I absolutely believe that I was meant to publish Pray While You’re Prey seven years ago. The book is my testimony, and, to this day, people tell me that it is helpful to them as they walk the single, Christian journey. While I am confident in publishing the book, I am pretty sure that the way that I handled publishing the book was not the way God would have chosen. With a manuscript that got rave reviews and just enough legal know-how to be dangerous, I very quickly took God’s plan and ran down my own path with it. I tried to get a publisher for the book. I sent out query letter after query letter and got rejection after rejection, so I felt that it was in my best interest to self-publish. I did all of the research of the costs of printing and publishing, gathered a team that was willing to invest time, talent and treasure and I was off to the races. Even with the help of others, I still needed more funding, so I got a small business credit card that had zero percent interest for the first six or twelve months or something, and then, of course had a huge interest rate if the balance was not paid in that time frame. (I should probably mention that at that point in my life, I was two years into my dad’s credit reconstruction/financial responsibility plan from all of the bad financial mistakes I had made in college and law school.) So, here I was with this fantastic testimony in manuscript form and a credit card, so that I could act immediately on my dream.
At the time, I felt that by putting the printing and marketing costs (keep in mind that there was no social media) of the books on credit, I was showing God that I was “all in” on this vision. I was ready and willing to take on any challenge. In hindsight, I realize that I just was not willing to wait on Him to provide a better plan for what I wanted to do. So, I had a book release event, got my book in stores and did book signings. I was even on the radio promoting the book. But, as the time started to wind down to the high interest rate on the credit card, my motivation shifted from conveying a message of hope and encouragement to getting that cash money honey. I did not handle the moderate success that I had with the book very well. I expected people to come out in droves to my book signings and invite me to speak all over the country. And of course, once Oprah got a hold of the book, it would be in her book club, and I would be RICH…hahahahahaha! And, I wonder why God only shares pieces of information with me and not the whole picture! There is nothing wrong with believing that God will prosper you in His purpose for your life, but when you replace His plans with your own, you cannot expect the same results that you would have gotten if you had listened to Him.
So, now I am at the halfway point of recording my first CD. People keep asking me what my next step will be and I keep asking God the same question because I never want to veer off onto my own path again. I had to stop and ask myself why I am even recording. The fact is that I have always had a desire to record music. The only other careers I envisioned besides attorney were educator and recording artist/producer. I do not feel like I came to those conclusions on my own because God has blessed me with the talents to match. I know that with music and writing of any kind that I do, the most important aspects are the lyrics and the message. Music is a universal language and I believe it to be one of my gifts for Kingdom-building. I would love for writing and music to be my careers; nevertheless, it is about God’s will and God’s timing. Right now, I am a teacher and I love teaching, but I did not intend to be a high school teacher forever, so is it wrong to want to make a career out of my gifts? Let me give you a hint, that question was rhetorical. I do not believe that it is wrong to pursue the passion that God has placed in you. But, we have to take the time to be brutally honest with ourselves and know whether we are driven by moving on God’s mission or driven by making that good money. When I felt that I was no longer going to make any money from my books, I quit because, at the time, I was profit-driven. All that mattered was the bottom line and that was wrong. Imagine if all that mattered to God was the bottom line. What if all He cared about was your salvation and after that you were on your own? Thankfully, He is a gracious and merciful God that does not just want us to be saved, but also cares about the quality of our lives.
When it comes to dreams, goals, relationships, and loving God, we should be driven by purpose first and foremost. It is okay to be profit-driven if the gain is God’s glory revealed or souls snatched from the devil’s grip. God created us to praise and please Him, so that is what we are called to do and it is not about what we can personally gain. If God’s purpose in giving talents is for it to become a career, then that is what it will be. However, even if is it not meant to be a career, we should not going to stop using the talent for His glory. Many times we look at the provision, the people, and the purpose God blesses us with and we only want them for the benefits associated with them. If you throw away a blessing because you don’t feel that you are getting enough out of the deal, then you are strictly profit-driven. And, by profits, I do not mean strictly monetary harvests. So, as you move in the vision that God has for your life, be sure to note whether you are purpose-driven or profit-driven. Ms. EV