Last week my schedule slowed down compliments of bronchitis, a sinus and ear infection. The day I felt the worst I laid low with the television remote by my side. First I watched The Proposal back-to-back, even though I’ve seen it multiple times. One movie I had not seen prior to my day in bed was 27 Dresses.
This movie starred Katherine Heigl as a woman who seemed doomed to be the eternal bridesmaid, and she had the 27 dresses to prove it. A writer named Kevin comes on the scene and asks how she can stand always being #2, sacrificing the attention and the best dress to the brides.
Kevin’s questions got me thinking. When it comes to ministry work and my writing, I’m the bridesmaid. Can you relate?
My husband I and shared our thoughts on the subject. We often are asked to substitute or lend a hand when a leader leaves, goes on vacation, or for whatever reason can’t be at their regular post. We’re both honored to be trusted and it’s important to us to serve with the same love, grace, and enthusiasm the original minister has. More than once well-meaning friends pull either my husband or me aside and ask if things changed, would we want the position? Or, if it’s already vacant, why aren’t we gunning for it?
Simply put, we like the #2 bridesmaid role. When it comes to leadership, bridesmaid types enjoy an end date to their duties. Bridesmaids keep the bride happy, plan a shower, purchase gifts, and help ensure the morning of the wedding goes well for the bride. They are standing up and saying they believe in the bride and the choice she is making. But when the reception ends, bridesmaids get to go home and forget the dress. Brides are just starting the biggest role of their life.
I enjoy knowing someone needs my help, but that I can return the reins back to them. I don’t make a great administrator, but I love being an encourager. When I give my time and talents to ministry, subbing or helping the main teacher, I’m standing up and believing in the leadership, just like a bridesmaid. Whether for a few short hours or in my husband’s case, a month or more, we like helping out. We love serving and making a difference to forward God’s Kingdom. But we’re happiest returning to our second (or lower) in command role.
Is there a time when being a bridesmaid isn’t always desirable?
Honestly? Yes. For me, as a writer.
I’m still the encourager, and I love passing on website links and article info to other writers. If I can catch dialogue that’s off in a critique or promote a book on my website, it’s a great feeling.
Until one year becomes three and the writers who asked me for beginner advice are now published authors. I’m thrilled for them, but there’s a part of me picturing myself in one of the hideous bridesmaid dresses. When, if ever, will I get to wear the big dress called author?
I’m blessed to have contributing author credits, but I now feel the itch to take my writing up a notch. This means taking classes, reading books, and implementing critiques on my own work. In the bride scenario I’m still dating, but I’d like to think it’s a commitment. Once I finish editing and research the agent process, perhaps I’ll be engaged. But like the bridesmaid smiling at the altar, it’s true.
One day I’d like to be a bride.
For now, I’ll wear my bridesmaid status in all the work I do and not take it for granted.
While I wait for the author call, I’ll be thankful I don’t have to wear a canary taffeta dress.
Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate