by Emily Conrad
I was just sitting down in the cafe at Barnes and Noble with two of my local writing friends when a familiar name popped up on my cell phone screen. Familiar, but someone who usually emails rather than calls: my literary agent.
I stepped away to take the call, aware that my friends would probably be watching with interest. Good, bad, or otherwise, my immediate, unedited reaction would be evident. Zero recovery time, zero let’s-put-this-in-perspective planning.
I was expecting to hear from him, though, and I had an idea of what he might say, so no big deal. Except he didn’t say what I thought he’d say.
I’m not sure how much you can tell about me from the vantage point of your computer screen. Probably quite a bit. I share a lot on the blog, but there are some cards I play pretty close to the chest, which I would think you’d expect.
What you might not expect is that one category of news I am tempted to keep to myself is good news.
When things I thought stable fall through, insecurity creeps in and spreads. If a job or relationship or opportunity or organization I thought I could rely on can disappoint me, how much more so those unexpected events and opportunities that hoist my hopes up into a limitless blue sky?
Not everything that starts off promising delivers. If I celebrate like it’s going to deliver and then it doesn’t, I feel like a fool. I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out. It was too good to be true. And now, everyone knows I was wrong about how this situation would go.
I don’t like to be wrong, and I especially don’t like people to know I was wrong. So, on top of the disappointment itself, when something I was excited about publicly falls through, there’s a layer of shame and all because I can’t predict the future.
Which of course, is ridiculous. But, I think, common.
In her research, Brené Brown found, “Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees–these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.” (The Gifts of Imperfection, page 73)
Can any of us afford to lose joy?
No. No, we cannot.
That means we have to risk celebrating fleeting moments.
And, still, I would let fear of disappointment make me hesitate to celebrate, and maybe that’s why God gave me good news that day as my friends watched and waited.
My agent had called with the news that my debut novel, Justice, is slated to be released in March, 2018.
This is huge news!
Why? Well, I signed with my publisher just over a year ago, but for various reasons, I believed my book wouldn’t be coming out for at least another year and a half. What a relief to find out I was wrong. So much so that I don’t even mind sharing it this time–I was wrong.
It’s time to party.
…and prep for a book launch–which will involve more parties!
Here a party, there a party! Because, as Brown writes, “Playing down the exciting stuff doesn’t take the pain away when it doesn’t happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen.”
We’re people. We’re made for connection with God and with each other.
We’re admonished to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, NET).
Burying news–good, bad, or otherwise–interferes with this vital part of supporting each other.
Yup, sometimes jumping for joy requires a leap of faith, but if we have Jesus, when our feet leave the ground, we’re caught by everlasting love. And love like that guarantees in every situation–good, bad, or otherwise–we always have something to celebrate.
It’s time to party!
What’s your news? Leave a comment because I’d love to celebrate with you or pray for you (or both!).
Title image background photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash, graphic designed on Canva.com
Flowers and sparklers photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash
Candles in jars photo by Rhand McCoy on Unsplash
Dog photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash