Craving More of Jesus: A Q&A with Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Acadamy and the UCLA Anderson School of Business. He lives in North Virginia with his wife, Anna, and is the author of the newly-released Crave: Wanting So Much More of God.

But if there’s one thing you need to know about him, it’s that he really loves Jesus and wants you to love Him, too.

(Okay, maybe that’s two things.)

Chris and his publisher, Harvest House, were kind enough to include me in the blog tour in support of the book, and he has graciously agreed to take part in a short Q&A.

Enjoy the interview and look for the review tomorrow.

What was the greatest challenge you faced writing this book?

Writing this book was a tremendous joy and an enormous challenge. I think there are two ways to get at this, and there’s nuance to both.

In one way, the actual writing was both easy and hard—easy because the words often just seemed to flow onto the page, and hard because going back and putting those words into their final form for the book was a slow, painful process. I once heard that the hardest part of writing is in the re-writing, and I’ve found this to be true. So the two years it took to rewrite the book (twice) posed a huge challenge to my ability to be a good disciple, husband, worker, and friend.

In another way, the writing of this book opened up the sinfulness of my heart in entirely new ways. I never knew how much I longed for affirmation from people rather than God. I never knew how hard it would be to accept praise on God’s behalf for the gift He has given me to be used for His glory. I never knew how self-absorbed I would become during the promotional phase of the book. Dealing with this kind of sin has been a challenge as well, but one I am embracing, through confession and meditation, as a means towards greater Christ-likeness.

What was the best part of writing Crave?

People like you are the best part of this book. My goal in writing is to make much of Jesus, and having people like you read it and engage with it are bringing me great joy.

But this is also the hard part about being an author. I always assumed that authors had great self-esteem because of all the people who read them, but I’m now beginning to see it’s a lonely profession in many ways. I’ve been receiving encouraging emails and tweets and reviews, but I don’t get to see the fruit that is born in the life of readers in an intimate kind of way.

Which I think is ultimately the point. I don’t want to write for the approval of others. I want to write out of obedience, with a heart of faith that trusts in God’s workings in the hearts of readers, because He is the one who is ultimately doing the work. And I want Him to receive the glory from it all. Your post on encouraging a mentor was actually a great help to me in this.

Was there anything that you wanted to include that didn’t make the cut?

The published version of the book ended up being around 65,000 words, and there were another 50,000 words that didn’t make the final cut. The first version of the book that I finished in 2007 (with the now-silly working title of As God Gets Big) shares perhaps 25% of the words that make up Crave. I was amazed to find how many of the starting thoughts didn’t fit quite right at the end.

One notable chapter that I cut was entitled Hell, and it was a hard look at a hard subject. I really felt this was an important subject to cover, particularly because it’s a subject under attack today in many respects. But at the end of the day, this chapter just didn’t fit with progression of Crave, so it had to go.

What surprised you most about the process of writing Crave?

I think I was most surprised by the length of time it took to get to today. I put my first words down on paper in the Fall of 2005, and we didn’t put this book out until Jan 1, 2010. That’s a little over 4 years of praying, investing, writing, editing, rewriting, cutting, laughing, crying, and all the other parts of this process. My wife has been a great editor and sounding board for me as a writer, and my family and friends have been a great support as well. And it’s been a delight to work with the folks at Harvest House Publishers on this book, and I’m grateful to join with them in proclaiming Jesus as the answer to every human need.

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?

I would spend more time with Jesus than I did as I wrote this book. And I would spend more time with my wife as well. There’s a balance that I need to find in order to be the kind of disciple and husband, and perhaps one day father, who has something to say that is worth reading.

If I continue to neglect the primacy of my relationship with Jesus, I suspect that words of any lasting value will run dry. And if I continue to neglect the importance of putting my family as the clear #2 in my life, then I won’t be any kind of man worth listening to.

What’s next for you? Is there another book on the horizon or are you hoping to enjoy “being done” for a while?

I will be continuing to support the launch of Crave through radio interviews and blog interviews for the next month or two. And I will be continuing to proclaim Jesus as the greatest satisfaction to our soul’s deepest cravings over at Crave Something More.

As far as a next book goes, I do have something in mind that I had been working on that was put on hold over the last few months due to the launch of this book. It’s something I’ll pick up again in a month or two, and I’m really excited about diving into the subject. I’ll save some of the details for later, but it’s ultimately an examination of what it looks like to be a believer caught between two worlds—the “now” of this world and the “then” of the next.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m grateful for folks like you who have taken the time to read through this book. And I’m grateful we both serve a God worth writing about!

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