Misadventures of a Control Freak


It’s the last day of November. Only a few more wakeups and we can put 2016 behind us. My thoughts on this flip back and forth between ‘ecstatic’ and ‘so-not-fair’.

A low level of anxiety hums through my daily life. Occasionally it crests, threatening to erupt into hysterics that would give most toddlers a run for their money.

Warning. Warning. Full meltdown mode imminent. Evasive maneuvers recommended.

Can’t somebody just tell me that this is all going to work out for my good?

It’s the Advent season. A time of quiet expectation and reflection on the humble birth of our Savior, which transitions right into a new year packed full of more expectations and boundless optimism…

But wait. 

My heart cries out.

2016 didn’t go at all like I planned. What about me? What about my expectations? Where is the joy in all of this mess?

I’ve mentally composed the beginning of a letter to send with our Christmas cards.

Season’s Greetings, we hated this year. Can’t wait for it to be over. May you find joy and peace. Here’s a cute picture of us with our new puppy. XOXO.

Not exactly the hope-filled missive most of our friends and family want to read.

Then yesterday happened. My literary agent called with fantastic news. A story I’ve written, re-written, and re-re-written will probably, finally, most likely become a real book. As in a paperback that’s for sale in actual stores. I still can’t believe it. It isn’t just the culmination of hard work and not a little crying, but also a sliver of hope.

For the last several days, I have bent God’s ear, multiple times a day, asking for Him to intervene. To show me some tiny sign that my labor is not in vane. That I will see a tangible reward for my faithfulness to His calling. Please, please, let this dream come true for me.

Prove to me that my stories do matter.

All of a sudden, with one phone call, it was lights out for my one-woman pity party.

As my grandmother, used to say, isn’t life funny? Our whole perspective can change with one piece of good news.

I woke up before the alarm rang today. I’m not a morning person. Even more rarely do I wake up early with deep thoughts weighing heavy on my heart. In reality, it’s more about stumbling downstairs in search of coffee. Coffee, step aside, I need coffee … yes, I’ll pack your lunch … did, I mention I need coffee?

Expecting to relive yesterday’s mountain top experience of getting what we in this business refer to as THE CALL, I was surprised when tears stung my eyes in the midst of building another PB & J sandwich.

Wait. You just got the kind of news every writer hopes to hear. What in the world is wrong with you?

Here’s the thing. I think my stubborn, hard-headed, often-wearing-blinders self is starting to get it: I’m not in charge.

Well, duh, you say. But it’s sooo true. Like the quote I posted above says, the creative life requires faith and faith requires that we relinquish control. 

A difficult and painful lesson for this control freak to have to learn. Repeatedly.

So back to the tears in the sandwich early this morning: it’s equal parts humility and gratitude, leaking out of my eyes and spilling down my cheeks. I gave up the need to control the trajectory of this particular fictional story. While I believe in it and its future success with all of my heart, and my efforts in crafting it were 110%, once I submitted it to the editors, the process is out of my hands. The desire to see it become a novel is strong and the long wait to acceptance was a hard and painful journey, the lessons I’ve learned along the way are invaluable.

These lessons translate into my non-writing life, as well. No, 2016 hasn’t gone at all like I planned. It’s gone the way that HE, our sovereign God, planned.

Friends, this is so much more about one writer’s story being offered a publishing contract. God heard my prayers  and sustained me through a desert season. In His perfect timing, He answered. He showed up in a big way.

Hallelujah and Amen.




  1. Janet Ferguson:

    I’m so excited for and proud of you!!
    Hugs, prayers, and blessings


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