As I get closer to publishing my collection of blogs, I’ve had to start thinking more seriously about my target audience, a title and potential ideas for a cover. I don’t like this part. It’s not in my gift set or why I started writing. Last week I talked to someone who has a degree in Marketing and asked for some ideas on how to spread the word about the upcoming book. She immediately asked me who my target audience was. Apparently “anyone and everyone” is not a useful answer. For marketing purposes I am apparently going to have to narrow it down. But in reality, I know my answer is right. I have personally heard from readers who are 46 year old married mom’s like me, as well as 75 yr old businessmen, 60 year old grandmas, and 25-70 year old singles. They are from all walks of life; authors, entrepreneurs, professors, doctors, homemakers, musicians, pastors, etc. And many of them think very differently from each other on matters of God and church and faith and spirituality. So how in the world can there be a common thread in a pool this vast? Let me back up a minute…
I was literally on my knees begging God for some clarity. I have been trying to discern what I write about so I can declare an audience. I consider cancer, faith and addiction to be some of my most repeated themes. But within that framework I cover control (over and over again), worry, fear, spirituality, purpose, and general life lessons that one can learn from Special Ed Pre-Schoolers. In other words, it’s impossible to pick one overarching theme. As usual, when I ask for an answer, He gives it. And this time it came to me immediately: “It’s not what you write about, it’s why you write about it.” I could just as easily write in a journal about all of this and keep it between me and God. Which, by the way, would be far less embarrassing. God already knows I am a nut-job. But I choose differently. I write it to YOU. I write it to you because God has put it on my heart to share my struggles so that you (regardless of your age, life-stage, marital status or views on God) don’t feel alone in yours. My belief is that God created us, and he created Eve to be with Adam because “it is not good for man to be alone.” That doesn’t mean that we never spend time by ourselves, it means that we were not designed to live in isolation. Secrets and shame keep us isolated.
We have a book in our house called Post-Secrets. It’s heart wrenching to read the entries. It is a compilation of confessions by people who were instructed to send in a post-card revealing “anything-as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.” One read, “Sometimes I wish that I was blind, just so I don’t have to look at myself everyday in the mirror.” Another, “I have so many secrets I don’t know which one to send in.” People are keeping secrets about themselves. If me sharing some of mine can help you come out of hiding about yours, then I am willing to go there. I am finding that plagues of the heart like worry and fear and anxiety and desire to fix, manage and control are universal struggles and do not discriminate. I don’t know about you, but I feel about 12 years old on the inside most of the time anyway.
I recognized this “why” in me when I had Leukemia. Specifically, after I lost my hair. When I was out in public, I was especially aware-searching, even-for others like me. Someone who might be wearing a dew rag or beanie or just plain rocking the bald head. I would always sidle up to them and start talking as if it were perfectly normal to have a personal conversation about a complete stranger’s health issues. But it was always received with gratitude. With an understanding that we shared the same disease. It was my way of asking “You too?” And then assuring them that “Me too.” We were not alone in our battle.
Every single time I write a blog, no matter the topic, I am saying the same: “You too? Me too.” You may feel crazy, lazy, guilty, fearful, faithless and hopelessly flawed and less-than, but you are not the only one. You may question God’s goodness, kindness, wisdom, purpose and capacity to love and forgive “someone like you”, but you’re not the only one who feels that way. Maybe it’s just the two of us (though I highly doubt it), but when we carry our brokenness with someone who understands, the burden is much lighter. It breaks our isolation and helps us live as we were created to live…together.
YOU TOO? ME TOO.