Have you ever found yourself right in the middle of a thing you signed up for and realize you really don’t know what you’re doing?
I’m pretty much there. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s how I’ve felt since the very first days of conversation about writing a book began. I’ve never written a book. I’ve never illustrated a book. I’ve never marketed a book. I’ve never been interviewed about a book. So I guess it makes a lot of sense that I don’t know what I’m doing 🙂
But here’s what I’m finding: even though I don’t know what I’m doing, I know I’m doing the right thing. Does that make sense?
Maybe it’s like those early days of motherhood. You don’t really know how to hold your baby or feed your baby or bathe your baby (they feel so fragile!), but this baby is yours and you are its mother and nothing feels more right than holding her close and staring at this miracle that came from you. You figure it out as you go, asking for help, watching how your friends and sisters are doing it, learning along the way and giving yourself lots of grace because of course you don’t know what you’re doing! You’ve never done it before!
It’s funny that a motherhood analogy came out because that’s what so many authors liken their books to. You grow it and labor over it for months and months (in my case, nearly 2 years!), and then it finally comes time to hold it up to the world: Look what I made! I’m so proud of this thing! I want you to love it and be moved by it and cherish it and smile every time you see it on your shelf!
It’s a weird feeling. A vulnerable feeling. A little bit anxiety-inducing, if I’m being completely honest.
Your new-to-you thing might not be launching a book, but I’m guessing there’s something you’re doing that you don’t quite know how to do. Here’s how I think we can do it well:
1. Remember that if this is what you are called to do in this season, you will have everything you need to do it (Philippians 4:13)
2. Ask for help
3. Look at how others are doing it to see what you can learn from them (apply what works, let everything else go – this is not a competition!)
4. Give yourself grace
5. Have fun
I once had a teacher tell me, “Emily, lighten up.” It stung. But he was so right. I tend to take things a little too seriously. Perhaps you do too.
Maybe today, we take a deep breath, offer gratitude for the good things we’ve been asked to do, remembering that they are just things we do, not who we are. And then keep going.
Carry on, my friend. We can do this.