(Thanks to everybody for your concern and prayers…hopefully this will explain.)
When you write a book about the heartbreaking, humiliating experience of being left at the altar, complete with advice on how to get over it and move forward, you better be darn sure you practice what you preach. Otherwise, you’re a fraud, an opportunist who only wrote what you thought other people wanted to hear in some phony attempt to make something positive out of something negative—lemonade out of lemons. In other words, to make yourself feel better.
Lately I’ve been wondering if I am, indeed, a fraud. In the past few months since my book came out, scores of women (and men) have written me telling me how much my story has meant to them—how they dog-eared pages, underlined sentences, and re-read it several times over because they had gotten so much hope from it. They would then, inevitably, tell me how good my ‘advice’ was, how they had taken it to heart, were practicing it in their own lives. You’d think it would feel good to hear that, and it did up until three months ago. Trust me, it doesn’t feel so good once you think you’re a fraud.
At the end of June, I unfortunately, became intimately acquainted with another type of rejection. I was fired. For the past 8 years I have produced, written, and hosted a t.v. show on the ABC affiliates in Atlanta, Orlando, and Charlotte which did so well right out of the gate (and up against Saturday Night Live, no less) that a syndicator sold us as a weekly news and entertainment show in nearly every top ten market. (The deal fell thru at the last minute when my station’s owner decided against it.) The point is, the show was popular and successful despite the fact we had basically no staff or resources, something I was pretty proud of.
I thought the station was proud of that too. So you can imagine the shock when they called me in out of the blue, with no warning (and that would include good ratings and glowing reviews) to tell me they were letting me go. In light of the current economic climate I wrongly interpreted the ax-ing to mean they were canceling the show. Nope, they were only canceling me.
It didn’t take long for the station to hire my replacement. A woman half my age (and I’m guessing half my salary) with skills (I’m told) befitting her lack of numerical maturity.
Was I bitter? You better believe it. Bitter, angry, hurt, you name it. In one fell swoop, the early years of barely making any money, carrying a camera (in heels) in the miserable, middle Georgia heat, the decades of working weekends and holidays, the missed time with my family, the stress of ratings and changing news directors—suddenly had no purpose. This was the job I did all that for, what I had sacrificed for, my dream job with a good salary, no weekends or holidays, no murders or fires, just a fun, creative, interesting culmination of a hard-fought career. I had earned that job. And not afraid to say it.
Which brings me to why I”m wondering if I’m a fraud. If I’m bitter and angry, does that mean I don’t really believe what I wrote in my book—all the things I claimed I had learned about myself, about God, and about getting over the horrible feelings of rejection? Wasn’t I the one who wrote “Rejection’s rejection no matter how it happens?” See what I mean? Fraud.
You see, a woman who meant what she said—that God can bring purpose out of every rejection—would be able to trust that and wait expectantly, excitedly even, for what lies ahead, no matter how unknown. But I couldn’t. The Enemy just kept reminding and reminding me of the mortgage that would be due every month, with no obvious way to pay it. Those thoughts would turn to anxiety and fear and probably a little depression and pretty soon I got thinking maybe I should give all those people who bought my book a refund.
And then, the other day I remembered someone is watching. Someone who had just been born when I was left at the altar all those years ago. Reed, my niece was watching, old enough now to travel with me thru this latest life-altering journey. What would she see? What would she learn about God? What lessons for her own life would she take away? Would I be someone to be admired—or pitied?
And so, I have decided to put on God’s full armor (see Ephesians 6, it’s really great imagery) and defend myself against the Enemy’s attacks. I’ll reject the lies that I”m too old, too tired, too beaten down to start over yet again. Instead, I’ll cling to God’s truth that He has a purpose and a plan for my life to give me hope and a future. I don’t have any illusion it’ll be easy, but heck, I wrote a whole book about it, it must have worked for me once.
So the question is: Can I practice what I preach? Can I pick myself up after this newest rejection and move forward and have the great life God intended? I better. A 12 year old girl is watching.