“Peace is something you’ll never experience if you keep letting the things you can’t control, control you.” – T. Shelton
How do you explain your worldview if it is the result of a painful childhood?
How do you share the abuse endured, damage done, a pain you then caused… in order to share the redemption, you eventually discovered?
These were questions Wm. Paul Young wrestled with as he matured and his family grew. His wife, Kim, knowing his struggles, suggested he write a book for their children to share his life’s journey and resulting faith.
During 40-minute train rides to work, Paul wrote his story not as an autobiography, but as a novel. The story took place not at his house, but at a desolate cabin in the mountains. He made himself not one character, but two. And he wrote about the encounter not with the person he expected to confront, but with three he hadn’t planned on encountering.
For Christmas 2005, he printed 15 copies at a local print shop. He gave a copy to each of his six children and the remaining to close friends. This gift was titled, The Shack.
Apprehensive the book may be lost in the busyness of the holidays, Paul was delighted his friends and children devoured it and was surprised and moved when they shared it with their friends, too.
Paul printed more copies as the buzz began to spread. Strangers began asking how to buy the book.
Paul, struggling to keep up with demand, reached out to 26 publishers with his book. All 26 turned him down.
Undeterred, he recruited friends who helped him self-publish 10,000 copies. Paul stored them in his garage and hoped to sell them in a year’s time. They sold in just weeks.
Then 20,000 more sold. Then 30,000 more. Within 18 months, a book intended as a love letter to his children sold more than 1.1 million copies. In the decade since The Shack has sold 22 million copies, has been translated into 50 languages and was turned into a movie, released in theaters last week.
I recently visited with Paul on the Live Inspired Podcast (it’s perhaps the most remarkable interview I’ve ever had the honor of being a part of. Please listen to it now. It will rock your world. Listen here.) and I asked: “To what do you attribute your book’s success?”
Paul shared that he thinks the book is evidence that miracles happen; that a dad, with no experience, budget, or network, could author a book for his kids and that 22 million others would read it.
He went on to share that the book validates something each of us struggles with in life: A mistake made, abuse done, tragedy endured, shame carried, sadness held or curiosity of how something good could come from something bad and how there could be a loving God allowing it all to happen in the first place.
Paul eventually shared that when you deal with shame, guilt, fear, and brokenness, you either strive to control the situation – the characters around you, what happened to you, and what will happen next – or you choose instead to let go, to trust and to be made even more beautiful through the experience. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]
His decision to trust not only freed him to write a book 50 years in the making for his children but allowed 22 million people to read along, too.
My friends, peace is something you’ll never experience if you keep letting the things you can’t control, control you.
Let go. Fight on. And know the best is yet to come.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
5 replies on “Things You Can’t Control with Wm. Paul Young”
Thank you for sharing this incredible information. The Shack is one of my favorite books! I did share this book with a very close friend of mine who suffered the loss of her son to suicide and struggled to live life with her daughter and husband. The Shack explores the ability to live for those still alive and not to give up on God! Thank you wm Paul Young for your gift to the world “The Shack”.
Thank you again God for giving us John Oleary! Today it is because of John I met Wm Paul Young and now I know the next book I am going to read–The Shack. When you John were so badly burned there were hundreds and hundreds of people praying for you. One day a woman came up to me and said, “why do you pray so hard for him. What kind of life could he possibly have?” Our prayers were answered and not only do you have a wonderful life, you inspire countless people and now you introduce us to other inspiring people who help us get thru every day of of this messy wonderful thing called life.” Susan mcLaughlin
Can not tell you how beautiful this was to read, Susan. Thanks for the prayers….and thanks for the encouragement! Stay on fire – – and keep living inspired!
Your article today, Monday March 6, 2017, made a comment, or alluded to, “How can a loving God allow a life to go through such hardship?” We are not able to comprehend God’s plan most of the time. But consider, if Paul’s life had not gone as it did (and with his wife’s motivation), he never would have written the book and never would have had the stamina to publish so many of them! As you say, John, “Live Inspired!”
Ray Adams — Thanks my friend for the note….Totally agree with you. Paul Young’s book helps people see EXACTLY what you’re describing. Thanks for the note and for sharing it! Have a great evening ad stay on fire — J