Four Years, Two Roads is officially on the market.
This is incredibly humbling. What started off as a vision has now been cemented in time. I’m praying the Lord continues to open doors for this message to go forth to reach a generation who so desperately needs Him.
I want to take a second to share some of lessons God taught me during the publishing journey. I’m forced to choose just a handful of minnow from an entire ocean.
1. Pride is a formidable opponent to our holy endeavors
Pride was an Everest of an opponent as I wrote my first book. The prospective of being a 20 year old author, putting it on my resume, and the abundance of speaking opportunities that would follow were all seductive and destructive temptations. Just because you didn’t hear the words directly from my mouth doesn’t mean they weren’t there. The heart and mind are the greatest battlefields of all.
Keeping my eyes on Grace was the only remedy.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
There is nothing that I inherit or that I will exhibit that I deserve. It’s all unmerited favor from the Cross. Fighting pride meant turning my gaze from self-achievement and fixing my eyes upon Jesus. Daily had to be the reminders that nothing good dwells in the natural self (Romans 7:18). It’s astounding how selfish the human heart is, especially when it glazes over success. Grace is where we stand. Experiencing and seeing grace is the only thing that kills sin. And grace has no room to boast. Or it wouldn’t be grace.
2. No success without self discipline
Today, exhortation against laziness is viewed as legalistic, shoddy, or old fashioned. That’s tragic, especially in light of the Bible’s vehement commands to fight the flesh; the flesh that would rather waste hours on Facebook than toil to produce Kingdom-expanding fruit.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me (1 Corinthians 15:10)
You can’t escape the Proverbs without feeling convicted about banality. I’m convinced that social media, smartphones are excellent tools. It’s just that the banal side of our minds get easily distracted. Distractions aren’t the main detriment to be addressed, but rather our mindlessness stems from a lack of self control.
Everything created by God is good (1 Timothy 4:4); that includes deadlines. Self-discipline wonderfully manifests itself in deadlines. Let’s be real. Some of us wouldn’t even get close to waking up for church on Sundays if we weren’t aware of the 9 a.m. start time. Time provides an objective, non-disputable, concrete framework around which we can plan our lives. Take advantage.
3. Waiting until you ‘feel’ like doing something is the most common mistake
People often ask me if I enjoy writing. There are two ways to answer this question. Do I love the ends that are the ultimate endeavors of writing? (i.e. Publishing, books, changed lives, speaking truth into a crooked and perverse world?) Yes! But what about the 4 a.m. nights, writers’ blocks, headaches, agency rejections? No. No. No. Christ-glorifying discipline is manifested in choosing what you want most over what you want now. That’s why you must look to the reward.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)
4. Singleness is a gift
And to ignore or neglect its advantages in light of the world’s lies is to waste your life. While I bury my face in prayer for my future wife every night, I seize singleness’ unique opportunities. One of the most tangible being that I have more time now than I would if I was in a relationship.
The simple truth is, I wouldn’t have been able to write Four Years, Two Roads if I had a girlfriend. And I really am beginning to think that’s why God had me embrace singleness during this period of my young adult life. Girlfriends are great. I’m looking forward to having one. But spiritual significance, and furthermore, the eternal impact you can have on others, is never relegated by your relationship status. The freedom singleness provides isn’t so we can watch more House of Cards but so we can expand the Kingdom of God with the time that would be unfeasible when committed to a spouse.