I hate selling things.
As a kid raising money for our church youth group, I enthusiastically lugged around my cardboard case of Christmas candles. You know the type—a glass decanter with some sort of inspirational picture glued around it and then rolled in a sort of frost that glitters when the candle is lit. Yeah, they’re available nowadays in any 99 cent store worth it’s salt.
My enthusiasm lasted through three or four cases. Be impressed. That was about forty cheaply-made candles at a buck apiece.
But that first sales experience also introduced me to a new body language. It’s the same posture I can’t help but exhibit when a solicitor shows up on my doorstep at an inconvenient moment. (Is there ever a convenient one?) There’s a polite smile pasted on my face, but every other muscle is straining away, like Pepe Le Pew’s object of affection, the cartoon kitty desperate to escape his skunk stench.
As the years went by, I endured subsequent forced sales drives with ever-increasing dread and ever-waning success until I finally stooped to buying a whole box of my own candy bars just so I wouldn’t have to endure selling them.
In my college years, I was further jaded when my boss at the health club where I was employed as an aerobics instructor offered me a promotion. I was to call every person who had put their name and number in a box and announce excitedly, “You won the free two-week membership!” If any of those I called ended up signing a membership contract, I would get commission. It was an “Aha!” moment that pulled back the proverbial curtain on all those Wizard-of-Oz charlatans telling people what they want to hear just to make a buck. Since Mom and Dad still paid most of the bills at the time, I was able to turn down the “promotion” without too much discomfort.
Time marched on and my distaste for sales grew. I acted, sang, modeled and entered beauty pageants but it all came down to the same thing—“You’ve got to believe in yourself enough to sell.” That’s where I would lose the competitive edge and watch others propel into fame and fortune. It was weird but not a cause of resentment. Besides, my lack of killer instinct put me on the path to marrying an awesome husband who loved God with all his heart. There’s a payoff for ya.
As newlyweds, my husband and I took retail sales jobs while our primary focus was on short-term mission trips. Again, my selling instinct was sadly lacking. The thought of encouraging a woman to spend more than she intended on clothing she didn’t need and then hide the bag from her husband because she had blown their budget repelled me. End result? An allergy to shopping malls.
But the dreaded sales drive could not be avoided and soon my oldest son was in school and we were half-heartedly hawking everything from cookie dough to wrapping paper, eeking out enough sales to save that ol’ team spirit—just barely. Until that fateful day he came home to report that the person to get top honors in the latest fundraiser would get to have a ride in a limousine. He knew I had never ridden in a limousine so he vowed, “Mom, I’m going to win that for you.”
You know what? He did it. Out of a huge elementary school in SoCal, he sold the most fairly useless gift items and won! The limousine ride ended up being a trip to McDonalds for the top five winners. I told him I didn’t care, that I was so proud of his hard work, that we do everything to the glory of God and no one could take that from him. He got that. But I could see in his eyes that some of that glorious, childish naïveté was gone.
For me, seeing my child disappointed deepened my sales-phobic resentment with further proof that, “It’s just not worth it.”
Ever notice how God likes to shove us directly out of our comfort zone?
At the moment, I teeter on the brink of a precipice called “book sales” that not only forces me into my own no-man’s-land but also screams of “business sense” and “attention to detail”—two phrases that would not make my list of one hundred descriptors for Chana Keefer.
But I’ve finally found a cause that motivates even this card-carrying sales-phobe—God’s love screams out to be heard and this is my small contribution to seeing that mission accomplished.
I sense God laughing up His sleeve at yet another opportunity to put me smack dab into a place where it will most-assuredly be, “‘Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”
That said, I proudly present the front cover and spine for The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1–THE FALL.
The manuscript is going to print. Gulp.
Onward into the next stretch of God’s crazy adventure!
Free-falling in Christ,