Jeroboam, the Author Life, and Galatians 3:3

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.

24 comments on “Jeroboam, the Author Life, and Galatians 3:3

  1. Pingback: How will we end?

  2. If I had just a penny for every time I thought, “I’m never going to finish this book. Where are you God when I need you the most? Can’t you see I’m struggling to do what you’ve asked me to do and yet why can’t I see the end to this?” I would truly be a millionaire and the heck with the book. My depression and anger over feeling so insignificant and inept overwhelms me sometimes. I wonder why I ever got involved with this game in the first place. I used to be so comfy in my own little self absorbed world until God tapped me on the shoulder four years ago and said, “I want you to go in this direction and while you’re at it I want you to write about this…” Who me? I’m not equipped for this. Pick someone else. I’m not ashamed to admit I ran. I still do. So I thank you my friend, Anne, for reminding me of Jeroboam. More importantly for making me look at Paul’s words. That “human effort” thing is a killer of all those who God has asked to share his word and his glory. Yes, I am foolish way too many times and fall short just as often of being diligent in my work and obedient to God’s direction as you put it. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my struggles and that there are others who feel the pain of wanting to be faithful but finding it so difficult at times. Thank you for writing this, Anne. I needed to be reminded.

    • So glad this resonated with you, Regina! I love that God uses us to remind one another of His truths, to spur each other on to the work we’ve been called to. Write on, my friend!

  3. Anne, your words spoke to my heart.

    Melissa Tagg emailed your link to me because I confessed to her recently that I felt invisible in social media. Due to a demanding day job, I’m trying to find the balance of my two careers. And as a newly published author, I know it takes time to build your name, your presence, etc.

    So thank you for speaking truth and reminding me God’s got this!!

    • It is amazing, isn’t it, how many people feel invisible? And yet we are never invisible to God. Why do we have to remind ourselves of that when He show us in so many ways every day that He sees and He cares? I’m so glad we could encourage one another today.

  4. Thank you for speaking so honest to authors especially those of us who feel God’s calling to write!
    I have been writing over 25 years for Christian pubs. Having 11 books written and self-published. Now working on a 365 page devotional…I may never be a great writer but feel I have a great message. May we finish the race…

  5. Holly, Gail, Amelia, Nan, and Leslie–I’m just weeping, weeping as I read your comments and as a worship song I’ve never heard plays on my Spotify radio (Arms Wide Open by Misty Edwards), the words “this is what love looks like” being sung over and over and as I read that our hearts struggle in the same ways, that God encourages us together with the same words. I cannot express how humbled I feel at this moment. That you would come and read and leave encouraged. That you would take the time to encourage me as well before you clicked away. Thank you. We are God’s grace to one another as we journey through this life, doing the work He has set before us to do.

    • Sweet blessings to you Anne. You are a precious daughter of the Most High God. He takes great delight in you. I just know it 🙂

  6. Your words ring true with wannabe writers and those published many times over. I’ve struggled with the external nature of the validation by trying to please and write (speak, blog, market, etc!!). I usually end up exhausted and depressed. Thanks for an honest post that shares the challenges of your own publishing journey.

  7. Oh my goodness! This post is an answer to my prayers. Thank you for being obedient to the Lord’s leading. I,too, have a straight-from-heaven publication story that I take great delight in. BUT, the business side of this crazy journey threatens me, intimidates me, and causes self-doubt ALWAYS! I must daily sit at Jesus’ feet and find His affirmation in what He has called me to do. Why do I doubt? If He set this crazy thing in motion then who am I to take the wheel? I found this quote on Twitter yesterday, “Prayer is the alpha and omega of planning. Don’t just brainstorm; praystorm” ~ Mark Batterson. Isn’t that great? Be blessed Anne as you have blessed me today. Thank you, Nan

  8. Thank you for this! This is exactly where I have been, feeling invisible and like none of it matters, and wrestling with what I am supposed to do – what being faithful looks like and depending on the Spirit and not my own efforts. I too have an only-God publication story, and how quickly I lost sight of that. So thank you for this reminder. It greatly encouraged me.

  9. Thank you for voicing this so eloquently. When I started on this path I had no idea of the toll it would take on me, even the effects of the stress on my body . Thanks for holding the light for those of us on the path right behind you . Your apr scriptural reminder will change the trajectory of my day .

  10. Thanks so much for this post! I can get so caught up in the human need to market that I end up not being authentic. I’ve been nagged by this recently and appreciate your post for helping me flesh out my thoughts and feelings on it. Love the verse from Galatians…it might have to become my next memory verse to keep reminding me!

    • You are welcome, Natasha. And thank you for the encouragement of commenting. it seems a little thing but is truly a gift.

    • Amen! I’m glad we can remind each other of that as we stumble along this journey! Love you, dear friend!

  11. Oh how I needed to hear this today. Thank you for sharing. And how WONDERFUL that God gave you just what you needed to read at just the right time.

    Another author friend used the exact same words to me recently when talking about social media…saying she felt “invisible.” It’s hard when there are so many voices and we know the things we’re supposed to be doing as far as marketing, but not necessarily seeing the results. But three words you said sound to me like the perfect solution: “trust Him completely.” So not easy for me to do…but something I want to get better at, that’s for sure.

    • Yes, I am truly one of the invisible ones. Doesn’t matter how loud I shout (in person or online), I’m just not the person others flock to. I’ve often described myself as wallpaper–not noticeable, but if someone points it out others might say, oh, that’s nice. Trust God completely doesn’t come naturally to our flesh, but I guess that’s why it’s called dying to self! 🙂

  12. Hi Anne,
    So often I have to remind myself that God does not place a dream in my heart or give me direction and then say, “now go do it.” Yes, I have to put in the work, but I need to wait for His lead and not run ahead of Him.

    I recently read the story of Jeroboam and thought the same thing, so I really like the connection you made here. Thank you for the reminder not to panic, but to continue to wait on God and follow Him.

    In Christ,
    Laura

    • Aren’t you glad He doesn’t say that to us, Laura? Because in myself I fail every single time! 🙂 I love the confirmation that He’s been whispering the same things to your heart as well! What a good God we serve.

    • Amen! I tend to be like a toddler and start demanding that He let me finish it myself. Oh, how I want to walk in dependency on HIm every single day! Thanks for stopping by, Christina.

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