I confess, I’ve been a bit down lately in regards to my author life. I feel so invisible online. I feel like my books are invisible on the shelves. I’ve tried harder to make my presence known and yet every time I do the things that other people say work for them, they don’t work for me. And I don’t even mean book sales. I just mean getting my name and my books in front of people!
And so I cried in my bed at night, asking the Lord to show me what I need to do. I’ve tried to walk this author path at His instruction. But I wondered if perhaps I’d gotten tangled up in myself somewhere.
The next morning my Bible reading plan took me to I Kings 11-12, to Jeroboam, the unlikely recipient of kingship over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel God had chosen to bear His name and display His glory. Did Jeroboam do anything to deserve this honor? There is no particular statement of that in scripture. In fact, it says he rebelled against Solomon! No, Jeroboam’s rise came from God alone. Like His choosing of Abraham. Or Jacob over Esau. Gold told Jeroboam what would happen, he only had to wait until Solomon died. It seems he did so. When Solomon was gone, God handed Jeroboam a throne.
But it’s what happened after that is most interesting to me. Jeroboam suddenly became afraid that the people–the kingdom God had given him–would desert him. He feared they’d defect back to Jerusalem, where Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, reigned over Judah and Benjamin. So what did he do? Did he run to the Lord with his fear? Did he even remember who had gifted him the kingdom in the first place?
Apparently not. In a desperate attempt to hold on to what God had given, Jeroboam built golden calves, set up shrines for them, appointed priests and instituted festivals to mimic those that were God-ordained. He tried with all his might and authority to hold that which had been granted to him by God’s favor, not his own efforts.
Immediately my mind jumped to the New Testament, to Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
And then the two stories came together–Jeroboam’s story of a kingdom and my story of publication. My story began by the Spirit and not the flesh. (Yes, I’d done the work of writing, but God opened the doors for publication in unusual ways.) Yet now my insides churned as I tried to gain followers and readers and book sales in order to keep a publisher interested. Little by little I had slipped into the trap of fear, of trying to hold on to with human effort what God had brought to pass by His grace and His Spirit.
It’s a fine line to walk, I know. I must be diligent in my work, but I must also be obedient to God’s direction in that work. It’s a heart issue. A motivation issue. A place inside me that only God can see and judge. I don’t want to be Jeroboam, making idols, grasping for recognition. His end was his entire family obliterated from the earth. I want to be faithful to God. To enjoy the work He has given me to do. To trust Him completely. And so I repent, start again, and give thanks that my God’s mercies are new every morning and that His faithfulness far exceeds my own.