“I don’t know…” I struggled to contain tears as I confessed doubts to a friend, “Who on earth is going to buy a little bunch of poems by some nobody from nowhere?” I was days away from peddling books at a craft sale. That friend smiled and said, “Maybe it’s just the wrong market. As soon as people hear you speak for 20 minutes, they’ll want to know you more. They’ll want to buy your book.” Those words stayed with me for days…
I’m not sure I told you yet, but I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me toward a book tour. I can’t even say it with a straight face. It sounds scary and ridiculous. (I mean, I'm not exactly Beth Moore or Max Lucado...!!) I’ve given God all kinds of reasons to double check his plan. … maybe he forgot how I struggle with pride … or public speaking … or fear of rejection. Maybe He doesn’t know that nobody reads poems… Every time I start to apply myself to the task – like preparing for the craft sale last weekend – I become fearful of rejection (I wrote about that yesterday) and overwhelmed by the impossibilities.
But God specializes in impossibilities. Even when I’m crying out and discouraged, part of me celebrates, knowing that God will do what He promised. (Heb 10:23) And He has promised that His plans for me are good. (Jer 29:11) Even if I fall or mess up, He already knows I will, and chooses to call me to this anyway for my good and His glory.
As I perched in front of my table at the craft sale, I decided to view the day as an investment in other people. Book sales were not my priority – I figured they wouldn’t sell anyway. It was just advertising – name recognition and all that. So I made it my goal instead, to cause others to feel worthwhile and loved. As Maya Angelou put it, "… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I had all day to sit and chat, so took it as an ‘opportunity to do good to others’ by witnessing Jesus’ love, even if only through a genuine smile or a listening ear.
I was surprised by the conversations that happened.
One man shared with me how cancer had ravaged generations of his family, and how he had come across the country to support his daughter in her battle with cancer.
I connected with a mom – we had in common the craziness that happens when one has two children under 2 yrs old. We understood each other.
One woman I spoke with was quite touched by our conversation, and we parted with hugs. (Wait a minute - I hugged a perfect stranger in a mall after chatting for a few minutes?? Okay… )
And those were the complete strangers! There were others who were acquainted with me, and I got to take the ‘ear’ side of the conversation. (except the 3 that were pastors; They are masters of the ‘ear’ side.)
The conversations – the way people willingly shared their heart or were touched by my words - affirmed once again that,
Yes, God did give me this book to write.
Yes, God did want me to get out there and talk to people about what He’s done.
Yes, a book tour is a sane idea and will glorify God
Yes, God can use anything to touch hearts – even poems and craft sales and words.