The Stress of Sales

Sep 26, 2005Archive

I remember hearing a published author say that once you were published, you exchanged one smaller stress for a larger one. I didn’t believe her. I thought once you were published, you lived in some sort of literary nirvana, immune from pain and stress.

Ha! And double Ha!

I got my sales figures for September. They were a few books LESS than August’s final tally, meaning that some stores had returned Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God.

So, I fretted. I worried about being a midlist author where publishers pat your head now and again and sometime send you a half-eaten bone in the form of a leftover contract. My agent calmed me down (as all good agents should do). She said that devotionals are hard to sell because of the hook factor, and that moms don’t buy books in September because they’re busy getting their wee ones off to school.

Then I realized that God sees it all. Why would I be so cool to think His will is high sales? How silly of me! His ultimate will is that I trust Him, follow Him, be near Him, let His life flow through me. It’s completely unrelated to sales figures. I wonder how content I really am. The Apostle Paul said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

We evangelicals yank verse thirteen from its context. We think it means we can endure any trial with God’s strength. Although that is true, the context is economical and positional contentment. I will be content whether I have a lot of stuff (or sales) or little. It’s a secret, the Apostle Paul said. And secrets take a long time to unravel, understand and implement.

So, yeah, my sales are sluggish. I’ll do the best I can to boost them, but ultimately, God is in control. He holds the world together. He calms the seas. He soothes the pained. Surely I can learn contentment from the shelter of His hand–me, and ordinary mom, resting in the grace of an extraordinary God.