That Striving Thing

cbexpo_dated_rgb_lowrezThere’s a lot of talk in my beloved Writers’ Guild about striving–that thing that rises up in each of us that tells us to push to the front of the line, to elbow the other person aside, to be sure we’re climbing the ladder and getting the piece of the pie our culture assures us is ours. I can scarcely make it to the refrigerator some mornings before the familiar voice of striving can go off in my head, telling me what I’m entitled to in life or what I should position myself to take.

Amazingly, though, the Christian life we’re called to is an inversion of the world’s way of thinking. My friends, Dr. John Perkins and Dr. Paul Metzger, who are currently crossing the nation, speaking at colleges, churches, and to community leaders regarding racial and class reconciliation on their tour called Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice, call this approach to living upside-down theology. As believers, we’re called to a life of servanthood and downward mobility, placing ourselves last and others first, fleeing the consumer mentality that tells us to grab what we want, when we want it, at the least cost to ourselves.

I’ve spent a good deal of time lately with a dear friend and his wife at a well-known cancer clinic on the other side of our state. Having exhausted the resources of the cancer centers near his home, my friend was encouraged to consult with docs at an institution affiliated with the hospital where I was treated when I was critically ill almost ten years ago. I can’t tell you how much I hate walking through the doors of that place. But I can also tell you that nothing is more important to me than walking beside a friend and being an advocate, an extra set of ears, a shoulder to collapse on, or someone who could speak the words of a prayer when brokenhearted friends couldn’t.

As a fairly new writer, a striving mentality haunts me. I feel like I’m always running to catch up–blogging, proposals, marketing, Facebook, Twitter (forget it), speaking commitments, not to mention the writing itself. A voice continually urges me to be at the right place at the right time to meet the right person, to write the perfect proposal to impress the next amazing editor, to shape myself in someone else’s image, or to “work the room” of the publishing world to hook my foot on that next rung.

But the call to live out a life of upside-down theology always draws me to the priority of people. I’m called to work with excellence in all that I do, but I’m also called to love people as Jesus loved them–with a passionate, selfless pouring out, as I entrust certain “details” of my life to God.

So I’m getting on a plane and heading to the Dallas Book Expo knowing I could be a bit more organized and could have blogged a few more times this week. And even though I might be a bit tired, I will be resting and praising God for the opportunities he gives to espress his amazing love to people.

Please encourage your friends and loved ones to be part of the amazing Christian Book Expo experience. And stop by to visit me at the Kregel booth #1243 on Friday from 1:00-1:45 for my signing and at the Barbour/Discovery House booth on Saturday from 11:00-12:00 and 3:00-4:00 for signings and author chats with me. I’m so veryexcited to meet you. And you may end up appearing on my blog!

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