I’ve had zero qualms about chatting up the world about Heart Wide Open, at least in the book format. The DVD teaching? Not so much. And that’s not right.
My relative silence doesn’t do justice to do the message of Heart Wide Open and it definitely doesn’t honor the self-sacrificing labor that so many people poured into the DVD’s release. This, then, is my mea culpa to all involved. My hope for this transparent post is to blow my own cover about this thing once and for all. To join me on this odd little journey, you’ll need some back story.
Producing a DVD teaching wasn’t on my radar when I finished writing Heart Wide Open. My friend, Jonathan Wiggins, senior pastor of Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland, CO had been a call in guest on my radio talk show the evening the opportunity surfaced. I was driving home, still thinking about our discussion when my phone rang. It was Jonathan and he wasted no time hitting me with his big idea.
“I want you to come to Loveland and teach Heart Wide Open,” Jonathan said. “We’ll build you a first rate set and invite our women to the recordings.”
You tell me. Whatever is a girl to say to an invitation like that– especially when she’s told the whole thing will be a gift, that the church will not only record and produce the DVD, but will give full rights of distribution to her publisher? This belle said, “Yes!” and “Thank you!”
It’s important to note that from the get-go I never ever anticipated the DVD to be released on the retail market. The offer itself was so unheard of, so unusual. My editor even had a hard time embracing the idea when I called with the news. And I got that.
I understood my publishing house being flummoxed by Resurrection Fellowship wanting to invest all the effort and expense involved in making the DVD and then promptly waive all rights to it. I couldn’t blame my publisher for being cool about the idea since they had no prior relationship with Resurrection Fellowship or their top notch media department. How could they know if the results would be retail worthy or if Rez (as the church is known in Loveland) planned to video me on a stool in someone’s back yard? So, yes, I totally understood when my publisher expressed polite enthusiasm over the offer without making any commitment to market the final product.
That’s not to say I took the opportunity lightly. Far from it. I crazy love to teach God’s word and I endeavored to teach the material of Heart Wide Open as well as I could.
I also tried to present the best appearance possible. My darling friends and family put themselves out offering fashion advice for the taping and they traveled to Colorado with me to make sure I had my lipstick on and my stomach sucked in when the camera started rolling, (more on that to come.)
I’m only saying that I looked at teaching Heart Wide Open to a committed group of girls over the course of several days as a great opportunity to teach the material in a concentrated way before I spent the next year traveling and speaking on its various themes. At the extreme reach of my imagination I envisioned a possible scenario of offering clips from the DVD on my website. But, that was it. Over and out.
My traveling buddies and I had a great time in Colorado. The set was fall down gorgeous and the audience could not have been kinder or more receptive. For brevity’s sake, we’ll fast forward several months.
See me there, in the comfort of my own home previewing DVD’s from the taping. Footage I knew had been sent to my publisher at the same time, footage of which my editor had graciously said, “The team will review it for possible use.”
I can’t over exaggerate the discomfort I experienced as I watched myself teach on that screen.
It was painful.
By painful, I mean excruciating. By excruciating, I mean I could barely stomach Video Woman. Why DID she make those expressions? And did she HAVE to do her eyes like that? And for the love of heaven, WHY didn’t she wear a Spanx with that clingy green shirt? (I’ve since forgiven the “stylists” who were traveling with me for overlooking that fashion disaster because Jesus said I must. Besides, they claimed it was an accident and they stuck to that story like white on rice.)
It didn’t matter what session I watched, how far away I held my laptop, or which outfit Video Woman was wearing, everything about her bothered me and that very discomfort took me by surprise.
I’ve produced video commentaries for my readers for years. Those two to three minute clips have been posted to my website and they’ve aired on our local CBS affiliate. My reaction was confusing precisely because I’m not only comfortable in front of the camera, I actually enjoy it! What was this? I wanted to figure it out, but I just couldn’t take anymore. Confident that my publisher wasn’t about to sign off on what I’d just witnessed, I closed my laptop and breathed these now infamous words to my darling man.
“Well, baby. I’m just glad I don’t ever have to see that again.”
You know God has a fantastically wonderful sense of humor, right?
In less than forty-eight hours I received an enthusiastic email from my publisher. They loved it. They wanted to retail it. Oh, joy.
So, there you have it. The back-story for why, sans a tweet here and a Facebook post there, I haven’t touched last month’s DVD release with a ten-foot pole. I’m willing to look that poor attitude full in the face, so to speak. I’ve come to believe that the difference in viewing this DVD and the other projects I’ve been involved in boils down to the vulnerability and personal nature of the subject matter.
I’m calling myself out, y’all.
I may not like how I look or sound but the truth is, I’m only the messenger. If I believe in the message of Heart Wide Open, and I do, I should welcome every opportunity to get it out there.
On that note, I want to offer anyone who leaves a comment an opportunity to win a DVD teaching of Heart Wide Open for your personal use or to enjoy with your ladies’ group. It comes with a downloadable study guide. To put your name in the hat, share your experiences with seeing your face in pictures and video, or your voice on audio. Do you like it? Dislike it? Why, or why not?
The winner will be drawn Monday, June 16th.