I love to write. I love the thrill I get when I have a good idea for a plot development. I love holing myself away in my little closet office as I race to get the words onto the screen before I forget what I’m trying to say. I love talking about my characters to anyone who will listen. I love that I can use my imagination and not have to follow a set of directions. I basically love everything about writing. Well, that’s not exactly true. There’s one part of writing I could do without: editing.
There’s something incredibly personal about having one’s writing edited by someone else. And while I know it’s a crucial step to getting published, it’s not necessarily fun. I feel vulnerable when others read my work with a critical eye, looking for things to change. Now don’t get me wrong—I love my editor. If she lived next door to me, I’d invite her over for coffee. I’ve met her in person and have emailed her countless times over the past number of months. She’s been patient and kind in answering my questions as we work toward publication. Our emails are not strictly business, and she knows a lot about my family and what’s going on in my life. I know she has my best intentions at heart and truly wants to help me make my manuscript the best it can be. Never have I been made to feel inferior to her, and her suggestions and changes make perfect sense. She’s excellent at her job, and my manuscript is all the better thanks to her. But still I feel vulnerable when every word, every phrase, every line in conversation is under scrutiny and subject to change. It’s hard to delete a sentence I really like, and my first reaction is usually a defensive “Why?” It’s unsettling and sometimes stings my sinful pride to realize I’m not nearly the writing expert I thought I was.
This isn’t to say there isn’t encouragement along the way. Periodically throughout the manuscript, a comment will pop up—”Great paragraph! It brings tears to my eyes!” or some such compliment that warms my heart and reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. And at the final sentence of my manuscript, a one-word comment makes it all worthwhile: Perfect.
There are some definite parallels between the editing process and the life of a Christian. We may think we’re doing pretty well on our own, like we don’t need anyone else’s expertise or correction. But when we’re honest with ourselves and allow God’s Law to “edit” our lives, we have to admit we’re far from perfect. It’s not a fun process. It makes us feel vulnerable when our every thought, every word, every deed is under scrutiny and subject to correction. We have to remind ourselves that God isn’t giving His Law to be mean or to rub it into our faces that we’re dirty, rotten scoundrels. He truly has our best intentions at heart and wants to transform our lives as only He can. Even so, it’s difficult. Our first reaction when we’re told we have to “delete” a sinful behavior is often a defensive, “Why?” It stings our sinful pride to realize we aren’t living nearly as good a life as we may think.
This isn’t to say there isn’t encouragement along the way. Periodically throughout our lives, we have the opportunity to draw strength from God’s Word with fellow believers in corporate worship, basking in the Good News that Jesus has paid the price for us. We are reminded in countless Bible verses of God’s Grace and mercy. We don’t have to be perfect. Jesus did that for us. We read God’s words to us—”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) His promises encourage us in our walk of faith. And when we draw our final breath and the last chapter of our life comes to a close, God will welcome us into His presence with the verdict Christ has earned for us: