William Paul Young, author of “The Shack,” joins Kurt Wallace in a series of interviews to discuss aspects of the book that has sold over 18 million copies worldwide.
In part 5 of this interview, “The process of surrender explained,” Paul shares different parts of his 11 year journey and the key motivators which brought him to facing himself and writing “The Shack.”
Kurt Wallace for Rare: This is a next in a series of conversations with William Paul Young, author of “The Shack.” To hear more, please see the links below.
In your eleven-year journey, going through the process of surrendering and dealing with and facing these different things, what is the primary thing that made this happen for you?
William Paul Young: Oh, boy. There’s a few of them.
One is I’m married to a woman who is not a meek, mild, submitted woman. She and her five sisters are called The Force, right? And she has two brothers as well. They are Minnesota, North Dakota, salt-of-the-earth folks. And, you know, she didn’t know you could be more than one thing. I’m a religious kid. I’ve been a different thing in every environment I’ve ever been in. You know, I’m totally disintegrated in that sense. And so part of what saved me was that I’m married to a woman who was a fury, and she refused to not come after every piece of something in my life that she thought was wrong. So, her fury, plus other people who were in the middle of this process with me, as much shame as I think where a lot of us are driven by shame, as much shame there was in my life, there were people like Scott Mitchell, people that were in this process with me — my friends — guys in my life that I could say, “Okay, I’m stuck. I’m here.”
And, you know, there’s one other little piece in this that I think is really significant. I began just taking one day at a time, which isn’t an AA thing as well, it’s a Jesus thing. It’s like, hey, you get grace for one day. Don’t try to spend real grace — today’s grace — on imaginations that don’t even exist. And I had spent most of my life, projecting fear-based imaginations, dragging those imaginations into the present and then trying to control my relationships, so that the things that I was afraid of wouldn’t happen. And I was running away from the present into imaginations of the future that don’t even exist — spending today’s grace on something that wasn’t even real. And so, part of this process was shrinking everything back to just today — just today. I only have today. I don’t even know if I’ll be there tomorrow on imaginations that do not even exist.
And that, learning to live inside, okay, can I make it through the next six hours or eight hours? Am I being asked to make decisions today that I don’t have a capacity to do it, because they’re part of these imaginations? I’m not being asked. So let’s put those aside. Let me put one foot in front of the other. It’s an excruciating process to deal with your own crap, you know? It’s worth the work but man. I never want to go through that kind of dismantling again, you know? And even though, I love the results on this side of it. It was horrible. It was painful. It was awful, it was all my shame I had to be dealt with, I had to walk through the history and memory, and oh my gosh. And it’s not there isn’t finished work. There’s lots of little nuances and peeper and little pieces of the lies that emerge here and there. Nothing like the major reconstruction. And that is the imagery of The Shack – the house on the inside that people help you build. And a lot of us, we didn’t get good help, and so it just became the place where we stored our addictions and hid our secrets and filled us with shame. And we didn’t want anybody in there, because we thought they’d end up hating us the way we already did. So, that kind of exposure and that kind of process — not fun but worth it.
Kurt Wallace for Rare: I totally relate to that. The book is “The Shack.” William P. Young, and I really appreciate you spending some time with us today on Rare to discuss these aspects of your life and the book, and the book’s relationship with the rest of the world. Thank you for being with us.
William Paul Young: Well Kurt, thank you. Again, I love being inside these conversations — don’t understand them — grateful, very thankful, and so thank you.