Don’t Over Edit Your Life

When I was in school, I was always good at editing my papers while I wrote them. As we were being taught the essay writing process, there was this strange sequence the teachers kept talking about that involved an outline, a rough draft, and a few revised drafts on the way to the finished product. I was on board for the outline, but always wondered why I would be asked to turn in a rough draft full of typos and mistakes. I hated it. Why would I have left mistakes in a paper I intended to hand in for a grade?

I distinctly remember the first time I had to adjust my writing strategy. Mrs. Washenfelder (who was an awesome English teacher) insisted on seeing the rough draft before the final copy would be due in a couple days. I had no rough draft, so I actually re-wrote the same essay, throwing in a few poorly worded sentences and misused semi-colons and stuff so that I would have a “rough draft” to turn in! (Definitely not what she had in mind, but it worked.)

I don’t know if it’s a gift or a curse, but I’m a natural editor. I spot mistakes and do what I can to fix them. Now, with spell check soaking itself into just about every word crunching app or program, it’s even more simple to catch and correct mistakes as they happen! But what if I edit out mistakes that someone else could learn from? What if I’m so concerned with presenting the finished product that I rob someone else of the pleasure of slogging through the creative process together? What if the fear of revealing my cracks keeps me from offering up what I have and allowing someone else to help me?

Please understand, this isn’t hypothetical and it’s not about grammar anymore. It’s about Life… Relationships… Creating beauty and revealing beauty to people who didn’t notice it before. I know that I have shut people out before because I couldn’t get my inner editor to shut up and listen. I know that I’ve kept people in the dark and missed out on their presence because I didn’t want them to see the mess of my creative process. I’m sorry for those time when I over edited my life.

I came across this great reminder from Bob Goff today:

Don’t worry so much about letting people see your faults before you get them all ironed out. It just may be those very faults through which God reveals Himself most beautifully. He’s crazy good at that! May you see the beauty in you that He sees in you and live and love accordingly.

By the way, if you haven’t read Bob Goff’s book, Love Does yet… Order it now and enjoy the ride! Really… get it. You’ll love it and probably do something awesome because you read it.

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