I was a naive 27-year-old who had no business being where I was. Leaving graduate school in Southern California for a battlefield in the Middle East made no sense to me but there I was. The southern part of Lebanon at the time was overrun by Hezbollah and PLO forces lobbing projectiles into Northern Israel. Yet that was exactly where the organization I worked with decided to build a radio station . . . and to send me.
Have you ever felt unprepared, overwhelmed, or out of your league? If so, you are in good company. It is rarely the men or women that have it all figured out that God uses. It’s those who find themselves in desperate situations and look to Him for wisdom and direction. For some reason He delights in taking people like David, Gideon, or Peter and throwing them into near impossible circumstances. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be prepared for the opportunities that come our way but sometimes we are forced into situations where the only thing that matters is our availability and trust in God.
As a writer, you understand there are times when you don’t have all the answers. Or someone will ask you a question during an interview and you have no idea how to answer it. Believe me, you are not alone. What do you do when you aren’t sure how to handle a question from a host or caller? Here are a few techniques that have helped me.
- Fake it until you make it. Remember the quote by Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players?” Doing interviews is about being on a stage. That may not sound too spiritual but there is an entertainment value to your presentation. Listeners or viewers are often impacted more by your presentation than by your content.
- Answer the question that isn’t asked. If someone calls with an off-the-wall question you can affirm them as a person but start talking about what your book or topic is about. In other words, say “Thanks for your question but the real issue here is . . .”
- A soft answer turns away wrath. Yes, a wise man once said that. Have you noticed how many people want to argue these days? A belligerent caller (or host) will often calm down if you speak softly and slowly to them. This doesn’t mean backing down on important points in your book. It means that kindness triumphs over hostility in the minds of listeners.
- Turn the tables. It was on a radio show out of Las Vegas that a woman called in to set me straight about something I said. Instead of over-reacting I started asking her questions and led her on self-discovery tour about biblical truths. People need to know how your points impact them personally and that’s what I did in this instance.
The radio station in Lebanon was called the Voice of Hope. It was attacked by Muslim suicide terrorists a few years later. Four people died. We generally grow most in circumstances that are risky and that push us outside our comfort zones. That was a big one for me. Perhaps God places us in these on purpose? Maybe. I know of few authors who have all the answers and that’s okay. Those who do, or think they do, scare me. Those who trust God will find that He always meets them halfway.