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The Truth About Writing Books and Perfection

 

The Truth About WRriting Books and Perfection

As I mentioned last week, I recently wrote a book. A dream come true. A freaking miracle.

It’s about 65,000 words in its current state. Those 65,000 words are what I submitted to my editor. Then, there is a document hidden on my computer called “CUTS.”

My dad told me about the CUTS document years ago. It’s a way to keep track of what you’re editing out in case you want to include it later or use it for something else down the line.

My CUTS is about 31,557 words. Really, I have a lot more than 31,557 words of cuts. CUTS only includes the cuts I considered worth keeping. It doesn’t include the stuff that was so bad it just needed to be deleted forever. And there were a lot of so bad, needed-to-be-deleted-forever words.

 

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I am really into the idea of imperfection right now. This whole notion that we—as women, as a society, as a culture, as a generation—must abandon the unrealistic expectation that if we act a certain way or do certain things we can live a perfect Christian life. That we will at some point during our earthly lives “arrive.”

I was reminded of this last weekend when I was at the There{4}Gathering, a conference for high school girls. My sister and I were speaking at it.

A week before the conference I fell into an old sin pattern I have. You know, the thing that is just…your struggle.

Anyways, I had done this sin, and I felt bad about it. Because I had this speaking gig coming up, I also began to feel super inadequate and unworthy. How could I speak to a bunch of teenage girls about Jesus when I keep doing the thing I always say I will never do again?

When we got to the conference, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. I felt like I should let my sister speak alone. I felt ashamed.

Then, a couple of things happened.

The first was worship. I went into the auditorium at one point to sit and worship with everybody and Katie, our worship leader, began singing “You Make Me Brave.” I started crying because that song says “You make me brave” over and over again, and it made me think this:

I am not about to get up on stage because I am worthy of being there. I am getting up on stage because God needs people to talk about Him, and I just so happen to be the one doing that today, alongside a bunch of other people. Period. The end. He needs people voices to share His God message and glory, so sometimes He just grabs people and says, “Ok, now you go.”

And He gives us the words, and He give us the exact amount of bravery we need to stand up in front of people.

But it really actually has nothing to do with us, and no matter how much I keep on sinning, the only pool God has to choose from, when it comes to people voices sharing His God message and His glory, is sinners. So I might as well keep making myself available, with all of the other sinners.

The second thing that happened was a question I got during the Q&A portion of the conference. Guess what the question was. “I keep doing things I know I’m not supposed to do. How do I forgive myself?”

On one hand, this question made me excited because the timing of it in my life was so perfect. “Yeah,” I said when I responded. “I keep doing that too!” And then I talked about Paul and Romans 7:19-25.

On the other hand, this question made me sad. Because I think maybe the girl who asked this question thought that because we were on stage, we don’t also keep doing things we’re not supposed to do. Like we were up there because we’ve “arrived” or “figured it out.”

It made me sad because I realized we often give that perception from stages and from books that we write. “Here, listen to what I have to say because I am superhuman and super Christian and, therefore, have the answers.”

Her question makes me want to be sure people never think that of me. Her question makes me want to be sure everyone knows I am sinner through and through and through.

The people I listen to, the people I respect the most are the ones who are brave enough to tell me they sin. A lot. That they are not perfect. That they too are on an imperfect journey. These are the voices I like and need to hear coming from stages and books and blogs.

 

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So this brings me to the CUTS. Sorry, that took a while.

You’ll see above that my CUTS document is about half the length of my final document. I would say for my life, that’s reversed. My final document is about half the length of my CUTS. For as many things I do that are good and holy, I do two (if not ten) things that are sinful and stupid.

I used the hate that about myself, but I don’t anymore.

I used to think only people who had really short CUTS documents were allowed to write books or talk on stages. I don’t think that anymore.

Because even if someone has you convinced their CUTS document is shorter than yours, they’re lying. We all have super long, embarrassing CUTS hidden away on our computers. We are all completely unworthy to write books and stand on stages.

But you know, God just needs some people voices to share His story, and He has only a pool of sinners to choose from.

This leaves you with a few options. You can hide away and lower your head and grumble things about being unworthy. You can get up and talk and write and pretend you have no CUTS and not let people see the real you, perpetuating a culture of impossible perfection.

Or, you can let Him be brave for you, learn to embrace your CUTS by being honest about them and simply make yourself available to spread His message.

7 COMMENT

  1. Nicki Kennington | 24th Feb 16

    This is so incredibly powerful, Andrea! I’m speaking to a group of women at Baylor on Friday night, and this is the EXACT message I hope to bring to them. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

    • AndreaLucado | 24th Feb 16

      So cool! I’m so glad you are out there sharing God’s message. I would totally listen to you!

  2. Natacha | 24th Feb 16

    I loved this!
    Thank you so much! Yes, I’ll make myself available,
    I want to be one of those voices you talked about,
    always embracing the imperfect and letting Him be brave for me.
    God bless you! Can’t wait to read your book.

  3. Sara Jones | 1st Mar 16

    Incredible words. Very liberating and empowering. THANK YOU. You did it again dreeee baeeee!

  4. Charles Becker | 1st Mar 16

    Thank you Andrea for being open and honest about “that thing we all do”. I spent many years beating myself up over the fact that I fell short and did that sinful thing. Through His unlimited grace and infinite love, I have discovered the truth of what you have just written about. Throughout the entire Word of God, there are countless examples of God using sinners to accomplish His purposes. Romans 5:8, for while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  5. Daniel Tomlinson | 6th Mar 16

    Wow. I needed this, and as a father of a daughter I needed it to model it for her. Thank you Andrea.

  6. Daniel Tomlinson | 6th Mar 16

    I needed this personally and as a meditation for modeling for my daughter. Thank you Andrea.

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