Oh yes, I know this familiar territory of struggling to find my place and my people–maybe you do, too?
It’s coming up on the one-year anniversary of my daddy’s homegoing to heaven, so lately I’ve been thinking a lot about him. An avid storyteller, many stories he told my sisters and I began with his characteristic, “When I was a little boy, just as cute as could be…”
I would roll my eyes at this predictable intro, but it was also the gateway to a good tale about his adventuring on the Oklahoma prairie. Not only that, it told me more about my own history and roots and gave me understanding as to why my branch of the family tree looked the way it did. Dad’s stories gave me a firmer foundation in my belonging.
Whether the person telling the story is related to me or not, I still love hearing and learning from others’ experiences and life choices.
My dad’s propensity for storytelling passed down to me, and these last several months, I’ve put that to work in my new book releasing in August of this year.
So yeah, I wrote a second book! It won’t release till this summer, but in spite of the blizzard we’re having today, it’ll be here before we know it.
And I’m so excited it holds bits of other people’s stories as well as my own. Other people’s stories can be traveling companions to our own belonging places as we often find something of ourselves within them.
With that in mind, I bring you:
It’s safe to say that somewhere, and in some way, each of us has found ourselves on the outside looking in. When that happens, a lot of us lean toward doing one of two things. First, we’ll hop on the popular, crowded highway that asks us to do what it takes to get noticed. Or we’ll do the opposite and stay closed-up inside our four walls, saddened by rejection we’ve experienced or paralyzed by fear that tells us we’re not important, loveable, or worth other people’s time and attention.
So how do we avoid the temptation to give up finding our place and our people without acting out of desperation?
We explore the alternative third way toward connection—the less traveled but more satisfying back road way to belonging. It’s the way that asks us to abandon the loud boulevard of attention-demanding behaviors for the byways of remaining in Christ and relaxing into the unique role God has for you and me today. Not so we can isolate ourselves in a country hideaway. Rather, the back road way is being attentive to God’s direction as to how we might create an environment of connection in a culture of disconnection—no matter where we live.
This book has been inside of me for a good while as I’ve learned, practiced, re-learned and re-practiced its message throughout my life. I tell ya, though, as I’ve walked through loss and change much of this past year, I’ve become acquainted with its message in ways like never before. Loss and big changes can remove our sense of belonging, but the Lord has shown me afresh how belonging is often the state of my soul rather than my circumstances.
While this is certainly true, God wants us to know belonging within our environment. There’s always room at the table God has in mind for each of us, but sometimes we need a little help seeing it or finding it. If that’s you, it’s my prayer this book holding parts of my story and the stories of others is a guide and a friend that leads you to the place and people the Lord has picked for you.
Right now, I’m wrapping up my next rounds of edits within these pages here. Also, why can’t I smile without showing every last one of my teeth?
If you’d like to go ahead and preorder the book for yourself or a loved one, you can do so here. Really, I can’t tell you how important preorders are to a book’s success. First and foremost, they help you save money because if you order the book from Amazon, they guarantee the lowest price offered between your purchase date and the August ship date. Hallelu!
You aren’t charged for your order till the book ships.
Also, preorders give booksellers an idea of how popular a book will be, and they’ll order inventory accordingly. Therefore, we’re more likely to avoid that pesky “out of stock” scenario once the book releases. Double hallelu!
And while we’re on this topic of belonging, I’m so grateful to the wonderful folks at my publisher, Revell, including Andrea Doering, Jennifer Leep, and Vicki Crumpton, who were kind enough to stop by my house last fall and have breakfast with me while in town for meetings. They all have hearts as big as Dallas, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to work with them again. They make me feel like I belong where I am, even if sometimes I’m not so sure.
“God is looking for broken men who have judged themselves in the light of the cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to the end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God.” ~H.A. Ironside
I’m a slow learner with a shouty inner critic, and releasing another book feels out of my capability and comfort zone. I have to re-remember daily that when we run up against our own limitations and come to the end of ourselves, we’re perfectly positioned for Christ to do His thing. We remember the facts of our faith over our feelings, and we remember our confidence isn’t in what we do or don’t do, but in Him.
Thank you for being my traveling companion in this space, dear one. Your company and kindness mean the world.