I swear, I must be on a short leash. Really, it seems like there are unending opportunities for me to turn the gaze of my soul. My most recent opportunity has come in response to the challenges of social media and the seemingly draconian tactics of Facebook for maintaining its virtual control of the world. I, being a part of that world, fell victim to the Facebook smack down last night in the middle of a Facebook ad editing session.
My intentions were good…dare I say even altruistic. I was trying to place a Facebook ad on behalf of my fellow authors enrolled in the famous Self Publishing Formula 101 course. Well, maybe it’s not famous, but certainly well-known in the circles within which I now travel. All of us are learning what it takes to become a successful indie author, one requirement being the development of a reader email list. We authors had decided to join together and offer our books for free in trade for reader emails. My contribution to the cause was to advertise our giveaway on Facebook.
Just as I was about to submit my new ad for Facebook’s approval along with a few changes to my wildly successful Facebook ad campaign that’s been running since January 16th, an abrupt message flashed at the top of the screen indicating that my outstanding account balance had been charged against my credit card. “No biggee” I thought, except that the timing seemed very odd. So I went back to my task at hand.
“These ads are not delivering,” said the tiny label under my wildly successful campaign title.
“That’s strange,” I muttered, wondering if I’d clicked the wrong box somewhere on the screen. I tried to reactivate the campaign, but the button remained grayed out.
And now a rabbit trail…you may be wondering about this wildly successful ad campaign I’ve been running since January 16th. Let me give you the big numbers first. Over a cumulative runtime over the past four weeks, the campaign has helped grow my critically important mailing list by nearly 800 readers at an average cost of .25 per lead.
Yes. Impressive. Most impressive…thank you very much.
85% of the readers are women. Not a surprise.
But then there’s this: 70% of the readers live in South Africa.
Envision me with a question mark on my forehead.
Yes, just call me Sugar Woman. Apparently I have a following in South Africa and, like the singer-songwriter Rodriguez, I imagine the South Africans are sending someone out to bring me back for their massive book-signing extravaganza scheduled to happen next week at the Soccer City stadium.
If you don’t get the reference, don’t worry. The South Africans do.
Back to the Facebook Ads Manager screen that’s rapidly filling up with subtle negative messages right before my dry and tired eyes. Can’t they just call a person before they deliver the heavy hammer blow? The next negative message wasn’t so subtle. In fact it was outlined in red at 5 pt. width, telling me my ads account had been deactivated due to a policy violation and please contact us if you believe this is a mistake, to which I said to myself…
What the hell? Er…I mean “What the heck?”
Gathering myself as best I could while still staring at the red-bordered Facebook greeting, I viewed this as a divinely placed fence to stop me in my tracks despite the beckoning calls of my alluringly successful campaign. You see, I’d started wondering about this whole Sugar Woman thing, I’d thought that having 1,000 followers would be enough and would end the campaign once I reached the goal (which I had surpassed), and I’d wanted to avoid falling for the temptation of throwing just a few more dollars at the campaign to see how many more readers I might get with just one more day.
This kind of “random thoughts followed by a divinely-placed-fence” experience is what I call being “predisposed” to what would come next, that “what” being the FB smack down. And this is why instead of letting my frustration at the FB smack down get the better of me, I decided to take the opportunity to gaze upward….that is after I sent them two emails asking in the politest tone I could muster, “What the hell happened?”
Now here’s the thing: deciding to do something and then actually doing that something are two different things. After fighting off my conditioned impulses to check the phone for a response from Facebook every fifteen minutes through the long dark night, I awoke this morning to read a lovely chapter in the book Pursuing God by Aiden Wilson Tozer.
Chapter VII is called The Gaze of the Soul, the kind of title that points to the ethereal nature of God’s presence and my relationship with Him.
Short rabbit trail…when I was a new Christian so many years ago the church gave me a test to determine my gifts. Having come fresh from a life of difficulty and desperate tactics to survive alone in the world, I wasn’t surprised to learn that I measured highest for the gift of faith.
That was fine as far as I understood what faith was at the time. I could look back and see that most of the obstacles I’d encountered seemed to eventually disappear by a hand coupled with my own; demonstrating His miraculous method of paving my life’s path. All along that path, I “knew” He was present through all that had happened, both good and bad. It was only when I looked down did I suffer confusion and fear at the hands of distraction and doubt.
So last night when I suffered the FB smack down, my instinct encouraged me to wait, to listen, and to fight off the urge to travel down the path of worst-case scenarios.
This morning I understood my instinct’s intent. A. W. Tozer writes:
…faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.
It makes sense. Setting the gaze of my soul on Him puts everything else in perspective. Despite Facebook’s probable beliefs that they control the world, they don’t.
I trust He’ll eventually solve my FB ad accounts problem, one way or the other. I will accept the outcome as His best for my good.
And if He prompts me to take the next plane to South Africa for a book signing, I’m in.
 Tozer, A. W. (Aiden Wilson) (2011-03-24). The Pursuit of God (p. 78). . Kindle Edition.