Monday, April 20, 2015

BEING AN AUTHOR. BEING A MISSIONARY.

I’m writing a book. I’m neck deep in copy edits and book cover design questions, and as I try to power through and make it to the book launch, it reminds me that writing a book is hard work.

It’s not always fun. 

There’s a mystique to being a writer that conjures up images of sitting around, drinking coffee, and being creative all day. It sounds freeing and exciting. Until of course you try to sit around and be creative all day, again and again. Then, like most things, writing sounds a lot more like work. 



I've been thinking lately, that preparing a book actually seems to have a lot in common with preparing to be a missionary. There’s excitement, and there’s mystique. Missionaries live in fascinating places and learn new languages. They regale people back home with tales of daring adventures. Preparing to go, you get to put together slide shows with exotic pictures and hand out prayer cards. 

But, there’s also a lot of work. 

David and I have been reading a couple books each month for training purposes and have now attended three conferences in Atlanta. Each week we set aside time to contact new people to talk about the work we will be doing in Cambodia. We write letters, we call in to conferences, and we are working to build a team of financial partners for our ministry. We have been watching movies and documentaries about Cambodia, and we have been creating budgets and researching Cambodian taxes. 

We love it. We believe in it. But, it’s also a lot of work. 

There’s also another element common to both kinds of work. Both kinds of work, the writing kind and the ministry preparation kind, are vulnerable, transformative processes. As you take on big projects and figure them out as you go, you open yourself up to making some mistakes. Learning as you go by definition means that you are doing things you don’t yet know how to do. And, as I share my story, people get to hear, well, my story. As I write about reimagining what it means to be “called” in my book, I share my struggles and some of my weaknesses. As we share about our move to Cambodia and the work we will be doing there, some people may think we are ridiculous. You never know what people will do with your story. 

At the end of the day, though, both things—being a writer and being a missionary—are dream jobs for me. They are worth the work. They are worth the vulnerability and the sharing and the full schedules—and they are transforming me as I go. Even if I don’t get to sit in coffee shops or eat exotic food all day, they are worth it.
5/28 Update: My book is now available here