Right after I received the incredible news earlier this week that my Too Blessed to be Stressed series has just exceeded 1.5 million copies sold (THANK YOU, JESUS!!!), I ran across this awesome little piece I wrote back in 2008 for the combination devo/how-to I co-wrote with now-bestselling author many times over, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers.
It was especially meaningful to me after receiving the astounding news that Papa God had indeed accomplished what was truly
ALL that I had ever asked or imagined, according to His power at work in me (Eph 3:20-21) via the Too Blessed to be Stressed books.
Something I certainly never envisioned, as you can see from my perspective in this piece, written at the very beginning of my writing career in 2008, well before my first Too Blessed book was even conceived. Well, maybe it was conceived but it wasn’t even close to being birthed until 2011 (it’s predecessor, Mom NEEDS Chocolate, my very first effort at women’s inspirational humor, was the book I was referring to in this writing).
I’m sharing this with you, my dearest BFF (Blessed Friend Forever) so that your most intensely personal hope – the one that may have seemed entirely smothered in recent times – will resurrect in your heart and spark the embers of your intimate trust in Papa God’s promises. Even the promises that have dimmed in your eyes due to disappointment and setbacks, disillusionment and loss.
But wow … Papa God is true to His Word even when we can’t see proof of that in the temporary. In the eternal, He is STILL our ONE unchanging source of hope in the midst of a lifetime of unbidden changes. (I would love it if you’d take out your Bible and look over Ephesians 3:20-21 word by word before you read this story.)
I’m whispering a little prayer for you right now, my friend.
Who’s Your Daddy?
I was standing in the grocery store deli line waiting to place my order for a half-pound each of smoked turkey and baby Swiss. I read all the signs on the counter. Twice. This sure was taking for-ev-er.
After babbling incoherently to the baby in the stroller beside me, I counted floor tiles. I studied the designer outfit and three inch stiletto heels of the lady in front of me and convinced myself that she was probably coveting my jeans and flops about now.
Right there, wedged between King James and Billy Graham, was a book amazingly similar to the one I’d just written – identical theme, near-same title, word length within ten pages, same publisher I’d just been rejected by (guess that’s why!) and as I flipped to the acknowledgments, I found that the author and I even shared the same agent.
Only she’d sold 30,000 copies and I had yet to receive an email reply.
There seemed to be something smelly in the deli besides the Limburger.
When I got home with my lunchmeat and book du jour, I began digging for clues. It became painfully clear to me that King Solomon was right: there are no new ideas under the sun. The author and I apparently shared many of the same viewpoints, and she beat me to the punch in writing them down.
But surely my book was just as good! Wasn’t it?
As I devoured the first three chapters with the goal of comparing books, a hot poker stabbed my pride. Hers was better. Her word pictures were sharper, anecdotes funnier, and take-aways more succinct.
Dark tentacles of inferiority began creeping upward from their deeply buried casket within my innards. No! No, I will not allow Satan to paralyze me with self-doubt again!
I thought I had learned that lesson after a recent struggling with writing insecurity that stifled all creativity and effectively halted production. Some call it writer’s block. I call it spiritual gridlock.
As I sat glued to my chair waiting for Papa God’s miraculous lightning bolt of intervention, a still, small thought implanted itself in my frantic brain. At first I wasn’t sure if I was rehashing song lyrics I’d recently heard from my teenager’s radio or if it was a communication wave from a higher tower. The message was simple, but profound.
“Who’s your Daddy?”
“Um … are you talking to me, Lord?”
“Who’s your Daddy?”
My first response was concrete. “My dad is Frank Mitchell, of course – the gentle, godly man who is always there for me, who understands me and loves me unconditionally. The benevolent provider who takes care of his little girl.”
“But who’s your Daddy? “
“Oh. Why, Lord – you’re my heavenly Father, my Abba, my spiritual Daddy.”
And suddenly I got it. All those attributes that belonged to my earthly father applied even more to my heavenly Father. He will always be there for me, understand me, and love me unconditionally. He will provide for me in ways I cannot comprehend.
Who am I trying to please, anyway?
As I pulled my heavenly Daddy’s warm, snug blanket of security around me, I felt my inner turmoil relax. God gave me my talents and abilities. He made me just the way I am, knowing precisely how He would use my writing gift to best glorify Him.
If I’m not “good enough” in someone else’s eyes – or heaven forbid, in my own eyes – it’s my creator’s responsibility, not mine. My job is only to do the best I can with what I’ve been allocated by my heavenly Father. The rest is up to Him.
And the same goes for you, dear friend.
Papa God taught us everything we know about His will for us through avenues of formal education, experience, and aptitude. Now it’s up to us to continue learning and improving. He even fabricated our hearts – that mysterious motivational place within us that drives us to share His joy, His work in our lives, His hope with others.
If we view ourselves through our heavenly Father’s eyes, the pressure of being “good enough” is lifted. Our Father will be blessed and proud of our accomplishment on any level. And we’ll truly know who our Daddy is!
“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are” (Matthew 6:26 NLT).
Prayer: Abba, Father (Heavenly Daddy), help us to remember that You are the One we’re trying to please and that the journey to accomplishment is part of Your gift to us. Amen.
*One last thing, dear BFF – I’ll be celebrating my 1.5 million books milestone with a terrific giveaway! Look for the details in my newsletter that will be coming out very, very soon! (If you don’t already receive my e-newsletter, subscribe in the box on your right!) HUGS to you!