Elizabeth Oates served as my intern more than ten years ago. Time flies! Today she’s a multi-published author with a new book out. She took some time recently to answer some questions.
SG: Elizabeth, I can’t believe we have known each other for fifteen years now. You came to seminary in 2001, and graduated in ‘05. Tell me what you have been doing since then.
EO: My husband and I moved from Dallas to Waco, where we’ve had three biological kids, ages 10, 8, and 6. We also have a sweet foster daughter who is 16 months old, and we are on track to adopt her sometime this spring. In between raising babies and running carpool, I’ve been writing, blogging, and speaking. I wrote my first book, Dealing with Divorce: Finding Direction When Your Parents Split Up, in 2009. And I just released my second book, If You Could See as Jesus Sees: Inspiration For a Life of Hope, Joy, and Purpose.
SG: It sounds like you juggle a lot between your family and your writing, which can intimidate some people. Do you find that others compare themselves to you? If so, how do you deal with that?
EO: Actually, I talk a lot about comparison, and feeling inadequate, incompetent, and discontent in my new book. The irony is that people can look at my life and think I have it all together, yet I look at others’ lives and fall into the same trap.
When people say to me, “I don’t know who you do it,” I tell them “You only see what I do. You don’t see what I don’t do.” And the list of what I don’t do is long: I don’t sew, I don’t garden, I don’t do oils, I don’t cook anything with more than four ingredients, I don’t do a book club. I have simplified my life to a few things, and I go deep there.
If we can focus on the few things God has called us to and do those well instead of comparing ourselves to what others are doing, I think we’ll find God will bless our efforts in whatever capacity we serve.
SG: What is your hope for this new book?
EO: My audience is women. And my ultimate hope is that women will stop seeing themselves as the world sees them, or even through their own skewed lens, and they will see themselves as Jesus sees them.
You can order If You Could See as Jesus Sees online. But you also might win it here. Subscribe to this blog, or leave a comment below, and I’ll draw the name of a winner on Jan. 29. Guys, maybe your local library would appreciate a copy. Or a special female in your life?