Monday, May 7, 2007

Fear of Blessing?

Last week, Tara Mixon wrote a guest blog which talked about fear of failure. Judy left a very astute comment asking are we afraid of failure or of success, and pointing out that these are often two sides of the same coin. So happy you brought this up, Judy, because I was going to follow up with a similar thought.

A couple of weeks ago, my daily Bible reading brought me to some passages in 2 Samuel. In chapter 5, David is having a great time. Here are the NIV headings for the passages: "David Becomes King over Israel," "David Conquers Jerusalem," and "David Defeats the Philistines." He's on a roll, so he decides to take the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

During the trip, the oxen carrying the Ark stumble. One of David's men, Uzzah, takes hold of the Ark to steady it, which seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Unfortunately, God had given strict instructions as to who could touch the Ark, and how it should be treated. Uzzah was struck dead for his irreverence--and David was struck with fear. "How can the Ark of the Lord ever come to me?" (2 Sam. 6:9 NIV).

So David left the Ark right there where it was, with someone named Obed-Edom. Then he had to watch as God poured out his blessings on Obed-Edom and his entire household and know that, because of his fear, he was missing all that.

I'm in the process of starting yet another new novel, and I'm finding it really difficult. Some of that excitement I usually have at starting a new project just isn't there. Sometimes I ask myself, Have I done this once too often? Where's my passion? What am I afraid of?

I know I'm afraid of the rejection, of hitting the usual dead end. But sometimes I read blog posts and emails from published writers and think--what if I did succeed? Would I want to have a contract that required me to produce three books over the next year or two, instead of being able to take my time? And if I write books for the Christian market, what if I say the wrong thing? What if I misrepresent God, if my intentions are just as good as poor old Uzzah's--but I turn out to be just as irreverent and mistaken? Sure I'm afraid people will never read my work, but sometimes I'm even more afraid they will.

Even starting this blog was very scary for me. (See previous paragraph. Same principle.) It's very scary to reach out to people and make yourself vulnerable like that. But I finally decided, I don't want someone else to get my blessing! I'm just praying God will give me courage, and show me how to handle his Ark the right way.