We, Not Me
The more I delve into the world of blogging and writing, the more I realize how important it is to build relationships with fellow bloggers and authors. Online communities have been invaluable in achieving this and I have been the recipient of unexpected, generous support from others as a result. When I announced the publishing of my first book, I met some local writers as well. One of these individuals who reached out to me is John Edward Habib, who recently authored his first book, Total Surrender: Transformation from a Self-Serving Life to God’s Servant for Life.
It’s so easy, as a writer, to be completely absorbed in your own ideas and writing. So much mental energy goes into translating your inspirational thoughts into a tangible book that it can be difficult to find cognitive space to read other people’s communications. Having experienced the positive impact of other’s making space to read and provide feedback on my work, I’ve been challenged to make time to read other bloggers emails and articles…so much so that I have accumulated six Audible credits and have finally put an end to my Audible subscription because I cannot keep up on my former reading schedule at this time.
Add to this that as a self-published author, I am deep in the “marketing” phase of my book project and well…most writers love to write and aren’t crazy about or skilled in the business of marketing. I’m not going to lie. This phase has been the most intimidating part of the book project. It can feel a little like serial pleas via social media that say, “Look at me! Look what I did! Celebrate me! Rally around me! Buy my book-you will LOVE it!” Me. Me. Me.
Do Onto Others
At the same time there is an overwhelming sense of vulnerability, dependence and lack of control. You can overcome so many obstacles to create a piece of literature that embodies who you are and what you believe is an important message but that is where your control ends. There are no guarantees. No guarantees that people will buy your book. If they do, there are no guarantees that they will actually read the book from cover to cover. If they do, there is no guarantee that they will LIKE the book. If they do like the book, there is no guarantee that they will SHARE the book with others or leave a positive review that encourages others to purchase it.
It is in this daunting marketing phase that I am confronting my deepest fears, digging deep and finding my own “Total Surrender” which made John’s newly published book very meaningful to me. I purchased a digital copy because I know what it feels like to write your message to the world and want others to read it. I wanted to support John the way I wish more people would support me. That’s how it started. Of course, the purchase itself is a limited victory; I needed to read it too.
I had a precious day at home doing menial kitchen food prep so I used my own system of converting text to audio (voice over) to listen to “Total Surrender” while I worked. Immediately I realized that this was a divine appointment. John’s book was a serious pep talk to my diminished confidence in my self-worth because of the lack of “success” I was experiencing.
I was reminded that upon embarking on my sabbatical year I had resolved to write a book and take satisfaction in that endeavour even if it never was published or even read. Somehow though, I still found myself measuring my success based on webpage views, book sales, and positive reviews. Those are the metrics that the world uses to measure your success and based on those statistics, I am not succeeding yet.
“Total Surrender” helped me remember that my self-worth and God’s work in me cannot be measured by social media likes and shares. It encouraged me to remember that the circumstances that have marked my life and set me on the path of “Total Surrender” to God’s work in my life will lead me to a good place.
Chapter after chapter I found John’s words to be like those of a sincere brother punching his sister in her arm and reminding her of who she is, how far she has come and who she eventually will be. Honestly, if I could choose a text to pair with my own book, Coming Home: Leaving Busy To Save My Soul, John’s work would be it. It embodies the mindset needed to trust God and walk a difficult, lonely path towards His calling.
Your Will, Not Mine
It is easy to say words of love and devotion to God and to dedicate your intended service to Him, even if it means that you will never get any glory, and quite another thing altogether to walk that out in reality. Like children who say we will gift our service and then extend our hands for payment and are disappointed when it isn’t given. It is a mental and spiritual struggle that only those who have travelled this journey can understand. The human desire for affirmation and recognition is as instinctive and unconscious as the need for breath.
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
Half way through “Total Surrender” I knew I needed to write my first official book review and to give John the recognition that his eloquent writing deserves. I agree with him that his book is much needed and the message of hope and encouragement is vital to our world.
I hope you will hear my heartfelt endorsement of “Total Surrender” and know that I don’t promote anything on my website that I don’t fully appreciate for myself. My approval cannot be manipulated or purchased by commissions even in situations where I may receive some via affiliate links.
Not only do I think you should purchase John’s book, but if you live locally, I urge you to attend his upcoming Book Signing at Anchor Bakery & Espresso Bar this Sunday, November 17th from 1-3pm. You will be supporting a local, first-time author who has written a very poignant, helpful book for you to read and be encouraged by.
Thank you, John, for your faithfulness to write what God has put on your heart and for authentically revealing your own weakness and failures in life. It is apparent that you have walked in “Total Surrender” of your own and that has allowed the very events that have devastated you become sweet fruit of healing for others. It is a good reminder to never give up or give in even as we raise our arms in “Total Surrender”.
Here are some simple action steps you can take to get engaged with this article:
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📚Purchase my own book, Coming Home: Leaving Busy To Save My Soul, for yourself and friends or family that could benefit from an inspiration read this Christmas!
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You can contact author, John Edward Habib, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org