It was me against the world. All of it. I was standing alone. No comforting cushion of friends or family to urge me on and to face my fears.
I was by myself at a writer's conference. My second, in fact. The first was kind of like a dry run to get me comfortable with getting out of my comfort zone (HA!) and learning how these things progress. You know. A much-needed learning experience. A chance to grow.
I had come to do this very thing, and now, here I was, chickening out.
Well. Not exactly. I was positive the Lord was whispering in my ear that I didn't need to go to this one appointment.
See, I had just had one appointment with an agent that I thought went, well, less than desirable. Not that I'm complaining. It was a learning experience, and well, I was there to learn. This agent wasn't mean, hateful, ornery, or anything of the sort. They were very encouraging; just not interested in what I'd written. Which I knew was bound to happen, but still, it does rather shake one up when you receive the news to your face.
So of course, I was wary and more than a little petrified to visit my next appointment. The very last one on my list. This is the one I was *positive* God was leading me away from. My heart wasn't in it, my mind wasn't in it, my feelings weren't in it, in fact, I was ready to go home. Well, all 20 miles back to the hotel we were staying at, anyway!
My stomach churned; palms were sweaty. I clutched my binder with my one sheets and business cards to my chest.
It won't hurt anyone if I don't go, right? The words cascaded over and over again in my mind and I was almost convinced. This isn't the appointment for me. I should just walk away and conveniently forget.
But that's not professional. That's not good business. That's just not right. And then, I heard a small voice in the back of my mind whisper...
You came here to do this. You came here to face your fears and get better, right? This is one of those things you can learn from. Facing someone you're not sure about. Talking to someone that scares you and takes you out of your comfort zone.
That wee little voice was right.
I had a job to do and I was going to see it through. To the end, and if that meant being more than a little scared and breaking out of my timidity, then so be it.
With God's help, I was going to do this.
I wiped my palms on my pants, clutched my binder tighter, took a deep breath, and faced my fears. I sat down in front of this person whom I'd never met before ~ who I had the audacity to hope would like my book (or me) enough to request I send them a proposal ~ and...
out spewed some of the stupidest stuff I'd ever said.
I know, right? Talk about face palms of gargantuan enormity!
No kidding. I'm not lying. I wish I were, but that's the bare-faced truth of the matter.
In a matter of seconds, I had removed any and all doubt that I was an idiot. Then the strangest thing happened. This person who had instilled a healthy terror into me, leaned forward and asked one simple question. Just one.
"When did you know you wanted to be a writer?"
Well that was an easy one to answer. My response was probably less than desirable.
"Never. I've never lain awake and thought about becoming an author. I just always wrote. It's something I do because I love it."
That was it. I had blown it. I closed my binder, because even I know when to stop. Well, maybe not at the precise moment when I should, but close enough to save the tatters of what's left of my self esteem and slink out a door, at least. The next words out of their mouth?
"Send the proposal to this address. Don't worry about rushing to get this to me. Enjoy the rest of the conference."
With numb, shaking fingers, I reached for that card, sure it was about to be pulled away at the last moment because there was no way on God's green earth I had made any sense whatsoever.
I stood, my knees buckled, and I offered my hand for a handshake. I thanked them for their time and their kindness in seeing me, walked outside,
and burst into tears because once again, God had seen me through when I was ready to quit.
What would have happened if I hadn't gone to see this person? I would have missed an opportunity to grow and learn and trust that God would be there every step of the way.
I would have been comfortable. But I wouldn't have been happy. I would have missed out, and it would have been my own fault. My own doing. And worse?
I would have blamed it on God because I was operating on my emotions; feelings.
Martin Luther said:
“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
Even if nothing comes of this proposal, this conference that I went to, I'm happy I went. God controls the situations we're in and nothing takes Him by surprise. And I'm happy with that. I'm content in knowing just WHO it is that holds my future in His hands.
I serve a pretty great God.
Amanda Stephan~Christian Author