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Credits

Grammy award winning recording artist

1999 Grammy for Best Rock Christian Album; numerous other Grammy and Dove award nominations

 
Web Site
www.rsjames.com
 
Book
She: Safe, Healthy, Empowered -- The Woman You're Made to Be
 
WOMEN'S ISSUES

Rebecca St. James on the Power of 'She'

By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Producer

CBN.comAs a Christian woman, are you worn-out, frustrated, sapped, and joyless trying to find your place in today’s world as you balance your career, your home life, and your walk with the Lord? If so, then read on.

Grammy award winning recording artist Rebecca St. James has teamed up with Lynda Hunter Bjorklund to bring back the peace and purpose to women of God in a new book, SHE (Tyndale House), an acronym that stands for Safe, Healthy, Empowered. The book sheds light on key areas of a woman’s life -- safety, protection, intimacy, femininity, emotions, purity, mentoring, boundaries, and purpose -- confronting the lies women believe in each of these areas and replacing them with God’s truth. The scheduled nationwide release of SHE is November 1.

Earlier in August, I caught up with the busy singer by phone in-between her tour schedule to find out more about this book and how God has been working in Rebecca’s heart through her recent endeavors.

LAURA J. BAGBY: You are going to be busy in November. I was looking on your Web site. Almost every day during your Adoration Tour [with the Newsboys] you are going to be somewhere new.

REBECCA ST. JAMES: I am actually working during that time on the teen edition of the SHE book as well. It is going to be crazy! But I will have just come off of six weeks of sabbatical, so I think I will be pretty filled up at that time.

BAGBY: In your book SHE, you mention struggling with being exhausted and burnout, mostly from just grueling schedules on the road. How are you staying grounded in Christ these days?

ST. JAMES: Having daily time with God has always been my resource for encouragement spiritually. I also have a wonderful community of people that I am on the road with, and it is excellent just having a good amount of my family involved in my ministry. That definitely helps me stay in focus and helps me to have a good perspective.

But there are still days that I feel discouraged or attacked by the enemy. I faced a reasonable amount of that this year. One of the things that I have been speaking about quite often in my concerts is spiritual attack and being on guard against the three "D's" of distraction, discouragement, and discontent. It [burnout] is something that I have to be very aware of and giving more than what I have got inside emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.

BAGBY: It sounds like your book is a message for today's woman.

ST. JAMES: Yeah, I have seen a lot of overloaded women, including friends of mine who are in all different walks of life, either in the business world or married with kids. That seems to be a common theme. They often get overwhelmed or struggle with their schedules or the amount of pressure placed on them, and then they are really trying to be wholeheartedly committed to God and focused on Him in the midst of that. So I think the passion for me in this book was I wanted to bring hope and encouragement to these women.

BAGBY: On the beauty issue, I was amazed to learn that you struggled at one time with your self-esteem. I am sure a lot of people wonder why because you seem confident and you are attractive. I guess it is that age-old thing that women struggle with. How do you hope to help women overcome this same issue?

ST. JAMES: There is definitely comfort in being honest about that. I think every single entertainer, model, performer, actor, or actresses would say that they have struggled with their appearance because there is so much focus put on it when you are in this kind of work that it compounds any fears or insecurities that you have even more.

It is an issue that is compounded for every woman because we see so many pictures of seemingly flawless, beautifully shaped but still skinny women. A lot of it isn't even real, or they have hard to starve themselves to get there.

We [Rebecca and co-author Lynda] just want to shine some light on this subject and say that we struggle with it, as every woman does, but also say that God looks at so much more than that. We have got to find our security and our self-worth and our sense of being beautiful outside of what our culture thinks of us or comparing ourselves to magazines. We have got to go to Him and really believe what the Bible says.

Also, having my mentor speak into my life and say, 'No, Rebecca, you are believing a lie here in the area of beauty,' she has really affirmed me.

BAGBY: How do you go about getting a mentor?

ST. JAMES: Church is a wonderful place to start looking for a mentor, and respect for that person is crucial. You have to be able to admire that person's life, their walk with God, certain things about them that really stand out because you are not going to want to follow someone unless you respect them. I am not meaning following them in a distracting way or a wrong way, but in a similar way as Paul said: 'Follow me as I follow Jesus.' If you find someone that you admire and this person has qualities that you would like to be more of in your own life, pray about it first. If you still feel a peace to proceed, go to that person and ask. The key is to not be disappointed if the person is overwhelmed with their life or their load and to not take it personally if they are honest with you. Giving that person freedom and saying, 'I know that you may already have a whole bunch of people that you mentor, so please don't feel obligated to say yes, but you are somebody that I admire,' that person will feel complimented at the least.

BAGBY: Let's talk about femininity a little bit because we know it isn't just about outward beauty. In your book, you talk about what you call 'new feminism'. What does that mean?

ST. JAMES: The 'new feminism' is what God created women to be. I think we have had a warped view of that word because of what we have experienced it to be. To some level, a man-bashing, overly independent, hard, shut-off woman is the perspective that we get in our head when we think of feminism. It is almost like the 'new feminism', the God-honoring feminism, is the complete opposite of that. She is soft. She is warm. She is embracing of men in a very balanced, godly way -- not in a co-dependent way, but in a God-made-it-to-be-this-way way. We just really want to redefine it and look at the Bible and say, 'What does God say about women today and how are we, then, supposed to live according to that map?' That is what we go into in that chapter.

BAGBY: When you are professional, you have a career, you have got to make money, you got to pay the bills, it is hard to be soft and tender. It can be very difficult. Do you find that, too?

ST. JAMES: Yeah, I do. I face that a lot. Life just seems to deliver blows that want to make you hard, that want to make you try and overprotect yourself. I went through an experience with a friend where I just felt really lied to and deceived, and I was just crying about it and just experiencing all this grief. I realized I had two choices: I could either shut off completely to this person and never look at them again and make myself cold and protect myself instead of trusting God to protect me, or I could choose to grieve the situation but move on and stay soft. That is what I chose. I remember just saying to my mum, 'It is so hard to stay soft.'

You think of children today, they are forced to grow up so quickly, to face realities that kids decades ago weren't forced to face at such an early age. You think of the breakdown of the family, of parents going their different ways, the sexual pressures that they face, drugs and alcohol. It is like our culture wants to force this hardness on us from a very early age. On top of that, our gender wants to make us cold and hard.

It is something that is very difficult to fight, but I think God wants us to rest securely in Him above all and then also rest securely in the relationships, the families that He has put us in and the friendships that He has put us in and the church families that He has put us in.

BAGBY: I am very glad that you are a part of getting that message of purity out to people. I read somewhere that often when you speak about purity issues, listeners are very interested in your counter-cultural message. Why do you think people are interested in hearing your message today?

ST. JAMES: This is just my own perspective, but I think it is fascinating to people from any walk of life because it is so countercultural. Even if they don't believe in what I am talking about, they find it fascinating that I am being so in-your-face about it. I am saying that I am a virgin, that I am waiting. I am in my mid-20s. It is such a counter-cultural, going-against-the-flow message that is it fascinating.

But also I believe that deep down people do know that it is the right way to go, that deep down people do understand that this is the ideal and that I am living the ideal in waiting for my future husband and in waiting to give that special gift to him and going in to marriage not thinking about any other men that I have been with and not comparing my future husband to any other men. I think that deep down, whether they will acknowledge that or not, they do feel that and it causes respect in them.

I believe that the tide is really changing because I have been reading articles out of Australia and England just recently that there is a kind of new wave of young people who are choosing to wait, whether for faith-based reasons or not. It is not always for faith-based reasons because they are figuring out it is the smart way to go with STDs and AIDS and pregnancy outside of marriage. I really do think that there is this new wave of people who are choosing to wait.

BAGBY: If there was only one thing that you could tell women today as godly advice, what would it be?

ST. JAMES: Don’t let the enemy rip you off, don’t believe lies that our culture has sewn into us, and don’t believe necessarily what you read, what you see in media. Go to the Bible for your words of life. That is why I wanted to write this book is because it is looking at our culture and it is looking at what are lies and what is truth in these nine different areas and how can we be empowered to live as God’s Shes today.

BAGBY: Rebecca, where do you see God leading you next, or do you even know that yet?

ST. JAMES: I am actually in the middle of working on a new album right now, writing for it. It has been a busy year. I have been working on this new album this summer and it is going really well. I am very passionate and excited about making music almost more than ever right now. It is really a cool place. And the book, I really don’t know. I have had a lot more mainstream media opportunities this year than I have ever had, so it feels at some level like God is growing my platform in a new and different way. I feel a certain sense of anticipation like ‘be ready’ because with either the new album or the book or both there could be a whole new level of opportunities to speak about my faith and how I believe God wants to change the way we think and the way that we live and our lives.

BAGBY: In light of that, how can we pray for you?

ST. JAMES: For spiritual protection from the attack of the enemy. That has really been the biggest thing this year. People used to ask me, ‘Don’t you feel the cost of what you are doing? Man, Satan must be out to get you!’ I used to inwardly go, ‘Yeah, it definitely is hard at times. It costs, and you are away from friends and church home. It is an unusual life, but I don’t really feel too much of the spiritual stuff.’ But now, and I don’t know if it is just because my ministry has grown or the ministry reach has grown over this last year, but I have felt it like never before, just that heaviness of the attack and him trying to get in and really mess things up. Just pray for that. He is not succeeding!


Rebecca says she hopes to release her newest album, as yet untitled, by next summer.

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