I got fired.
Really, I think the term that companies prefer to use is to say that I was “Let Go.” Letting someone go makes us feel like perhaps we are simply pushing their ship back from a dock to release them to bigger and better things. You have the whole ocean ahead of you and the directions and possibilities are limitless. You let people go so that you don’t hold them back. Letting go is extending the grace of a sort of freedom.
Getting fired is being released when you didn’t even see it coming.
And if I’m honest there is a freedom in it all, but even the freedom comes saddled with a new trap I’m battling now that seems to walk closely alongside of that “letting go.”
I feel rejected and gutted to my core.
Now listen, my theology is good and solid enough that this doesn’t attack what I KNOW…that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that the God of all Creation loves me and is pleased with me. I KNOW that Jesus would have died just for me even if I was all that was left to die for. I KNOW in my bones what is true. And I KNOW that is enough.
But right now I’m not questioning what I KNOW… I’m struggling desperately with how I FEEL. And how I FEEL is completely rejected and tossed to the curb.
And the why I’m feeling this way will make sense to some but seem potentially even frivolous and first worldly to others. Because how I FEEL now is linked not to who I am so much as it is to what I DO.
I didn’t really know that I was a writer until a few years ago. I always knew that if I needed to sort something out in my mind or my heart or even in a relationship, that the best way for me to express myself most articulately and thoroughly was to write. You have to sort through things enough to make sense of them when you write. And so while I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing, it seems it is what I’ve always done.
But I’m an extrovert and also a verbal processor, and those things didn’t ever seem to go with “writer” in my mind I guess. Besides, if I was writing, what on earth would I say? I never actually gave it much thought til after I had been doing it for awhile. The point is, it became what I do, but I guess partly now I realize that it is part of who I am. I love words and the way they have the capacity to change everything.
I never meant to write a book. It wasn’t ever a dream, and by the time I was doing it, I was still trying to process what lead up to it. Even though it has spanned the last four years, it still all happened in a blur. More than eighteen months later, I’m just now getting my head around the fact that I wrote a book at all.
But in the midst of those years of figuring out and fighting to process life enough to put it into words that would make sense to others, I guess I discovered pieces of myself that have been somewhat buried over most of my life. And there I found a freedom too.
I signed a two book deal in 2014. My first book took me nearly two years to sort out and put into words that are now bound into pages and sitting on shelves around the country. I turned myself inside-out and upside-down to get those words out and into your hands. And throughout the process, the company I was publishing with was undergoing some major internal changes.
Of course when I signed on, green and bright-eyed as I was, I didn’t even know about those things because they weren’t really in motion at the time. But once the motion began, it has kept going.
The end result is that I was there during the changes and change impacts everyone for better or for worse.
It’s good though, in the midst of change and upheaval, when someone eventually gets their bearings and can right the ship they’ve been sailing on tossing waves. The thing is though, sometimes to right a ship, you have to throw the extra weight overboard.
The Lord brings to mind the story of Jonah. The seas were raging and the ship was tossing, and the men start more or less crying out “How do we make it stop?!” Jonah knows what needs to happen, says to throw him overboard, and so they do, and then the seas calm.
Now Jonah had disobeyed God which made the seas churn around him, but for the sake of my story, we aren’t going to think about that part. To my knowledge here there haven’t been any sins that have brought on the wild seas. Sometimes the wind just blows different directions and chop happens. My point for right now is that sometimes you have to toss out some of the weight that’s messing up the float of the ship in order to right it.
I’m not the ship though in this story… I guess I’m the weight.
For almost 150 years, the publisher of my first book Curious Faith, had focused on publishing resources and church curriculum. In my understanding of their history, trade books, the kind I apparently am writing, are a more recent venture in the company’s long tradition. The short version of the story is that in order to sail most rightly, they have decided to refocus their efforts on curriculum and church resources.
But that makes me dead weight.
And ten days out from turning in the nearly completed version of my second book, they needed to drop the weight.
Now here’s the thing and please let me be clear on this point… nobody here has done anything wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, and while it feels like complete poop, they really haven’t done anything wrong either. They’re trying to do what is right for them, even if it FEELS wrong to me.
But here is the part that feels SO VERY HARD now. I am just a couple of weeks out from completing a book that I’ve spent an entire year writing, and now I’m sending that offering out to see if anyone else will want it.
These words now are the first ones I’ve really written since I was released almost 2 months ago. I’ve been trying to sort through the feelings so that I can put some of them into words.
But here today, I’m sitting now square in the face of some more very painful rejection. And when I say “facing”, I don’t just mean the potential of it and the fear that looms ahead in a nebulous future. I mean plain and simple, “thank you but no” responses coming back to stomach.
My stomach hurts. It feels like a virus that leaves you in sweats pressing your face into the cold tile at the base of a toilet. Like all the energy you had a little bit ago just violently erupted from your body and now you’re just empty and curled in a ball on the bathroom floor.
It feels like that.
Yesterday I got a rejection from a team of people I highly esteem, a group I’ve known for a few years, and a company that also has a long tradition of solid publishing. They said that they enjoy me personally, like my writing, think the topic of my next book is needed and that I actually live my message, but the hard and honest truth is that my very first book didn’t sell enough copies for them to make me a gamble worth taking.
Maybe I’m not a gamble worth taking. Not their words… mine. Not really my words either… satan’s.
And again, I KNOW…that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that the God of all Creation loves me and is pleased with me. I KNOW that Jesus would have died just for me even if I was all that was left to die for. I KNOW in my bones what is true. And I KNOW that is enough.
I want to blame the tossing waves of a ship I was sailing in. I want to blame God. I want to blame my own incapacity to be what an industry says is enough, even though my Heavenly Father says I already am. I want to cry and yell and eat all the chocolate candies. I want to be enough.
But this just is what it is and I am desperately soaking in the knowledge that I actually AM enough when I stand before the Lord. Even when the world tells me that there are pieces of me that aren’t enough for them.
I am still enough… because He is always enough. I’ll just keeping saying what I know, because eventually I know I’ll feel it too.
I am enough.
And in case maybe you’re struggling with something as well, keep saying it…reminding yourself that you are enough too.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Cor 3:4-6
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor 12:9-10