“…I have called you by name. You are mine…” Isaiah 43:1
I was next in line. My heart beat fast. I was about to meet one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott. I approached. She glanced at me and then looked down to write her name in my book.
“Hi Anne, I love your writing.”
“Thank you.” She completed her signature. The next person swooped in and I walked off.
She didn’t recognize me. How dare she not know me? I knew HER.
Fast forward a few years. I was in line to get the newest cookbook from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. My friend Molly had saved my place in line for 3 hours. We approached the table. My heart beat wildly.
“Hi! I love you and your cooking!!” Uh-oh. I think I yelled.
She looked at me with a tiny flash of fear. Was I a stalker? On drugs possibly?
Molly swooped in and told Ree that she, too, was from Oklahoma. They shared a brief but lovely conversation while I stood to the side.
The Pioneer Woman didn’t recognize me. In fact, I think I scared her. J
Last Friday night I was the author signing copies of my novel, Cecelia Jackson’s Last Chance. The line was long, not like a famous author, but definitely thrilling for me. I knew 99% of everyone there, but those I just met, I made a special effort to greet.
But here is the deal that really surprised me. As much as I absolutely LOVED Friday night, it won’t be my “happy” place. I’m in counseling about food obsession and in one exercise we were asked to envision a place in our minds where we were perfectly happy and at peace. The first thought that came to mind was my swing outside on my balcony. Days I’ve sat there and been still have brought me such inner joy. When I swing there, Jesus is beside me. It’s the perfect place to just be and regroup and hang out with the Lord.
Fulfilling a life-long dream of having a book signing with a long line was fantastic. I thank Jesus for it all. But it’s not my “place.” It’s not where I find the ultimate joy. I thought it might be, but it wasn’t.
Publishing my first novel and all this attention that comes with it is temporary. I get that. And maybe that’s why it took me so long to get here. Maybe God was waiting for me to get the significance of the swing and the insignificance of the book signing. It’s the difference between seeking approval from others and finding approval from the One. He is truly what matters to me more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I want all of you to buy several copies of my book and tell me you liked it. J But if you don’t, if no one buys this novel and it gets buried in a garage sale table, that is okay.
While someone digs through those books for a quarter each and picks up mine and thinks, “It looks okay for 25 cents,” I will be sitting on the swing with my Lord. And it will be enough because He always recognizes me.
He always recognizes you, too. Find your swing.