Learning to Be All the Things

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve taken a break from Beyond Waiting for a season. I had been pursuing other things for a while, and this just seemed to be taking up more time I didn’t feel I had to spend. And, to be honest, there was always The Fear.

The Fear has been there since the idea for Beyond Waiting first sprouted in my mind. The Fear that nonfiction was out of my comfort zone. The Fear that my voice would just be adding to the noise (because there is a lot of noise when it comes to singleness and praying God will bring the right man along soon). The Fear of branding.

That was one thing I had learned about the publishing industry. You had to be branded, like cattle, which sounds like a painful and demeaning exercise to me. I was scared of it anyway—to be crammed so precisely inside a box and confined to writing in a way my readers would expect. I had bigger dreams than that. I read all the things and I wanted to write all the things.

Except this thing. Because if there was one thing I knew for certain, even at eighteen years old, it was that I did not want to be branded as the Singleness Guru.

Still, in obedience—often begrudging obedience—I wrote the book, published it through ANM Press, and left God to do the rest. That was part of the deal. I would write it and He would market it, and I wouldn’t have to worry my pretty little head about what became of Beyond Waiting.

I moved on with my life, trying to leave that book in the past as much as conviction would deem possible. I started writing what I always wanted to write. It was only fair, I reasoned.

In writing fiction, I’ve managed to push everything else aside. I told myself my moments were better sent ironing the wrinkles out of this novel I’ve created. I blamed Time. I blamed Priorities and Calling and a handful of fictional characters who pop into my thoughts at any given moment.

But I never blamed The Fear. And I certainly never blamed Resentment.

Yes, in many ways, I resent writing Beyond Waiting. I resent that this is the work that declared me “published.” I resent that I’m going to have to try explaining it to a secular publisher some day. I resent that it might make the marketing people want to publish me under a pen name. You guys had better believe I’ve spent the last month praying I’m married or at least engaged before my first novel comes out… just in case I need an alternate name that is, in fact, my own.

That’s how much I resent Beyond Waiting.

But this morning… This morning I got online and I thought to myself, “I really should check the Beyond Waiting email. It probably has tons of junk that needs cleaned out.”

And it did. I deleted no fewer than forty-three emails. But there were also a rare couple of gems in there. Two people had popped in to tell me how they had just become acquainted with my words.

I turned my rolling eyes heavenward. “You would work like that. You would wait until I have nothing new to say. You would introduce someone to an article I wrote four years ago and then have her tell me it was still fresh and relevant to her today.”

God laughed, because sometimes He’s a little too pleased with His clever ways. But then He said something serious, a hint of that smile still tugging at His lips. “Rebekah, you try so hard to compartmentalize your life. I want you to be all the things.”

I know there’s a verse in 1 Corinthians about being all things to all people, but I thought that was about meeting people where they are at. So here I am, arguing with God about the proper interpretation of that verse—okay, whatever, God, just change the meaning as You see fit—and finally concluding with: “I’m not big enough!”

“But I AM.”

I AM. It’s a name, it’s a statement, it’s a fragment for crying out loud. I AM… what? What exactly are You? God’s the only person I know who can perfectly sum Himself up without even bothering to finish that sentence.

I AM.

You are. You are, You are, You are.

And because He is, I have far more power than I ever gave myself credit for. But then, I don’t deserve the credit anyway.

Lately, I’ve been writing for myself. I mean, I hope one day the words I’ve been painstakingly crafting will be shared with the world, but for the moment, they’re mine alone. And I’ve gotten pretty selfish in my unsharing.

But if there’s one thing I agree with God on this morning, it’s that He didn’t give me words so I could lock them away. As this stunning article I read just yesterday informed me, “Nothing beautiful belongs behind barbs.”

So I’ll be back, dear ones, with the words I’ve been so hesitant to say. And Katie and Rebekah, I fully intend to respond to your emails personally, because they are beautiful, and you are beautiful, and you’ve reminded me of  the reason I’m on this earth.

I’m truly and finally thankful for this space and the people who make it worth coming home to. See you soon, lovelies.

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