a novelist's dabblings · Owlish Contemplations

What Are You Afraid Of?

I have a confession to make.

I have this fear …

… of what you may ask?

Writing.

Excuse me? Did I hear correctly? You’re afraid … of the very thing you’re doing now? You have a public blog, you’ve filled notebooks since you were seven, and English was always your favorite class in high school – and you’re scared to write?

Yes, to all of the above. I have a passion, and I’m afraid to use it. I have a love, and I keep it tucked away, telling myself that it doesn’t matter and what do I have to offer the world anyway? My pretty little scribblings are just to tickle my fancy, so why should I do anything with them?

But then God reminds me again of the parable of the master who entrusted his servants with talents while he was away … and I don’t think it’s a mistake that they called their money “talents” back then. Because every time I come to that passage, I know God is saying to me, “What are you doing with the talents I gave you? Are you going to be like the unworthy servant who hid his talent away and did nothing with it? Is that truly the best way to honor Me?”

No … that is no way to honor my Maker – the Author of all creativity, who saw it so fit to give me a love for writing. And if He gives us a love for anything, He has the ability to make it great in our lives for His glory. But if I continue to let fear over-rule my passion, it will wither away and die … and I’ll never know what could have become of it. It’s like that quote – though it may be over-done, it’s still true: “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you don’t try, yes, you will be safe. But you will also be robbing the world of some of God’s gifts if you keep them to yourself and never develop them.

Very few people stepped out with the gift already perfected in them … most of us have to work hard at it and refine it and not be afraid to learn and grow. But I … I’ve assumed that since nothing has happened with my writing, nothing ever will. Seriously?? It hasn’t happened because I haven’t tried to do anything with it!

A beautiful quote from a book that I can’t wait to show up on my doorstep: “Those of us who were marked as writers … but have pushed aside the calling of the Muse might as well surrender and do the thing we’re meant to do. Otherwise, that longing inside our hearts will never be stilled.” (Judy Reeves from A Writer’s Book of Days) I know it’s true. The longing will always be there to put together words, fit together sentences, describe people, weave their stories, and be amazed at the waterfall of words that God can bring about through willing fingers … so why am I staying back and anxiously pretending that it’s not there? Fear of failure. Fear of opinions. Fear of judgment. Fear of my own inadequacy.

But dreams don’t come true if we just sit still. We have to take a risk. We have to jump. We have to encourage and love on those around us who are risking and jumping. Because it’s the most beautiful thing to see someone fulfilling their God-ordained passions and loves in life. Those, I believe, are the most satisfied and happy people … and we’ll never get there if we stay in the safety zone of predictability and self-assurance.

No. You have something unique to offer the world that no one else does. And so do I. So risk it. Take the plunge. Write a book. Become a dancer. Tell someone you love them. Invent something. Learn something you’ve always wanted to know. Travel somewhere exciting. It’s your choice. And if you decide to jump … you might just discover a world filled with colors more brilliant than you could imagine.

What are you afraid of tonight? I think sometimes we just need to name our fears and identify them. Because the more we ignore them, the more power they have in our lives to subtly take over and keep us from doing that which we want most to do. When we speak them out loud, we can begin to slay them by acknowledging that God gives us something bigger than that fear – power in Him. It’s time. I’m ready. It’s my turn to say no to my fear and yes to being vulnerable … and yes to the love of writing.

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