“Jen Hatmaker’s going to be on the Today Show this morning, do you know her,” H asked me through the suds of toothpaste and the purr of his electric toothbrush. I was standing at the sink, pulling my headphones out of my ears, sweat dripping down my back after an early morning walk.
“Oh, she is,” I said excitedly, “I love her and no, I don’t know her the way you are asking. I’m sure it’s about her blog post that went viral.”
H knows my writing friends by name now, though he’s never met any of them in person. It isn’t uncommon for him to read something on-line or in this case on television and recognize a writer’s name, then ask me if I know them. I take the liberty of showing him photos when the opportunity arises. It helps lessen the confusion when I talk about more than one person who shares the same name.
That’s what happened over the weekend, when we meandered through Barnes and Noble after eating salads on tall chairs and people watching behind our sunglasses. We were on a rare date night when I spotted Heather Kopp’s new book, Sober Mercies, stacked on a table among others. “Here’s Heather,” I said pointing to her picture on the inside jacket, “this is her new book, I can’t wait to read it.”
Then I pulled my phone from my purse, took an Instagram, shared it on Facebook and Twitter and tagged Heather in it. You knew that was coming, right?
As I scan the shelves of two small rows holding stacks of Christian titles, I realize that I know many of the authors personally since I started blogging just under two years ago. I’ve shared my writing on their websites, conversed through email, Skyped and texted with a few, even hugged the necks of some.
So why do I feel disconnected? Or is it that I fear disconnection?
“Oh look, there is Holley’s book,” I say pointing to You’re Made for a God Sized Dream on the top row. I turn the cover facing it outward on the shelf. “Ya know, the Christian writing world is actually quite small isn’t it?”
H nods; arches his eyebrows and smiles. Not front page news to him.
Sometimes I get caught up squinting through a porthole and miss standing in front of the picture window.
The same way I lose perspective when I falsely imagine the lives of other people and decide that I’m not enough in comparison.
Because when we compare ourselves, we are rarely enough.
You fill in the blank. I’m not _________ enough. Because we all have the blanks you know? That’s one of the fallacies of not enough-ville. We think everyone else is enough and we got the leftovers. Or we just got left, period. Or passed over.
There is a tendency for me to build an entire landscape from a patch of my own near-sighted perspective. And miss the truth.
In God’s economy, we are enough. Because He is enough.
Forget that? Yeah, me too.
So how do we reclaim what we know to be true? That we are enough, just the way we are today, sitting bare faced with two day old hair in pajamas at noon.
We don’t allow circumstances to bully us.
We tell ourselves the truth by steeping in The Truth.
And we talk to someone that we trust who will empathize with us. Not someone who will tell us what we want to hear or rush to fix. Just empathize and pray.
It’s in the place of community that our slanted perceptions right themselves and become clear pathways of perspective. And we become who God created us to be. Enough.
Sometimes empathy comes in a nod or the vulnerable Facebook status update of a blogger after an interview on the Today Show who says, “You guys! I did it! And I didn’t die! I was wearing dirty clothes, but whatever. Russell Brand and I chatted in between his trips to the bathroom to throw up. The hosts were AWESOME. I was a giant she-man among them. They are tiny people. Yay, Today Show!!”
And empathy can show up in your inbox too. Words of a friend who just happens to be the author of the book you held in your hands at a bookstore. The one who believes in you and your writing and tells you the truth:
I think as writers we make the mistake to think that if God is asking us to do something that he will then prove it by making it easy. He will prove it by making it successful. He will prove it by letting it happen quickly and feel like a miracle–TaDa! We think our sweet spot is the same thing as our comfort zone and the two have nothing to do with each other, you know?
Yes, I know. I’m grateful for the reminder.