For Augusta University lecturer Rachel Balducci, writing books has become more than a hobby: It’s something that’s good for her soul. Balducci’s latest book, No Such Thing as Ordinary: Unlocking Your Extraordinary Life through Everyday Encounters with Jesus, was no exception.
A lecturer in Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Balducci is also a television co-host at CatholicTV, former newspaper columnist and book author. This is her fourth book, but the first one in which she describes much of her personal life.
The book’s theme is finding true joy in current circumstances.
“I think there’s this message right now that if you feel any emptiness in your life, that’s a sign something is wrong with your circumstances, and you should go out and find something that is your mission and your passion,” said Balducci.
“I’m all about that, but I also know there’s a God-sized hole in everyone that only God can fill.”
Balducci said another message of her book is that we find real peace in life when we stop seeking our own identity in what we do or in who others say we are.
“Look inside and be at peace with who you are, who God created you to be and the circumstances of your life. Even if you’re in a tough season, it won’t always be that way.”
A devoted Catholic and mother of six, Balducci drew on her own experiences and included some significant personal moments in the book.
“This was the first time a book was really personal for me,” said Balducci. “I remember getting to this one point where I share a story about some deep emotional and spiritual healing that I experienced, and I was like, ‘Am I going to tell this story?’ But I also realized if I really want to share the truth of this, then I wanted to share the story.”
One of those personal experiences was an anxious feeling that there was an adventure out there for her, but that it was passing her by because her children were young — and even as they got older, her restlessness persisted. She had gotten her master’s degree before having children and almost forgot she had it as they grew up, but it became a blessing later in life.
“When those doors started opening for me to use that degree, I enjoyed it more doing family and career in an order that worked best for my family. I know that looks different for everyone, but I wanted to share the story of peace I found when I started trusting God to line things up for me.”
Today, I had lunch with Rachel Balducci, a lecturer in communications in Pamplin College here at AU. She was very kind and gave me a copy of her latest book, No Such Thing As Ordinary. I didn’t plan it that way, but my new suit matches her book cover pretty well. pic.twitter.com/cgIXdXcEgz
— Neil MacKinnon (@aug_provost) July 1, 2022
Balducci said there is often temptation and pressure for women to try and do everything at one time, which can make life challenging.
“I know women can have it all and do it all,” said Balducci. “Personally, I started finding a lot more freedom when I stopped trying to do it all at the same time. I’ve been amazed to find there’s time for all these different adventures.”
She said although her book may be aimed more toward women, men can take a lot from it as well.
“The message for men in this book that they can relate to is the idea of ‘Is this all there is?’ Even when you’ve climbed the ladder, it’s still just you there. So I think we all have deep within us that question, ‘Is this all there is, and what all is going to bring me real happiness?’”
Balducci said years of writing a newspaper column and writing for her blog helped her realize some of the universal struggles women have, and the kinds of encouragement they seek. As she thought about the book, some affirmation came from sharing bits and pieces of her life on social media.
“The more I started to share parts of that, I could tell it resonated with people. I think ultimately I was so excited about all the good stuff God had done for me and brought me out of a really rough time. As a writer, you look for feedback about the message that people need to hear, and that’s how I felt about this book.”