A couple of days back as I was preparing lunch for myself and the hubby was taking some time to finish some things up online (read: monitor all of my numbers and read reviews) I heard him shout with excitement from our dining table “Bae, you got your first bad review!”.
Now, a bit of background on this: I’d been waiting for this moment. I’d talked to my team about it and my book agent assured me the day would come.
I couldn’t really decide whether I was a glutton for punishment or a sucker for conflict (maybe a bit of both?) but I just wanted to hear more than positive things about the book.
As I stood in the kitchen he read to me what someone who said they’d been sent the book for a review, thought of it all.
This reviewer mentioned that there wasn’t a thing in the book that they “couldnt’ Google” and they went on explain that they were giving it “two” stars instead of “one” because there were a couple of positive things that they found interesting to them but other than that, to them, it was practically a flop.
To my surprise, even though I’d waited for this moment, I didn’t cry or even feel bad—I laughed. (not at this person, of course but more at what was to come) I actually found their use of language and explanation as to why they didn’t like the book quite creative to say the least and had great admiration for their ability to confidently and effectively “speak their mind”. (word nerd)
Here are a few things I am focusing on in all of this:
This book (nor I) is not for everyone.
Why, in the midst of criticism, it is crucial to stay focused.
You can’t Google your story. You have to tell that.
THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR EVERYONE
But there’s something in it for everyone. I have these highlighted in my profile on my Instagram feed but I thought it was important for me to expound a bit on this thought here. I know, to some of you, this probably made perfect sense but in an effort to be the excellent communicator I claim to be, I wanted to break this down a bit more here where I have more room and time and you all have way more space to process.
A long time ago when I was growing up in Alabama and being raised by my grandmother, one of the things I can still hear here saying to me over and over is “ you are not for everyone and that is ok”.
I’ve taken that with me well into my adulthood and it has served me well. In this case, very well.
I understand that while there are many who support me and Restoration House and the message that I attempt to spread there are likely a dozen more who are NOT here for it.
Guess what? I am absolutely fine with that! I know that for those who are not interested in what I share here, there are more who do and those are the people and you are the community of supporters I’d like to focus on. We all have our tribes and I trust that those who find value in what I share here and beyond will connect with it in a unique and special way. I also understand that even if other want to make it their personal mission to bash it, that it’s not personal.
I have to fight (sometimes) to detach myself from that lie so that I can move on into what God is and has called me to do here.
GOTTA STAY FOCUSED
If I am being honest, when the news of my first negative (but surely not the last) review came through, I was totally fine and have been but I’d be lying if I said that not even for one moment was I even slightly shaken by the thought that more were coming and that even though this one wasn’t that gentle, more would come that would make the one prior to it look like light work.
How many times in your life (I can’t even count for my own) have you been in the middle of one of the most amazing seasons or moments only to have it snatched away by something that really paled in comparison to the good thing? Because of our human nature, we tend to be drawn to the things that really should not capture our attention. Nine times out of ten, those are negatives. And don’t those things just seem to come at the most “convenient” times?
On that day, I had to make a conscious decision that I would not allow someone’s thoughts or opinions to destroy or take away from what was meant to be a time of celebration. One that I’ve worked two hard years to get to, mind you.
It is our responsibility to guard that. No matter what, I was and am determined to keep that joy. That peace. That fun. It is our responsibility to hold space for these moments. I am convinced that no one is going to take this away from me. Whether you are celebrating something like your new book or that you made it through the week without yelling at one of your kids. Count it all joy, friends, and be determined that NO ONE is going to take that away from you.
YOU CAN’T GOOGLE THIS
This part may be my favorite. The reviewer’s comment read that “there wasn’t any design or DIY tips that she could not Google”. When I responded on my IG stories, I mentioned that she was right. I also added that there isn’t much that you can’t Google these days if we’re honest.
The point is this: You can’t Google your story. You have to tell that.
If you’ve followed me here long enough you already know that I am a lover of a good story and, not just any story, but your story—our stories—the collective stories that connect us all.
What I share in this book is more than just fun DIY and home tips or “3 quick and easy ways to…”. There’s more than that and that’s not to say the ones that do offer those things are any less; just different goals. I think that’s ok.
There’s a lot of that out there and while each author will put their spin on it, it just wasn’t what I felt called or asked to write. I knew that if I told my own story with sincerity and authenticity, it would resonate with you and that’s the point.
I didn’t want to give you something that look like everyone else. I didn’t want to give you just another reason to compare your life to others’ around you or to strangers on the internet. I wanted you to somehow read what has happened in my life and find a connection point to your own. My hope was an is that it would cause you to recognize the similarities yet also embrace the differences and, in your own way, tell THAT story. My prayer is that it would beckon to the home of your heart to to share the things you can’t Google. And that, for me, makes it all worth it.