Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Proof-Read Life

I remember when I wrote my first book, Prayers from the Throne of God. It was like having your first baby. Your whole life is focused on the creation and delivery of something new. When the book was finished, I felt the Lord ask me to ask Pastor Jack Hayford write the foreword. I had met and spoken with Pastor Jack on several occasions over the years so it wasn’t a cold drop request.  After receiving my email asking him if he would write the foreword, Pastor Jack gave me his phone number and asked me to call him. 

I was a nervous first-time author. My na├»ve impression was that my book had to perfect and error-free before it was fit for publication. I shared my concern during our phone call. Pastor Jack said, “No book is error-free. At some point you have to make the decision to go ahead and publish.”

Three people proofread my book several times. I was one of the proofreaders. I must have read it five times. We thought it was ready for publication. On receipt of the first run of printing, there was a spelling error. It was bold and in your face on the very cover of the book – we spelled the word “Foreword” wrong. We spelled it “Forward”. I got sick to my stomach. This mistake blew by three proofreaders, one who had a graduate degree in creative writing.

We corrected the mistake and the next run of books was published. Guess what? Yep, we did it again! This time we spelled “Foreword”, “Foreward”. My stomach and my ego got sick. We made our final correction and learned first hand the truth of Pastor Jack's words – "no book is error-free." You simply make corrections and move on. If you freeze up at the point of discovering a mistake your book will lie dormant in your shame and personal disgust. That initial mistake was corrected six books and hundreds of articles ago. It is part of the reality of writing. It is also part of living.

Your life is a lot like writing a book.  There will be mistakes and errors, but those problems do not change the content or impact of your life if you are willing to allow God to bring the needed corrections. Correct the discovered issues and move on.

Later that year, when Prayers from the Throne of God was finally in print, Pastor Jack asked me to come and speak at his yearly conference in Los Angeles. He asked me to use the content of my book as part of my teaching. He never said anything about any mistakes in the early manuscript of the book I sent to him to read in preparation for writing his foreword. He knew the reality of writing.

During a break at the conference, I visited the bookstore at Church on the Way and was checking out the books for sale. I noticed a well-known person’s book. On the cover of their book they misspelled “Foreword” as “Forward”. I smiled and felt like I was in good company.

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