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).





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.

What was on my mind when I decided to start a blog.

What was on my mind? At the time, which was May 2010, I wanted to blog about the African American church and its involvement in the climate change debate. There is a lot of information on the general Church involvement in the Environmental movement, but little on the black church.  In February 2006, 86 evangelical leaders signed an initiative on global warming. Among the signers were black church leaders like Bishop Charles Blake Sr., and Rev. Floyd Flake.  After that interest appears to have peaked. The problems are still there, but the emphasis from the black Church are more on environmental justice than conservation or policy.


Some leaders in the wider Evangelical community made salutary efforts to convince conservative voters and lawmakers to embrace the need for climate change regulation. Conservative Talk Radio hosts took the opposing side and the debate polarized America.  Both sides suffered from the debate.  Money for research disappeared, treaties languish in the US Senate, glaciers melted, and some evangelical organization changed leadership.  My blog was to keep the dialogue going, to inform the black church about policies, earth care, and environmental justice issues.

Zero To Hero: 30 Days To A Better Blog

To blog a few topics from my various interests, will require that I put aside many others. Hopefully, blogging will sharpen my focus and allow me to participate actively in the subjects that remain. What remain will be the storytelling, theology, and environmental concerns. Why those topics? Well, storytelling gives me the double joy of teaching and entertaining.  Theology discloses the meaning and purpose of my existence and my concern for the environment lets me participate in the unfolding of creation, not just observe.  In the months to follow I hope to tell better stories, understand more, and pollute less.