By Dr. Miriam Adeney
Watching rain streak past evergreen trees, I think about my goals for 2015: courage, curiosity, and clarity. Clarity isn’t too hard because I’ve worked at it for a long time. But courage is something else. Although I may look brave because I travel and speak publicly, in fact I’m not confident at all.
When I wrote my first American-published book, God’s Foreign Policy: Practical Ways to Help the World’s Poor, I hit a snag. The book had been commissioned informally. Then the commissioner lost interest. What should I do? Since four chapters were written, I decided to submit them to “John X Jones Publishers.” I expected that the manuscript would be rejected and I would have to circulate it through a dozen more publishers. Would I have the courage to push it through? Maybe not. But I could start.
Surprisingly, the editor wanted to review the book further. This buoyed my hopes. Then he took a new job in Europe, my manuscript slid down into the anonymous pile, and my hopes were dashed.
That June I attended a conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although my publisher was located there, I wasn’t bold enough to visit. So I headed home. On the way to the airport, however, my colleague asked if we could drop in at another conference to contact someone.
Waiting for her outside that conference’s banquet hall, I enjoyed identifying Christian leaders sitting around the tables. Then the emcee arrived at the door. “We have two extra places,” he said. “You must come in and join us.”
My friend sat down in the place near the door. I traipsed red-faced across the room to a central table where I discovered that my name card read “Mrs. John X Jones.” My neighbor’s card read “John X Jones.” (Mrs. Jones was absent because she had just had a baby.)
Eventually I drummed up enough courage to tell Mr. Jones that my manuscript was at his company. A few weeks later a contract came through the mail. An award-winning book resulted.
We don’t always find a publisher, but God does honor our small steps of courage. My favorite verse is Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Prayer: God, give me the courage to take a new step for your glory.
This article was published in our unique book, Light for the Writer’s Soul: 100 Devotions by global Christian writers. Get your copy today.
Dr. Miriam Adeney is an anthropologist, missiologist, and author. Her books include Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity; Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women; Wealth, Women, and God: How to Flourish Economically and Spiritually in Tough Places; and How to Write: A Christian Writer’s Guide.