There’s nothing better than immersing myself in a great book and coming away with new friends. If a beautiful romance is introduced in those pages, even better. A book like that will run through my mind for weeks after I read it. Unfortunately, there are also those times when I settle in to read a love story only to find that it doesn’t meet my expectations. I want the feelings written into the words to be deep, believable, and…of course…romantic.
Real life confession time: My husband’s not an incurable romantic.
Oh, he has his endearingly unforgettable moments, to be sure. He once filled my entire bedroom floor with pink and white balloons on my birthday. For our fifteenth anniversary, he sent me fifteen lavender roses (my favorite color). He read every word of all four of my books in The Camdyn Series. For a man who doesn’t read, that’s a grand gesture.
But…there was also the Christmas Eve that we were at my parents’ house, and he suddenly sat up in bed and blurted, “I forgot to get you a present!” Forgetting your wife at Christmas is pretty entrenched in not romantic enough territory. If we were on a television sitcom, I’m pretty sure that mistake would have earned him a couple nights on the couch, if not a trip to the doghouse.
Somehow, I managed to be gracious and forgiving that night, and it didn’t sting as badly as it should have. The next day, his mother gave me a beautiful pink pea coat that I still treasure. He was going to buy me that gift, but gave his mom the idea so she would get the credit. That Christmas and my not romantic enough husband gave me a great memory of my mother-in-law that I’ve cherished since she passed away a decade ago.
My home church is going through a series of messages right now titled “I’m Not _____ Enough.” The idea of abandoning the tendency to compare myself with others has been especially timely for me. For some, the statement might look something like I’m not thin enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not smart enough. The notion of not living up to physical ideals is one that many of us struggle with from time to time, but lately, another vein of comparison has been plaguing me.
I’m not successful enough. I’m not popular enough. I’m not visible enough.
This writing journey has been very rewarding, but it’s also been disheartening at times. When I see another author experiencing success that feels elusive to me or receiving accolades for their work, it’s hard not to filter the way I see things through a lens of comparison. Even on my very best days, someone is going to be doing better, selling more, receiving more recognition.
It’s inevitable that I’m going to have those momentary pangs of jealousy in comparing myself to others—those instances where I think, “Why not me?” Ultimately, though, I have a choice in how I’m going to respond. Will I sulk and believe that my situation is somehow not enough, or will I sit back and smile, knowing that my individual journey will ultimately be more than I imagine?
Even more important, when I’m on the verge of slipping into that not enough mindset, I wonder what God’s thinking. The same God who created the vast expanse of the universe chose to make me fall awkwardly between petite and average height. The God who painted the stars in the sky gave me a mind that teems with words, but didn’t bless me with the ability to express them verbally. If He took such care in the intricate design of the smallest flower, surely He wants me to remain uniquely one-of-a-kind. Comparing myself to anyone else is only going to cheapen what He’s doing in my life.
So, if you see me on the street, I won’t be whining about the fact that I’m not tall enough or not eloquent enough. I’ll be wearing my high heels so my pants don’t drag the ground, and I’ll probably stumble over my words when you talk to me, but I’ll try very hard not to compare myself to you.
My life is far from not romantic enough.
The creator of the universe loves me, and He loves you. In a world of not enough, that’s everything.
Coincidentally, if you’re interested in a romantic guy, you might want to meet Cole Parker. :) You can find him in the first novel of The Camdyn Series, A Reason to Run.