I’ve had three panic attacks in the last month. I thought this was a thing of the past. That I had gotten the anxiety under control. But, nope. Here I am again, wheezing and sweating and doing everything I can not to reach for Xanax.
My counselor tells me that this is normal. For me, at least. This is a big life event, and I put far too much pressure on myself to succeed professionally, to impress others socially, and to remain stable emotionally.
But all the white knuckling in the world isn’t helping me “keep it all together” right now.
Those of you who’ve followed my work may know that my book “Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing — And How We Can Revive Them” will finally hit bookstores in less than a month. As an Enneagram type 3 who often confuses achievement with self-worth, that’s all kinds of triggering.
I truly believe this is my best book by far, but that doesn’t ease the insecurity I feel.
Sure, I think the topic is important. But I want leaders to think so, too.
Sure, I love my writing. But I want readers to love it, too.
Sure, I’ve been transformed by this material. But I want readers to be transformed by it, too.
With three weeks to go, I’m shaking in my sneakers.
I confessed these insecurities to a friend recently, and she responded with a question that was wise beyond her years: “You’re teetering on a cliff right now, but what’s saving you from full on free fall?”
I thought for a moment and said, “Well, I guess the knowledge that I’ve done my best. And I am proud of the product.”
Many authors squeak out a book in a handful of months. I took nearly four and a half years to give birth to this one. Most authors get feedback from an editor before publication to sharpen the ideas and prose. I sought the feedback of scholars, social scientists, linguists, skilled writers, journalists and friends. I’ve done my best, and I’m proud of the final product.
I’m going to do my best to keep my cool over the next 19 days, 10 hours and 24 minutes. That means lot of meditation, hot yoga, and time with loved ones who don’t judge based on my “success.” But I also want to spend time saying thanks to all of you–my readers–who are walking through this with me.
This week, I am giving away custom artwork prints by one of my favorite artists (and humans), Scott Erickson. I spent the second half of the book reimagining sacred words, and I commissioned three prints based on some of my favorite essays: pain, yes, and grace.
You can enter multiple times over the next week by using the form below, and we’ll select winners next Tuesday. And in the meantime, this insecure author appreciates your prayers. Jonathan’s Favorite Things, Week 3: