That Time I Was Grateful for Fear

I’m sharing about fear over here today — at my friend Kayse’s. I’m sharing about fear.

About how I didn’t want to do it.

About how she called on a normal afternoon and we had a normal conversation, and then suddenly the winds changed and blew in from the east and the words she spoke made me shudder from the inside out,

“I’d like to put in your name as a possible speaker for our women’s event in the fall.”

And about how I sort-of-kind-of threw up just a little bit in my mouth.

And then about the good that came from the fear and how by the end, I was grateful.

Make sure you click over to Kayse’s to read the whole story, wrapped up in the amazing grace of God’s faithfulness.

Blessings, friend!

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on coming out of hiding

butterfly

I’ve come back here, to this place, many times over the past few weeks. And I’ve sat and stared at a blank screen and felt a complete range of emotions. Exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, bored, lonely, fruitless.

I thought my little break was a chance to take a breather from the chaos of the striving and unwind a bit. To cocoon, if you will…give myself place to regenerate.

And then, one fine morning as I savored my coffee, my husband said I needed to get over it.

Get over what?

The feeling that it’s not worth it, not worth doing. Not worth writing.

Oh. That.

His words pierced a place I didn’t even know I was masking.

And the tears that projectile’d forth across the ottoman were proof that what started as a valid little break might have morphed into a foundation upon which I built a wall to hide behind.

Because the truth is, I haven’t felt like it’s been worth the effort. In most areas of my life, it feels like my efforts have brought forth so very little results. And so, like most times in my past, I gave up and ran away. I ran away from my own desires and heart and pathway to God.

Does anyone else do that too?

It’s funny, though, how God doesn’t let you quit though, even when you want to. How His whispers and inklings and nudges and prods interrupt your previously scheduled apathy and stir something inside of you.

– Like when your husband tells you to get over it and expects to see you have written something. Soon.

– Or a friend you haven’t met in person feels prompted to email you and conveys how much your writing has ministered to her and her Bible Study, and to be encouraged.

– Or another friend you haven’t meant in person prays for you and physically mails you a card with, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

And in three fell swoops, the quietly-erected wall crumbles and into a heap and the truth shines brightly despite tear-stained vision.

How can I not believe He is for me??

I’ve allowed the results to determine my success, not the process. And oh, the lies we believe when we focus only on the results! God doesn’t care about the butterfly flying as much as He cares about the transformation that takes it from a crawler to a flyer. And what charges Him about us is not the end result, but the transformation that takes us from dead to alive.

Because the reality is, results will happen eventually, anyway. Just His way. His timing. And…His definition of success.

It’s taken me the past few months and this process of trying and failing and cocooning to realize that my heart’s true desire is for the process. It’s the continual being in the process of that brings me closer to Him, more connected to Him, dependent on Him. And it’s been necessary for me to go through this quiet process — not so God knows where my heart is, but so that I can know it for myself.

So I’m committed to not quitting. To getting up and dusting myself off and coming out of hiding. To walking through another process with Him.

Oh, and writing again.

What about you? Do you need to get up and come out of hiding, too? I am committed to being the friend you’ve never met who will cheer you on and hold you up when you need it most. And I am believing in your transformation, wholeheartedly.

Here’s to flying freely, my friend.

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Five Minute Friday #35 – AFRAID

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: AFRAID

GO.

Poise

The scales are evenly balanced and I’m just waiting, waiting for one more ounce of truth to fall to tip them in one way or the other so I know. Do I let go or push through?

Time and resources and circumstances are all dispersed on the scales and it’s so heavy — I can’t lift or carry it anymore and I just need that one whisper of  a feather to fall on one side or the other.

Is this God’s way of telling me to let go? Or is it His way of testing whether or not I’ll push through and persevere?

Discouragement has convinced me to give up. Let it go. Put it to rest. But trust in what He’s told me tells me to set my face like flint and keep moving.

And the more I question, the more fear sets in:

  • I’m afraid of losing momentum
  • I’m afraid of letting go
  • I’m afraid if I let go it won’t come back to me
  • I’m afraid of losing ground

And then the truth rises from the center of the scale in a whisper but I hear it as a shout:

You don’t trust me.

And I try to convince myself otherwise but the words ring hollow even in my own ears.

AFRAID-FMF-01

And I’m reminded of Sarai and Ishmael and that’s not how I want this child to be born. I want a better story than that. Deep down, I truly do want it to be God’s child and His gift, not a fabrication of my own handiwork. (<= tweet that)

So the scales still sit there, perfectly balanced because the pound of truth that came didn’t fall to the side that said quit, and it didn’t fall to the side that said go.

It fell to the dead center that says not to let it go but to lay it down. And to trust Him for today. To be still and be free and know that He is God. To be unfettered and careless in the care of God. And to just do what He has for me to do today. And to enjoy life.

“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (Matthew 6:26, The Message)

STOP.

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Five Minute Friday #32 – DIVE

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: DIVE

Raised arms woman

GO.

I stand at the edge and peek over and see the reflection of her. She’s strong and confident and gentle and wise and loves Jesus with her whole heart. She sets goals and reaches them and she doesn’t get lazy or self-sabotage herself. She taunts me unintentionally just by being her and me just being me.

It’s the pattern of my almost-40 years. Get close…so close to the person I see in my mind’s eye, the person who I’m dying inside to be but get close enough to the edge but then cannot will myself to go over. The fear comforts like an child’s old blanket and I look at her and whisper someday and then turn and walk away with my blanket wrapped tightly around my shoulders keeping hidden from the Me I’m meant to be.

He asks me regularly if I’m going to have the courage to live a life true to myself or the life I think others expect of me. And he texted it to me the other day for me to read over and over in black and white. My husband sees her too and even though he’s in love with me he sees how much I desire her and it kills him. Kills him that I can’t just dive in and let the waters wash way my blanket of fear and allow myself to float in the peace of God’s unknown. What started out as silly joking about his white shirts turned into an hour-long conversation with me in tears wondering why I can’t just dive in.

I erase goals from my lists because it’s easier to not see them than to see I didn’t reach them. There are dreams I stare at from across the room and admire the ladder that reaches them. And then I walk away and instead pursue the mundane because it’s easier and less work and less failure and less success.

But each time I walk away, it leads me right back to the edge where I peek over and see the reflection of her. And she’s strong and confident and gentle and wise and loves Jesus with her whole heart. And then I see she’s not perfect, not in the least. But she walks in peace instead of fear. And regardless of failures or successes or work or difficulty she floats in the pool of peace.

And it’s then I realize the pool is made up of the tears I’ve shed wanting so much to be who she I made to be. And it’s made up of tears she’s shed, sad that I’m still afraid to swim.

And it’s made up of tears God has shed watching me self-loathe and decide I’m not worth it.

It’s time to drop the blanket of fear and shout today is the day! and dive in. (<= Tweet that)

STOP.

I’m a Writer. (So I’m Acting Like One.)

I’ve always written.

As early as four years old, I’d create little books that folded into multiple pages and I’d illustrate and write the story. When I was around seven or eight, I’d carry a notebook with me to restaurants and write stories while my parents talked. In the fourth grade, I took an extracurricular class where I wrote a book and bound it. That book got me into a weekend writers conference for other elementary school students.

And if I wasn’t writing books I was reading books. Stacks and stacks and stacks of books.

Somehow along the way, I lost my faith in myself as a writer. In college, I minored in English. And while I got A’s on all my English papers, I struggled in my fictional creative writing class. Everyone else was better than I was…more creative. I got intimidated. I shelved writing for good.

But the love of it never went away.

The need of it never went away.

I need to write in order to gain clarity. If I see a movie that challenges me, I have to write to organize my thoughts. If I read a book that stirs me, writing helps me categorize my feelings. If I’m struggling with a spiritual issue, writing is my prayer and God responds in the process.

It’s what I do.

But I would have never, ever, EVER called myself “a writer.” Not qualified enough. Not gifted enough.

Just not enough…never, ever enough.

* * *

I started reading a new book. It’s called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins.

This book is kicking my tail.

“You are a writer. You just need to write.”

“The truth was much simpler. When do you become a writer? ‘When you say you are,’ he said.”

“Before others will believe what is true about you, you’ll have to first believe it yourself.”

He talks about how writers (and other creative artists) feel as though their true passion is something they long to do, but don’t feel they can do. The problem is, they don’t call themselves what they are. Instead, the life they long to live is at odds with the one they’re actually living.

The solution, however, is simple. Call yourself a writer (or an artist or a dancer). And then write (or paint or dance).

* * *

It feels conceited to say I’m a writer. Like somehow the world will stand up and shout, “Oh really, you think you can write? I’ll show you a real writer!” or ” How are you qualified to write?”

If those fears don’t shame me, then it’s the taunting whispers of “but you’re not published” and “no one follows you” or “you’re not educated enough” that plague me.

One stumbling block after another — one brick wall after another.

You’re just not enough…never, ever enough.

* * *

I’m trying to diminish the power these walls and stumbling blocks have over me. Because the truth is I know what I love and I know what I do. And I can let fear paralyze me. OR, I can proclaim it boldly (with just a small bit of nervousness):

I’m a writer.

So I’m going to act like one.

And I’m going to write.

* * *
What declaration do you need to proclaim boldly about yourself?