When We're Afraid
Fear is a touchy subject for me. It is a problem I constantly struggle with in every area of my life. I am always, always reluctant to talk about it. And I never write about it, except when it's a fear that one of my characters feels (my way of expressing how I truly feel).
But I am bringing it up today, because I recently conquered a fear of mine, (with God's help, of course!)
This week, I recorded the first video module for my fiction-writing course! A few weeks ago, my mentor encouraged me to pursue this goal, and (although I didn't admit it) I was completely terrified.
You see, I am what Moses would have described as “slow of speech.” I can sit and write for hours on end about something I feel strongly about, but if you put me in front of someone, I freeze up. For some reason, words just never come to me that way. No, my words come through a keyboard or pen. Never from my lips. So when I sat in front of a camera, I was petrified.
We all have a fear.
Many of us (like me) have several fears. Many of those fears have to do with our writing. These fears need to be overcome before we can move forward with our dreams and become who God has made us to be. If you have a story, then it is there for a reason, and that reason will only be made clear to you when your fears are no longer standing in the way.
It's most likely different for every one of us, but many of us may experience the same fears, the same stumbling blocks that threaten and sometimes win their mission to stop us, to hinder us, to prevent us from doing that one thing we so long to do.
I've been a writer for five years. In that time, I have experienced more writing-related fears than I thought possible. Certainly more than I thought I'd have to worry about.
What I thought I was capable of - and who I thought I was - changed drastically the moment I decided to write.
All of a sudden these fears I had never before encountered came at me full force, and it took me a lot of time, work, emotional battles, and a whole lot of faith and prayer to help me overcome them to the point that I have.
Many of those fears might be yours, so I'd like to go one by one with the ones I've 'met':
The fear of failure.
This one is probably the most common. What if I'm not as good as I think? What if I try, and I'm a complete failure? What if I never make it as a writer?
The fear of success.
This isn't a commonly talked about fear, but it exists even when you don't think it does. I sure didn't, but it's the fear of What if I do succeed? What if I get too successful, and it gets too big for me to handle? Can I keep up with the pressure?
The fear of sharing your work.
This one is also common, and goes along with #1. You write and write and hold it all back, worried about what others will think if you make yourself vulnerable and show your heart to the world.
The fear of having been wrong the whole time
What if I was mistaken? What if I'm not really cut out for this, and I've been lying to myself the whole time? What if I'm not a writer?
These are all very real fears, and you'll probably encounter every one of them as you grow as a writer. I've faced all four of these, and while I'm not a psychiatrist, I can give you my personal take on them, in one simple statement.
They're all lies.
Every. Single. One.
These are tools from out ultimate Antagonist. You see, he can't accept that God wants to use you for something amazing. He has to try and stop you in any way he can, and he does it by placing these lies in your mind to slow you down or even stop you altogether. It's because you are serving the Lord, and writing for His glory, and the only way to combat these lies is to recognize them for what they are.
Because we shouldn't be afraid. Yes, we might fail. Yes, we might succeed. Yes, we won't be able to know how our words will be taken, or how far it will go.
But you are and will always be a writer.
We can't change or 'get rid of' these fears. But what we can do is overcome them. Yes, you're desperately afraid of failing. But you can't let that stop you. Yes, even if there is a great chance that, you think, you will fail, do it anyway.
Because it's not you that's doing it, and it's not you who's in charge. It's God, and it is His plan that will prevail, whether that means you win or lose, succeed or fail. And even if you do fail, you can't let that stop you either. Because, even though it may sometimes sound like a cliché, He has a plan for you. And nothing, not even a few fears, is going to stop Him.
So it shouldn't stop you.
If anything, having these fears should remind us of one of the greatest truths of all: we are incapable, and unable to do this on our own. It's too much for us, As one of my favorite songs says, “In over my head keeps my counting on You.”
When we're afraid, it puts us in a place where we don't only want God's help - we need it. We need Him, because we can't do it on our own.
And really, when we get right down to it, that's what this is all about.
I want to hear from you.
Admitting and discussing your fears with others who totally understand is a great way to start overcoming them. What is your greatest fear? What threatens to hold you back from what you were meant to do?
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