By Staci Stallings
Recently I was talking with some writer friends who are working on marketing their books. Now stay with me because this isn’t about writing.
The conversation turned to sales and how many sales people had or didn’t have for that month. I had been having some success in that area and mapped out the trajectory of my sales for the last few months. One writer piped up and said, “I’ll be happy when I sell 100.” Another joined in, “Well, I’ll be happy when I sell enough to get a check.” (Which is about 10.)
Ironically, I had just sold about 10 times that 100, and I could see the fallacy of “I’ll be happy when…” in bright, shining colors before me. Why? Because I had sold all these books, and in reality, life hadn’t changed all that much.
I still had (and have) laundry in the utility room to do and dishes in the sink and the living room needs vacuumed and dusted. I need to get the oil changed in the van and the registration paid at my son’s school. We’ve got to find time to memorize his multiplication tables, and I need to get the bills paid. Oh, and my shower needs cleaned really badly, and I have several posts to put up on the blogs.
I would love to get some time to work on my new story, and I need to write the VBS plays. The garage needs swept, and the clothes need taken to the homeless shelter. I’ve got suitcases from our last visit home to clean out and all of those clothes to run through the washer. Oh, and Sunday School is coming up again, and I need to practice for that. There’s a gift certificate I need to get for a friend who did me a big favor, and trash to take out. At some point I would love to get some exercising in, and the bushes out front really need trimmed before they completely take over.
In short, I’ve sold all these books–more than I could have dreamed or hoped for in December of last year–and life is still life!
It was quite funny the day in February that one of my books was climbing the charts on Amazon, going all the way up to #11 in the Free Store. I was watching the downloads, amazed. At noon I went into the kitchen to eat and found several stacks of dirty dishes waiting for either the dishes-fairy or me to do them. My husband happened to be home for lunch that day, and he said, “So how does it feel to be famous?”
I laughed as I started digging dishes out of the sink and said, “About the same as it felt to be not famous.”
See, I think that’s something we all get wrong in this life. We think that something “out there”–a certain number of sales, getting that diploma, paying off this or buying that–is going to change everything and suddenly then we’ll be happy.
It doesn’t work like that.
In fact, a few years ago I was talking with a friend of mine who at the time was living paycheck-to-paycheck, and I told her that having money in the bank was not going to make her happy if she wasn’t happy now. She scoffed that I just didn’t understand.
Well, guess what? She got a contract, sold some books, got on a little better financial footing, and now has money in the bank. The other day we were talking, and she said, “You know how you told me I could have money in the bank and that wouldn’t solve everything?” “Yeah.” “You were right. I have money now, and I still don’t feel good about myself. In fact, everything I’ve prayed for over the last five years, I have now, and it hasn’t changed anything. I’m beginning to think it’s not about that stuff after all.”
What a concept! She’s right… it’s not about all of that stuff. It’s about YOU. It’s about learning that God loves you and accepts you right where you are. In debt, overweight, overworked, sales, no sales, famous or not. When you begin to understand that and ask Him to help you to be happy now, when those other things show up, they are nice gravy to the situation. But it’s about the Giver, not the gift. It’s about the Blesser, not the blessing.
So if you’re stuck in “I’ll be happy when…,” may I suggest you try “God, help me to be happy and joyful right now because You love me just the way I am.” Then put all of those “when” things in His hands and let Him work them out as you willingly follow what He tells you to do.
It will make all the difference in the world!
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only…
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