I’ve recently been asked to edit a book. On the surface it sounds easy. What could it take, right? Just some proofreading – edit – suggest a few changes – correct – re-write – and proofread again – and that’s how I commit my time helping a friend with a project powered by his passion. I love writing, creating word pictures, choosing words that unravel complexity making a subject easier to understand. I love writing, stirring imaginative thought, inspiring joy, encouraging resourceful acts. I love writing, even though an intense, emotional skirmish results when time is short, proofreading detects obscure errors, and combat ensues between the clock and the task.
If my friend’s project is successful, it means his book will be published and we’ll hold the final volume in our hands. Suddenly the task that seemed easy on the surface becomes significant, its importance bonded by iron commitment. Proofreading with its investigation into terminology, discovery of broken phrases, hidden errors and search for overused words means scrutiny. Huh!
There is nothing superficial about proofreading. Let’s reflect on the activities encapsulated in that word ‘proofread’. I am my own worst proofreader. When I write these posts, for example, I write, publish, and never go back and proofread before clicking that little post button that publicizes what I just wrote – typos and all. This all brings up a more significant topic though. How often do I need to proofread my life?
I live a life of good intentions, try to practice peaceful living sidestepping conflict, use kindness instead of bullying as my form of persuasion, and think before I act. Can you relate? This is like the writing process – intentional, focused, flawless. But that’s not reality, is it? Never flawless. When I proofread my life I know I need a bunch of edits – or total rewrites. I’m drawn to David’s words in Psalm 139:23 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
You see, proofreading is best done through the spectacles of scripture, not through the myopic lens of self. I can go to God at any time and ask him to proofread my life and extract anything that’s warped, wrong, or broken. Psalm 139:2 “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”
When asking God to point out flaws in the plans I’ve designed it’s like David’s request in Psalm 139:24 “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” There are times when I half-halfheartedly squeeze behind the prayer asking God to reveal defects in my life. He points out what it says in Psalm 51:16-17 “Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”
God can see right through my façade and looks directly at my heart. Proofreading by the Master brings opportunity beyond being awarded a contract that brings income to my family. Divine intervention means editing with renewal properties. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Proofreading the final draft of a document has significance! It’s both exciting and frightening. Inviting God to proofread your life is both exciting and frightening. What will result from the inspection? It’s comforting to know that God knows all about us and loves us anyway. I’m grateful God doesn’t have mood swings. He looks at me and sees a masterpiece, even though I know, in my heart, I need a lot of work.
Nehemiah 1:5,6 ““Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to invite God to proofread my life. What do you think?