When God’s Plans Aren’t Yours
I never thought I’d be an author. Looking back over my childhood dreams, I don’t remember ever fondly dwelling over the day when someday, someday I would have a published book. I think I thought about it once or twice, but it wasn’t a major aspiration of mine. I had other things I was interested in—more important things.
If you had asked me two years ago, at the start of my high school education, what my plans for life were, writing would not be high on the radar. I was a dedicated pianist, and I had a four year plan for winning scholarships and going to a music conservatory. I practiced the piano at least an hour a day, and did all kinds of extra studying and writing on the history of music. When I was in eighth grade I started teaching piano, and it just kind of took off. Music was my life.
But I also wrote. I wrote on my bed at night when it was too late to do anything else without disturbing my family. And I loved to write, but it wasn’t super important to me. Actually, it was pretty private. If you were to walk up to any of my friends at the time and ask them “Hey, did you know that Rachel Coker writes?” they would probably shake their heads in disinterest. I knew people who talked about their interest in writing all the time, but I just wasn’t one of them. I was the girl who played piano, not the girl who wrote novels.
When I finished writing Interrupted, the truth was I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Here I had this nearly full length novel that I had spent months writing and thought was pretty good, but what was supposed to happen now? Would I just put it away into some folder on my laptop and write something new. It didn’t seem right to spend so much time and energy doing something that would reap no rewards. So I figured maybe I’d try to get it published by some small publisher or something. Or maybe just send it to an agent who would encourage me and make me write something better for him in the future.
The first time Bill (my agent) called me, I was floored. Things were happening. A little too quickly, I might add. I never really had much time to soak in that my book might be published at all before we were getting e-mails from Zondervan, telling us to expect a contract.
I think that my initial reaction was surprise. And then maybe fear. For the first time ever, my life was not going according to my plan. My four year plan for a music scholarship seemed pretty much shot, with everyone telling me I didn’t really have to go to college anymore. And the possibility of telling people about my book also freaked me out. What if they laughed or thought it sounded lame? Or, even worse, what if they thought it sounded wonderful and then read the book and found it laughable?
A lot of my fears are still there. My heart still races every time my mom or someone else mentions my book to someone. I still dread describing my story, because I think it sounds a lot lamer in theory than on paper. But something else is there now that wasn’t there when I first got the call from Zondervan. And that is delight.
Delight because I’ve finally realized that having a book published is a good thing. Yes, it’s scary, and yes, it’s different than anything I ever thought might happen to me. But it’s also wonderful. It means that I can write—and make money at it! It means that I can touch people with my writing, and hopefully lead them to a better understanding of Christ and the Gospel.
Really, when I think about it, I don’t know that there is many other things I would want to do in life than write. I love music, but I really do love writing. And I feel like, at least right now, it is God’s plan for me. And there is no better place to be than in the will of God. 🙂