I’ve got a confession to make: I have a lot of FEARS.
I struggle with anxiety, though I try not to show it often. Among my many lists of fears, three of them are heights, public speaking, and WRITING. (I bet you’re thinking then why is she blogging?) Given the choice, I would rather rock climb up a tall mountain, or jump out of an airplane (with a parachute of course), than to speak in public or share one of my writings. As a Pastor’s Kid (PK) and also after being an overseas missionary for a few years, I’ve had more opportunities to practice and face my fear of public speaking.
Writing – on the other hand, is taking a little more time. It’s not like I’m afraid of the pen or paper or even words. Actually writing has become quite therapeutic for me, a very handy coping mechanism I’ve come to enjoy to jot my thoughts, feelings, and ideas down. The scary part – is letting others read my writing.
I’m trying to think of a where this fear stems from. There may be a connection to my Language Arts Classes. All throughout school, from elementary to university, it wasn’t my best grade. Part of the reason I chose to major in art during college was thinking I wouldn’t have to write so much. That was not the case.
I guess I didn’t always understand all the grammar rules and proper formatting. I remember dreading getting a paper back just to see it filled with red marks. To me those marks were saying, “you’re stupid, you’re a failure.” This may not have been exactly what initiated this fear, but it certainly didn’t help it. Over the course of time I had to learn to see those marks as saying “you’ve got some work to do, but this does NOT have to define you.”
What’s really behind the fear?
See the bottom line for these fears of mine was that it was a fear of people. (O.K. well maybe not heights. That’s more like fear of falling from a high place and plummeting to your death. But I digress. 😉) Back to fear of people – the reason I have been so scared to speak in front of people, or share my words with others, was because I was afraid of being judged or rejected.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this need to please people. There was a strong desire to fit in and to want others to like me that I was spending so much time and effort trying to please everyone. The problem with that however, is you CAN’T actually please EVERYONE, especially without wearing yourself out. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. After years of trying and a change of perspective I finally learned that the only one I need to please is God, and he doesn’t make you work hard to try and earn his love or favor. In fact he gives it freely as a gift:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9 (emphasis mine)
By embracing that gift, and accepting God’s love, I allow myself to be free from all these fears.
For “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”1 John 4:18 (emphasis mine)
As I grow in my faith and walk with God, and allow him to release me from this stronghold, it is then I am able to see myself as God sees me:
- As someone who is LOVED, no matter what. (Ephesians 1:4, John 3:16)
- As someone with a PURPOSE. (Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11)
- As someone who is BRAVE. (Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:13, Hebrews 13:6)
My husband and I often teach our daughter that being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. But rather,
being brave means acting in spite of fear.
When we give in to fear, we miss out on what God has in store for us.
Take a look at an example from God’s Word found in the book of Numbers chapter 13.
This story takes place during the time that Moses was leading God’s people out of Egypt and into the land God promised them. After years of wandering around the wilderness, they finally arrived at this Promised Land. Moses sent in twelve spies to scout out the land.
The spies came back with reports that the land was indeed a “bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27 NLT). However they also said that the people living in the land were powerful, they were giants.
Out of the twelve spies, only two said “Let’s go, and take the land… we can certainly conquer it” (Numbers 13:30). The other ten disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” (Numbers 13:31). This was the report the rest of the people listened to, and so they chose NOT go into the land, and turned back into the wilderness.
The land was ALREADY theirs! Yet they gave into their fears, rather than believe the promise of God. Walking into our purpose and into God’s promise won’t always be easy. It may even mean facing giants. But just because something is scary or hard and there are obstacles, doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant for us.
What has fear kept me from?
Just like Moses and the Israelites, I’ve let fear keep me from what God has in store. Fear has had control over me far too often, and I’m not going to let it anymore. I’m choosing to claim my identity that God has made me brave. There are many areas of my life that I need to do this with, and it will be a process, but I won’t let that stop me.
That’s what I’m doing with my writing. Even though putting my heart out there for people to read or see terrifies me. Even though I may risk failure, judgement, or rejection, I know I can cling to God and with Him I can do this. I believe with all my heart that God has given me experiences and life lessons that I can share to help encourage someone else.
When we experience God and all the life transforming power he offers, we can’t keep it to ourselves. We shouldn’t. So here I go, facing my fears, jumping in, taking the leap of faith, and sharing my stories with the hopes that it will empower others to also pursue their God given dreams and live a life with purpose.