Friday, February 5, 2010

Pressure Free Interview

As I drove at a snail’s pace in rush-hour-traffic toward the Fox affiliate station in Houston, Texas, I began running through some possible responses to questions I anticipated from the station’s news anchor. I had been asked to appear on the morning news program for an interview about my recent book, Hugs Bible Reflections for Women.

When scheduling the interview, my publicist told me she hoped to send a copy of the interview to Fox’s national news coordinator with the goal of securing an appearance on Fox’s national morning news program. She ended the call by enthusiastically saying, “I’ll be watching you!”

I felt tremendous pressure to make the message in my book appeal to the diverse audience that would be viewing a mainstream news program. I’d done enough media interviews to understand that the station would expect me to use terms like “my faith” instead of “Christianity”. I knew full well that it was politically correct to avoid using the name of Jesus. I tried to convince myself that toning down my message would enable the book to get into the hands of more women who wouldn’t normally study the Bible.

However, as I thought through ways to avoid offending the non-believing viewers, I had a sick feeling come over me. I realized that the only motivation for rehearsing politically correct responses would be to secure more interviews with secular media outlets.

I thought of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit...” A spirit of conviction came over me as I my life verse began playing in my head, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

Tears welled up in my eyes and I cried out to God, “All I want to do is glorify You! This interview is Yours. Please give me the words, Lord God, and forgive me for allowing selfish ambition to enter my heart.”

I pulled into the parking lot of the station with a heavy heart. But as I entered the double glass doors, a sense of peace engulfed me. The pressure was gone and I didn’t step into the studio with canned responses ready to roll eloquently off my tongue. Instead, I entered as a humbled servant on a mission, dependent upon the Spirit of my Jesus to guide me through that interview.

The tape of that interview will probably never make its way to the station’s national news coordinator. I wasn’t disrespectful of the station’s format during the interview, but I was honest and transparent about my faith. I am at peace that the only name that was advanced that day was the name of Jesus. And with that, I am at peace.

Have you ever taken a stand for Jesus when it wasn’t socially or professionally expedient to do so? If so, please share by posting a comment.