During a recent afternoon break from writing while sitting in front of my computer, I swallowed a handful of pumpkin seeds, washed them down with a swig of water, opened a new tab on the browser and clicked over to Amazon. I typed in Rhythms of Rest, Shelly Miller and waited.
The book description popped up next to an empty grey box awaiting an image of the front cover. I nearly cried when I read the words someone else had written about my work. That moment in time felt surreal, as if it wasn’t me I was reading about.
And really, surprising grace encapsulates how I would describe most of my writing journey.
A few days later, when I was linking my bio for a guest post, I clicked over to Amazon and this time, the cover appeared. I kept the found treasure to myself because sometimes we need to sit with everyday miracles for a while before sharing with the world. Ascribing beauty to our work, I’m learning, requires an intentional, focused, and vulnerable heart.
Isn’t it pretty? Sigh.
Truthfully, I never even thought about sharing that milestone moment in my career until my friend Jennifer discovered Rhythms of Rest available for pre-order and spilled the beans in a group chat. The giddy response from my author friends humbled me deeply.
When people believe in you more than you believe in yourself it is a gift not to be taken for granted.
Jennifer’s discovery started an organic thread of generosity on social networking feeds. I woke up the next morning to a multitude of shares garnering pre-orders. Like the wallflower being asked to dance by the best looking boy in the room, I was shocked, overwhelmed, and honored.
I’m telling you this because it’s easy to look at that cover and foreword by Mark Buchanan and idealize the writing life. Can I tell you that doubt has been the companion of confidence during every single step of the journey? In blogging, signing with my agent for representation, composing a book proposal, contracting with a publishing house, saying yes to (scary) speaking engagements, building the architecture of a book (who knows how to do that?!) and marketing my work.
I’m not always sure God will come through for me, that’s my ugly truth.
When I assess my future needs against what I lack in the moment, the disparity causes me to spend copious amounts of time attempting to figure out how I can make up the difference.
I do not always face adversity with courage.
I often ask or expect too much of myself.
I forget that God loves me and become entangled in a web of inner turmoil.
And really, the year long journey of writing Rhythms of Rest ultimately reveals why I needed to write this book in the first place.
I discovered that we approach Sabbath much the same. We assess our future needs against the disparity of the right now and spend copious amounts of time trying to rectify the difference, instead of resting in the assurance of God’s love.
Sabbath isn’t something we check off a list in order to be our best productive selves. Sabbath reminds us that God’s love is steadfast, His faithfulness is sure, and He wants nothing more than to bless us.
When we believe that we are loved for who we are, rest becomes second nature.
The fact that so many of us respond “Busy” when asked, “How are you?” tells me we share a common proclivity toward forgetfulness. We forget how much we are loved. Perhaps it is why God begins the fourth commandment with the word Remember.
In my striving after excellence, I often allow what I do to define how I live. But God won’t allow me to rest with my ideal of how my life should look, because my ideal is always less than what He envisions.
God will not allow us to fully rest until we are like him in all His fullness — this is the upside down truth of the Kingdom.
Everyday miracles I’ve been treasuring in my heart as I write are now ready to be shared with you, my lovely readers. What surprising grace!
While the official pub date is October 4, pre-orders often determine how many books retailers will stock. Pre-orders are important for the livelihood of an author. Of course, I didn’t actually know this until I became one. I’d be honored if you could share about Rhythms of Rest with your friends and neighbors. And you can find out more about these photo on my Instagram feed @shellymiller120!