Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers
Season of Hell Leads to “Journeys of Faith”
ABC News’s Paula Faris seemingly had it all: a great husband, wonderful kids, and high profile
jobs as co-anchor of “Good Morning America’s” weekend edition and co-host of “The View.” But
she also felt overextended, as if God was telling her to step back from some of her professional
commitments. She didn’t listen to that still small voice, however, until she endured a self-described “season of hell.” Now, Paula has achieved a better work-life balance, and also created a podcast that features conversations about faith in a mainstream media venue.
During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Paula recalled that in 2017, she realized that her family was taking a backseat to her career: “They were getting the leftovers – the rest of me, not the best of me.” She discussed stepping away from her jobs at “Weekend GMA” and “The View” with a network executive, who told her, “You’d be crazy to do that.” Paula said, “I allowed fear to paralyze me from doing what I knew was right, from doing what I felt that God had pressed on my heart.” Then, her “season of hell” began.
Paula suffered a miscarriage that required emergency surgery. Not long after, she was on location reporting a segment when someone hurled an apple at her head so hard that she suffered a serious concussion. She was out of work for three weeks. On the day she got cleared to return, a woman ran a red light and crashed head-on into the car Paula was driving, leaving her with more injuries. And a few months after that, she caught the flu, which turned into pneumonia.
During that period, Paula felt like God was trying to get her attention about taking a step back from her work. She also realized that she had invested “too much of my identity in what I did and not who I was as a child of God.” And so, she listened and trusted.
She asked her bosses if she could work on stories Monday to Friday instead. She also suggested starting a podcast in which she would interview newsmakers about their spiritual beliefs. It was an idea that was almost unheard of on a mainstream platform. But ABC News obliged Paula’s requests. And she has since completed season two of her podcast, “Journeys of Faith,” which is available on iTunesand elsewhere.
“The genesis [of the podcast],” said Paula, “is my own personal faith. It’s been my rock, my glue, my foundation. It has kept my marriage together. It has pulled me through the most difficult and trying times.” Though Paula is a lifelong Christian, she doesn’t talk only with people who believe exactly as she does. That’s evident from her guest list, which includes believer Tim Tebow, as well as atheist Sam Harris. Why that approach?
Paula said, “Jesus was out there talking with people that didn’t see eye to eye with Him. He was with the worst of sinners, and yet having conversations – even some tough conversations…This is me sitting down and listening or respecting somebody else’s faith...and also showing them, hopefully, the love of Christ in me as well. But we can agree to disagree, and we can do so respectfully... I think you will earn people’s respect if you just sit down and engage in a conversation with them, and show them the love of Christ. Really, that’s the calling, isn’t it? To love God and love people. We overcomplicate it. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish here.”
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