Although Author Tuesdays are starting to slow, I’ve still got one today and one next Tuesday for you. So, today I give you the question every single one of us find ourselves asking at some point in our lives: am I loved? My old boss and friend, Shawn Petree, answers this query in a tangible, vulnerable sort of way. Check out the interview and leave a comment here or on Instagram to win a copy of the book!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I am a strong, confident, warm, truthful, assertive, courageous, creative man. That’s who I am. That’s a far cry from how I operated for so many years believing that I was weak, fearful, distant, and tentative. I lead off this with description of myself because when asked who we are we tend to lead off with what we do vocationally. I believe that identity goes way deeper than that.
I am a husband of 18 years and father of three amazing children ages 11, 10 and 6. I am friends with a lot of people on purpose. I have deep friendships with a few and a wide group of men and women that I, along with my family, are walking through life with.
For the past 20 years I have been involved in para-church ministry. 11 years with Young Life ministry working with teenagers, and the past 9 years working with men through a Seattle based discipleship ministrywww.teleios.org.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? The book is titled Am I Loved? The Question You May Not Know You Are Asking. It is for anyone who wants to learn the truth of who they really are. I write about how to learn to believe the truth that we are loved, and how this truth positively impacts every aspect of our lives. I explain that in the midst of a culture that constantly tells us that we are not enough, there has never been a more important time than now to know the truth.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? This may sounds a little weird, but I was walking in our neighborhood ten years ago and the Lord told me that we were going to write a book. I said, “Great. Just tell me when and what it is going to be about. Five years later after blogging a few times a week, I sat down to see if I could put some of my writings together in a book. Over the next few years I submitted a rough manuscript to a dozen publishing houses, only to receive kind rejection letters. The project seemed to be stalling when eighteen months ago a local editor took interest. She was honest with me after she read the manuscript, “Shawn, there are three things you need to be a good writer. Craft, Structure and Concept. You have one of these three. Thankfully it is the one we can’t teach, Craft. We can teach you the other two.” And with that, we were off to the next phase of the project, which turned out to be fully re-writing the book together with the team and Inspirit Literally Solutions.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I believe that once a person believes the truth about who God is and who they are, and I mean really believe, as it move the idea from the head to the heart, everything changes!
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? I am a flat different person than I was ten years ago when this book was just an idea. Since I began working on the project five years ago, the book has given me an outlet to process the changes that have been happening in my as I continue to learn and a deeper and deeper level that I am loved by God. The past 15 months of working with the editing team have been a thrill. I have learned so much about how to write a book, and the effort and discipline it takes to stay with the process even when I wanted to walk away.
My wife and I, along with our kids have been catapulted into the biggest belief journey of our lives with Anna (wife) being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer seven months ago. I put the project down for three months and then had to ask myself if I can join the reader and ask myself the question once again that Jesus asks two blind men in Matt 9, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (v.28) My response, along with Anna and our family and friends is the same as the two men that day who were in conversations with Jesus, “Yes Lord.”
Well, there you go! Shawn’s book is full of truth and packs a real punch, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, leave a comment below for your chance to win. Also, if you’re the praying type, do keep Shawn, Anna and their kids in your prayers, especially for Anna’s full recovery. Contest ends on Friday, January 12th. Good luck!
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