Okay, I know what some of you may or may not be thinking …
“Anna, you go back to the states for Christmas, disappear from blog world for a month and then re-enter by titling a blog “teen paranormal romance”? Yes, yes I did and yes that just happened. However… I assure you if you read the entirety of this blog, you will see that somehow, teen paranormal romance and my experience home are more closely related than I’d like to admit. (To those who are now terrified: let me ease your skepticism by telling you that this has nothing to do with being 28 and wishing I were a teenager, nor does it have to do with paranormal activity. It’s not about romance and certainly not about paranormal romance. Are you in?) If so, continue reading. If not, would it be any consolation to you that I will not at any point in this blog, bring up the names “Edward” or “Jacob”?
Today I went to Barnes and Noble (often times both incorrectly and affectionately pronounced Barnes and Noble'(s) ) and walked around aimlessly for a while as I normally do when I’m home. Barnes and Noble, has always been a place (IMHO) that fosters the ultimate feeling of relaxation and chillness. I enjoy reading, I love coffee and I love the comfy chairs. (HOWEVER this time, I noticed that all things comfy, have been removed from B&N and have been replaced with wooden benches and other wooden things referred to as chairs. Two thoughts on that: that was a stupid move and may the comfy chairs rest in peace.) Anyway, tonight as I meandered through B&N for a while, I glanced at some magazines, scanned some classics, looked through the games that all cost $30, and flipped through some books in the “Christian Inspiration” section including but not limited to books like “Christian gardening”. Overall, the fostering of relaxation and chillness rested happily in my heart…Until……
I came across a rather large section of books entitled “Teen Paranormal Romance”. My immediate thought? What IS this? Is this a joke? The naivety in my heart believed that, that one movie with those 2 guys that I promised not to mention, was in fact the only “paranormal romance” book of its kind. I was wrong and tonight confirmed my wrongness by a few hundred books. In my heart, I began to feel angry that a whole section in the bookstore would be dedicated to this genre and angry that these are the kinds of books and fantasy stories that are being implemented into young readers minds and hearts. Obviously the demand must be massive for such a large section of these books, and as I began to think more and more about the demand, I started to ask the obvious question: “WHY is the demand so large? I then started thinking about how ridiculous it is that people would even enjoy these books. How can young readers enjoy romance books with a something COMPLETELY and TOTALLY unrealistic. How can they enjoy books that are not their reality and that could possibly allow their current reality to become jaded? How could one even finish the book and then think “wow, I feel good about that”?
The more I thought about this, the more I got angry, the more I got angry, the more I felt compelled to write out my thoughts and the more I wrote out my thoughts, the more I realized that I am not any different than the “young readers” who go to Barnes and Noble to buy a teen paranormal romance book.
As I have been home, I have experienced many emotions in my heart. There has been a huge tension in my heart of having lived in Asia for 15 months and then returning home on a 2 month furlough during the most commercialized season of the year. There has also been a huge tension in thinking about what I am actually doing and “what if my life looked differently… what if I made different decisions?” If I am honest, my greatest fear of coming back to the States was: “What if I come back and then do not want to return to Taiwan”. I am daily reminded of this fear as I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of very cool people doing very cool things for Jesus. The temptation for me has been to look at others dreams and visions, and get all cozy in a Barnes and Noble chair in another persons reality. Please do not get me wrong, I love Taiwan and definitely feel called there for a least a few years, but I am still just working through all of the awkwardness and culture-y things of being back in the States. The more I process, the more I find myself longing to just sit at the feet of Jesus and submit to Him all of my fears and uncomfortableness and awkwardness and questions and doubt and worries and desires.
So why am I no different than teen paranormal romance book buyer? Because some days, I give more attention to the “what-ifs” in my life rather than the reality of where God has called me at this moment in time. Is it okay to dream and process? Of course. But, I never want to be a woman that becomes jaded in my expectations of life, love, Jesus, etc. etc., and I never want to be a woman that dedicates a section of her heart to the “could have been’s”, “if only’s” and “what if’s” in life. I want to do what God has called me to do whole heartily in this season of my life, so that when I look back on this season I can say “wow, I feel good about that”.