest a little.
It’s not easy, but I’m not a victim. I choose this line of work, or really it has chosen me. Many of these putting myself out there moments are veiled through a computer screen. People likely feel like they can be more (brutally) honest because they are not saying these comments to my face. And well it’s a little easier to take when I will never meet the people who say them. A little.
But what do I mean when I say this work has chosen me? I’ve found myself here in the space of writing, sometimes speaking, often highlighting the ridiculous of my life, for a greater purpose. I want to normalize a woman’s life and let her know God sees her in all of those ridiculous moments. That the details of life matter because, we matter to God and he’s all about details. Some might say this is really a theology of self-absorption to believe God cares about the details of our lives. But I see the importance of details echoed throughout creation.
Take our bodies. As a mother who has grown four children in my belly, I can’t deny the absolute miracles that organs and nervous systems and blood types and fingernails are. They were made from nothing in the darkness of the womb and developed into perfectly balanced systems that work together to make our bodies function. Details matter. Amazing.
Or our planet. I am sitting right now facing a window where I see trees with thousands of leaves and green grass with even more thousands of individual blades and blue sky that stretches for infinity. To have water and sunshine and earth to grow these living things and the details involved to make it all balance and work is beyond me. A gazillion little elements that make up one big ecosystem. One big planet. One big solar system. Details matter. Amazing.
Jesus’ very nature is to care about our details. Throughout the stories of the Gospels we see him ask and comfort and love and defend. He wanted to know about people’s hurts, pain, grief, celebrations and perseverance. He challenged people on their motives, words, actions, intentions. He wasn’t going to let people get away with much and at the same time he offered a wide net of grace. Regardless he paid attention to the details. His nature hasn’t changed. Details matter. Amazing.
Our lives are made up of thousands of specifics giving us a unique space and purpose in the world. Some of these details are not friendly or sweet or lovely but rather harsh and cold and even cruel. And my hope is to convey God sees it all, knows it all, and loves us all in the particulars of our stories.
So why do I put myself in a position to have strangers write reviews on Amazon like, “I don’t know what her problem is, her life wasn’t that bad, she needs to get over it”? Because for every critic, there is someone who says they feel known and heard by my words. The risk is worth it to me. And the truth is the stories about me aren’t intended to be about me. They are meant to be reflections of a bigger truth. A truth that loves and forgives and offers new beginning after new beginning.
The hard reality of stepping into the space God has offered me and putting myself out there is that there will be negative. But that’s ok. Bring it! Because I want you to know the details of your life matter.
Details matter. Amazing.