Why Fear Success

Fear of falling is normal. Fear of heights is common. Fear of snakes is natural. the fear of success is hard to classify. Often, we don’t recognize it. Too many times people have walked away from success because they fear the embarrassment of failure. Some successful people are unable to handle their success without chemical scaffolding. They abuse their bodies’ even kill themselves.

There are times when success has come my way and I too felt the pangs of fear. Looking at others and myself, the signs of fear are clear. How do you recognize the fear of success? You are agitated over minor details not being right. You are easily irritated. On top of your sensitivity to criticism, you hide fears by blaming others for your insecurities. Your entire demeanor is one of suspicion and distrust. The fear that others are out to get you because you made it makes you more fearful.

We tell ourselves many stories to hide our fear of success. “I am not going to change the way I look or act. I’m still going to be me. I’m still one of the guys. I got 99 problems and success is not one.” There is nothing wrong with me, anyway?

How can I control my fears? By believing God’s promise, He said, “I am with you, so don’t be fearful (Isa 41:10). The difficulty is how do I turn down the cheering from my ego? “I will help you, I will strengthen you, He said.” My struggles are intensified when I try to stand on the teachings that lifted me when I was still climbing the ladder of success. This, I believe, God gives me power, love, and peace of mind; not fear (2 Tim 1:7).

 

 

 

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UNEXPECTED JOY

Recently, President #39, Jimmy Carter shook hands with the passengers on a flight from Atlanta to Washington, DC. One passenger is heard joyfully shouting, I love you, Jimmy Carter! Another passenger wrote that President Carter was warm and humble. I wish I could have been there. What an unexpected joy.

My friend brought unexpected joy into our lives a short time ago. She had suffered from excruciating pain on her right hip. For two days, we prayed for release from her suffering. For two more days, we prayed that the doctors would not have to operate on her hip again. She received the results of her checkup yesterday. The news was good. She did not need another operation, all she needed was a quarter inch lift inserted in her right shoe. We prayed and shouted a joyful thank you. We did not expect to be so blessed.

Today is the first day of summer. It rained most of the night, but with the sun came dry weather. The cable company is installing wire, and the roads and sidewalks were covered with leftover red clay. Yards were dotted with bald spots of red clay. Overnight, the rain washed the roads and sidewalks clean. Just as quickly, grass or perhaps weeds are growing hair on the bald spots. The birds were singing. I did not expect such a picturesque moment. Joy is amplified when it is unexpected.

How unexpected and joyful it is when Jesus steps beyond my prayers and bless me with more than I could concede. Like the guests at the wedding in Cana, I am surprised at the richness and the volume of the libations that are poured into my life. Even, with my limited abilities to distinguish the good from the great wine, it is an unexpected joy to receive the gift. To be given such a boon at this late stage of the wedding celebrations gives me high expectations of blessings in the autumn of my life. How wonderful it is to have reached the latter stages of my life and have so many good wines still wait to be tasted. To have hope and assurance that I am still blessed is an unexpected joy.

Joy is everywhere.

A Good Slice of Cheesecake

 

Is it necessary to get in a depressive mood in order to write? There are many things to write about that does not require mood alteration. There is the exhilaration of climbing Stone Mountain. There is a song that will always lift your spirits. And, there is always a good slice of cheesecake waiting to boost your moods. Sometimes for me, it is a few moments of silence that can pull me from under a rock.

Overused ideas, or slow materializing dreams, and incomplete rewards, will trick you into believing that you are not going to achieve your goals. Your mood changes and you seek a lift. What is there to do when stormy weather enters your life?

After the rain, a puddle of water remains. Pollen covers the hole like a blanket; life is barred from entry. But wait, be patience, for underneath the pollen blanket the earth is nourished and life is growing stronger. My dreams may sink into a puddle of doubt. That is when a good slice of cheesecake could change my perspectives. I live off the reassurance that I hold the hand of the divine. Slow and incomplete is the fulfilling of all my tomorrows. In the puddle of water, seeds of life begin the journey to reality and beauty. They stick their heads above the scum long enough to blossom and encourage me to travel on.

Thanks, Lord, for the huge rainbow that crosses the eastern sky and as I get closer to home it appeared to sit on my soul. When I turned into my driveway, the Rainbow is no longer visible. All that was left was little reassurances that I must go on. Rarely are my dreams fulfilled without divine stimulation. Now I know it is not necessary to get in a depressive mood in order to write.

What I need is a good slice of cheesecake will end the slump if and when it comes.

Catching Fire Flies

In a family of nine, on its way to thirteen; you have to make your own fun. One thing we will play was catching fireflies and put them in our shirt pocket. Our chest would light up. Some nights the air thick and muggy, when darkness took over the back yard, we went hunting for lighting bugs. In 1950-ish Atlanta, Georgia, fireflies were called lighting bugs.

Six of the nine children were running around the back yard grabbing at lighting bugs. Some of the bugs went into pockets, some into brown paper bags, and some into mason jars. Most of the bugs were let go when we were called into the house. A few didn’t leave this world until the washing machine cycle.

If you kept your bugs in bags or jars without air circulation, soon movement and light ceased.  I kept mines in a jar with holes punched into the lid. The bugs went into the sock drawer. Sometimes they would last a week before the light went out or I forget they were in the drawer.

Some nights when the house was scary, I pull out my jar of bugs. Whenever the rafters groaned, or the walls popped, or a moth slammed into the bedroom window, I would awake with a fright.

In the dark under the house, a cat wrestled with a rat in the crawl space. I imagined trolls and demons were coming for me. My daddy can’t help me; he is either working or snoozing. Outside, a squirrel dives from a tree limb to the roof. Thud! They are here.

I go to my sock drawer and pull out the lighting bugs. A shake of the jar and they light up. “We will save you,” they are saying. Watching the bugs flash on and off, my heart calms, and the lights tranquilizes me to sleep again.

Fast forward, I was visiting a friend, whose husband Calvin had died a few years before. She was explaining how she was doing. “Since Calvin’s death,” she said, “I get a bit lonely, but my church friends and Tixie here, always bring me out of it.” The Phalene look up from his lap throne, and nodded his head, as if to bow.

She said, “Sometimes I get scared in this house, so keep my cell phone and Tixie close to me. At night, I leave a TV and a light on. It’s just to make the burglars think I am up. This house creaks, cracks, and pops at night.”

“Makes me jumpy, I am always checking doors and windows. And don’t let Tixie bark at a squirrel or something late at night, I have to take a pill to get back to sleep.” We prayed together before I left.

Late one night I was at my desk, when I heard my house creak, crack, and pop. This went on for a couple of nights; I kept waking up fearful and checked the windows and doors. On the third night, I dump pickles out of the jar, punched holes in the top. Then I went out into the back yard and caught some fireflies. I sat them on the night stand. That night I slept straight through.