Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Death of a Salesman



That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know there's no way out of doing something you really, really don't want to do... you know that feeling?  I hate that feeling.  I mean hate that feeling.  I spend a lot of energy avoiding that feeling.  They say that more people have a profound fear of public speaking than of dying.  Public speaking doesn't bother me too much, I much prefer it to dying.  But.... make me a salesman, put me in a commission based job with pressure attached???  Much prefer dying to that one.

I sold baseball cards once, over the phone.  I didn't really choose the job, it just kinda happened.  My senior year of college and first year of married life.  I was busy doing student teaching, finishing up my undergrad classes and playing house with a cute new hubby but I needed to earn a bit of cash to keep the fairy tale going.  The job was part-time, fit my schedule and let me go to work with my soul mate and college friends - who could turn it down?? 

I hated it.  My mom says hate is a very strong word we should reserve for only two things, sin and Satan.  I mostly agree with her.

I remember crying as my punch-in time approached.  Praying, in anticipation of another evening of work, that God would mercifully make me too sick to go.  I'd rather throw up.  Didn't seem too far-fetched, I was usually feeling a bit nauseous by work time.  I imagined how much less painful it would feel to go hungry when the grocery money ran out than it would be to go into work and face another list of phone numbers.

Now, don't get the wrong impression.  I'm not a lazy slacker.  I know how to work hard.  I'm not a prima donna who's never sweated, gotten her hands dirty or persevered through a stressful job.  I just don't have the dna of a salesman.  Every personality or strength-finder test I've ever taken has confirmed it.  My salesmanship abilities are so low they don't even show up as a bad option in the test results.  My results show salesmanship in the "If you're family's ever dependant on you to support them this way it's gonna get ugly" category.

Need more proof?  The job that brought me to tears night after night, the baseball card selling job?  It was telemarketing, yes.  Tears make sense for telemarketing.  No one grows up hoping to be a telemarketer.  But before you give me too much sympathy, I need to come clean.  It was easy telemarketing.  That list of phone numbers didn't randomly come out of the phone book.  These people were part of a club.  A baseball card club.  They paid extra money to get phone calls about special deals.  It was like taking candy from a baby.  More people said yes, than no.  Most people even thanked me for calling.  My husband, a classic people-loving, optimistic extrovert loved the job!  He made crazy commissions and won sales prizes.  Good thing teary, nauseous salesman married happy-go-lucky, golden-boy salesman! He made sure we didn't run out of grocery money.

Every now and then, a club member wouldn't be happy that I called.  Every few nights I would make someone mad.  Illogical, seeing as they had signed up for the club, but it happened.  It was those calls that made the job, the money, all of it, totally not worth it for me. 

See, those same personality tests show that I'm cautious and shy around people I don't know.  That I care what people think of me, sometimes too much so.  That I'm a relator - I care deeply about my people.  That I have a strong faith in God's sovereignty and ability to order the events of my life.  Those traits don't do much at all for my salesmanship ability....but I think they've made me just who God needs me to be for the life He's planned for me.

So, I'll admit, when God brought this adoption thing to us, my anti-salesman radar started pinging.  I knew adoptive families usually did lots of fundraisers.  I also knew that a sudden, independent source of crazy wealth wasn't likely to drop in our laps, so we would probably be doing fundraisers.  I didn't cry any tears or pray for God to make me sick this time, but I have fought a lot of nausea.  Kinda like being pregnant!

At one point, early on, Scott brought up the idea of keeping the whole adoption thing a secret till the end.  Not because we were embarrassed or didn't want to share it with people.  One of our goals is to put a spotlight on Jesus through this.  To make it obvious to the world around us that this could only, possibly be God's work.  We wanted our story to encourage other people to say yes to adoption because if He did it for us, He can do it for them.  We had been reading George Mueller's biography.  His practice of asking only God for what his ministry needed and only telling God his needs seemed like a good example to us.  If only God knew of our needs, than it would be obvious that God had been the one to answer. 

We prayed about it as a family, and the idea grew on me.  It felt easier to me.  I know, deep down in my gut that God will do this thing.  That doesn't worry me.  Asking people to help does.  But, after much prayer and advice from family and close friends, we decided not to keep it a secret.  Once again, my mom's wisdom put it in a nutshell...."Everyone has a part to play in responding to the needs of orphans.  Everyone can't adopt, but maybe they can help you adopt.  Let God speak to people and don't rob them of the opportunity to answer His call by being part of your story." 

So, now you see me in the middle of fundraising.  Oh. My. Sweet. Goodness!  My commitment to God has been that I'll do my best to walk through the doors He opens for me.  I have to say that I much prefer selling the idea of rescuing a sweet baby to selling baseball cards.  When He makes it clear to me that it's time to punch-in, I'm gonna become a salesman again.  I hope you all know that I only want you to do the same.  Say yes, click the link or check-out only when God tells you it's time....never because you feel pressure from me to buy something. 

I'm gonna offer Him my oh-so-paltry 5 loaves and 2 fishes of salesmanship and let Jesus do what Jesus does.  This adoption will be funded because God favors it.  Not because Lori is a good salesman.  So give thanks with me, for the miracle we're about to witness....and for goodness sakes, buy some coffee and t-shirts!!

2 comments:

  1. I get so encouraged reading your stories Lori. You've always been open and honest and I think we all have a lot to learn from you! Keep writing because I keep reading, and I always do with some tears in my eyes :) Love you guys and I can't wait to love this new little Florida.
    -Hols

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  2. Thank you Holly - I get encouraged reading your comments!! Writing has become really fun for me lately - I've got so much to tell! Thanks for reading and for loving us!!

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