There are many things in this world that freak me out: tornadoes, spiders, snakes, tsunamis, men who wear capri pants, ISIS, and yes, the gremlins under my bed. These are all valid reasons to be fearful. Yet, I’m also afraid of things that are less tangible—like chasing my dreams.
Why am I so afraid of pursuing my passions? Here are just a few reasons:
I am afraid of being rejected.
I am afraid of being ignored.
I am afraid of living a life that doesn’t matter.
I am afraid that I am not doing it right.
I am afraid that there are already too many people doing what I want to do, and they are doing it much better.
I am afraid that my words are useless and don’t have the ability to help anyone.
I am afraid that I will be discovered to be a fraud.
I am afraid that I am wasting my life.
I am afraid that I am not organized enough to follow through with my ideas.
I am afraid that I lack the perseverance to push through to the other side.
I am afraid that I don’t have enough knowledge or skill.
I am afraid that maybe I will sin in the process by becoming prideful or obsessed.
I am afraid that I didn’t hear correctly from God.
I am afraid of being labeled a narcissist or an idiot.
I am afraid that my “glory days” are in my past.
I am afraid that I am too old and no longer relevant.
I am scared my children and husband will be neglected and therefore will need extensive therapy in the years to come.
I am afraid that I am not like her… not funny enough, smart enough, wise enough, pretty enough, plain enough, popular enough, connected enough, exciting enough, or just TOO MUCH… which is another way of saying, “Not enough!”
You get the point?
I am afraid that I cannot break my old pattern of quitting everything I start, because I am obviously not going to win at anything. I always lose, so why should I try? I’m tired of first-runner up. I am afraid of getting close, but not getting to smoke the freaking cigar.
These are some of my intangible fears, and they were roaring in my face when I began to write a book.
In true Gideon fashion, I reminded God of my weaknesses, sin, shortcomings, and inconsistencies (as if He had forgotten them). I told God my exhausted list of concerns. I was quite confident He would agree with me that these fears are proof as to why I should never write a book or really do anything ambitious ever again.
I was scared to write a story that was and still is in process.
Similar to Gideon, I was hiding. But instead of in a winepress, I was hiding behind motherhood, my personality type (introvert), and a longtime struggle with depression. “God, are you sure that I should write? Did you forget that I was not exactly a stellar English student” (after reading one of my papers, a college professor asked me if I had a learning disability). I didn’t; I was just lazy.
“Seriously God? Do we really need another writer? I will never be as thankful as Ann Voskamp or as funny as Jen Hatmaker! Why can’t I just sing a song or something? At least I have been trained to do that.”
But then God whispered to my heart, reminding me that He is not limited by our limitations. He was calling me to trust in Him to provide the inspiration and words. He didn’t need me to have confidence in myself; instead, He was asking me to place my confidence in Him and His perfect track record.
So there I was on the elliptical machine, hashing it out with God… It was like my thoughts were swinging back and forth along with my feet. Half of me was focusing on all of these fears I have, but the other half of me just wanted to be a part of something REAL. I was sick and tired of small-talk-Christianity.
I want to talk to women who are real—women who have real struggles. I want them (and I’m one of them) to know a God who is REAL.
I am sick and tired of living in a photo-shopped world of women who always feel the weight of not measuring up. I am sick of unrealistic and often unbiblical expectations—especially the ones I place upon myself. I am sick and tired of hustling for my worth like a psychotic hamster on the treadmill of performance.
I am annoyed by the Christian culture that holds the The Proverbs 31 Woman over my head, like the golden calf of femininity. I want to be more than just a Proverbs 31 woman; I want to be an, “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful” type of woman. The Proverbs 31 woman was able to do all that she did because she feared the Lord and knew she was in desperate need of a Savior, just like myself.
Listen, if we cannot earn God’s approval based on our performance, then why do we hold ourselves to a standard of perfection? And worse yet, why do we hold other women to this nonsensical standard? So that’s it; I want to help others experience something REAL, and then God said, “It starts with YOU.”
But then God whispered to my heart, reminding me that He is not limited by our limitations.
I believed that God would be faithful to give me the words to say, but that other side began to swing forward again. Another fear? You might be thinking…
Yes. Truth be told, I am scared of you. Yeah… You totally freak me out.
I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was writing a book, and I would have kept it to myself if it weren’t for my husband who kept telling people. Why was I scared of you, and why do I still struggle with these fears?
I am scared that you will laugh at me behind my back. I am scared that you won’t understand my motives and intentions, or that you will understand me all-to-well and come to the conclusion that my weaknesses make me unworthy of trying. I am scared that you will think I have chosen the art of writing because I consider myself to be wise. I am scared that you won’t like what I say. I am scared my closest friends will distance themselves because they do not understand my new pursuit and the new ideas that are driving my decisions. I am scared you won’t like me.
When I write and put myself out there, there is a chance that I will hear crickets. Awkward. Then, I am left all by my lonesome thinking I am the only one that struggles. But I know in my heart of hearts that that is not the case. We all struggle, and I keep reminding myself of how good it feels when we connect with other people and say, “me too! You are not the only one!”
I write for this reason, as C.S. Lewis articulated, “We read to know that we are not alone.” So I will put my fears aside for the chance to be able to say to even just one woman, “You are not alone, friend.”
And for that one woman, there are a couple more things I’d like to say:
Life is messy and God is good.
Strong women build each other up, because of Jesus.
It’s okay to not be okay, because of Jesus.
Perfect people are boring and don’t make good friends.
It’s okay to be vulnerable because we all have “junk in the trunk” and stand in great need of a Savior.
Sometimes you just have to laugh because your kid has dropped his drawers in the front yard and is peeing like it’s his natural habitat.
But lastly, I write this post to encourage you to do that thing God is asking of you. Do not let fear keep you from living. Place your confidence in the Lord and ask Him to give you the faith to step boldly into the places He is calling you. I hope that you will feel encouraged to know that if I can do it (the girl who still thinks gremlins are out for her), then so can YOU! Love trumps fears. Look to God and find your courage! Muster up some grit and bask in His grace.