Tim Challies|11:03 am CT

In, the Towel is Thrown

This is the post I haven’t wanted to write, the one that has made me choke down my pride. And yet here it is.

I’m throwing in the towel. Maybe that’s not quite the right way of saying it, so let me say it this way: I’m shutting down the 10MillionWords project. Life has changed a lot over the past few months and I can see that something is going to have to give–at least something will have to give if I am to do and do well all that I’ve been called to. After talking to my wife, after talking to those who care for my soul, I’ve decided that 10MillionWords is going to have to go.

There are two broad reasons.

When I began this project I assumed that writing my second book would be a repeat of writing my first. That has proven naive. This second book, though I’m largely enjoy writing it, has proven a much greater challenge. I am genuinely grateful for such a challenge. It has taught me a lot about myself, about my own limitations, and about the way I presume ease and can react with despair against difficulty. I’ll conquer the book, I’m confident. But it is taking more thought, more effort, more time than I had imagined or assumed. Most of all, it’s taking more energy and more brain power. And I feel like all the reading of 10MillionWords is sapping my limited brain power reserves. If I am going to write an excellent book, I’ll need to tap the parts of my brain that are currently consumed with this project.

Secondly, last Sunday the members of my church called me to serve them as an elder. Though this was not entirely unexpected as I’ve been “under examination” for some time now, the reality and gravity of this new position have only just struck me now that it’s that close to becoming reality. That open-ended time line to move into leadership and to be responsible for the care of their souls has suddenly become a date circled on a calendar–May 16, the day I will be ordained. I want to be able to add that responsibility and that privilege to my life with as much ease and as little conflict as possible. And I don’t see how I could excel at that while still maintaining the reading load. If I am to be an elder who serves the Lord by serving the church, I’ll need that time back.

And so I am stepping away from it, just like that. Right now. Today.

This has been a fascinating project and I’m genuinely grieved and humbled to be giving it up. Partly out of genuine interest, partly out of stubbornness, partly out of pride (maybe mostly out of pride), I’ve wanted to hold on to it. But I am confident in the wisdom of walking away. I’ll miss the reading–truly I will. I enjoyed having a reason to read books that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. I’ve learned a lot about the world, about society, about culture, about worldview, about Ozzy Osbourne and Chelsey Handler. But I’ve also learned about myself and what I just can’t do based on the way life has changed even since January when this project kicked off.

And so I extend my apologies to the faithful readers who have been enjoying this reviews. And I bid you farewell. I’ll see you over at challies.com, I’m sure.

Categories: 10MillionWords

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