About six years ago, I facilitated a weight-loss/fitness challenge for forty friends we called F5. As part of the shtick, I sent weekly affirmations and emails to the group meant to focus and encourage us as well as bring some humor and love to our strife for healthy living. When the challenge ended, several friends urged me to continue writing and a blog seemed a great answer. So my 41stbirthday gift to myself was this blog site. I paid my husband’s talented web designer Kristen to establish it and walk me through how to add content to the page. Easy. I was set and had all intention of publishing what was stirring in my heart and those words that were always swimming in my head. The blog sat here waiting for me to add to it, and, well… I just never did. I wanted to write. Actually, I did write; I just didn’t published anything to the page. Something kept getting in the way, namely myself. And a big fat horrible word called “fear.”
“Fear” is most likely the scariest and most vulgar of all the four-letter words. Forget the other “f-word”, this one is much worse. I’m not sure there is anything more destructive, more hurtful, harmful, or intimidating to a person’s soul than fear. If you’re like me, it has kept you from doing things you know you should be doing. Giving in to it has prevented me from taking on this project I felt called to; I’ve allowed fear to let me be stuck. While I am sure I’ve heard God whispering to my heart to hone my writing, the condemning voice of fear has declared no one needs or wants to hear my voice. Fear has told me there are already too many writers out there and no one needs my perspective. I’ve been afraid that I’d find out I really can’t write after all; that people would think my ideas are stupid and well, maybe that I’m stupid too. Fear. Like even as I am typing all of this I am afraid that someone is out there reading it and saying “yep, you are.”
But here’s the thing: today is my forty-fourth birthday. For three years I’ve let this fear be in control of me. If I am honest, I can tell you that just about every night before I go to bed I think, “why didn’t I do it today?” There’s a bit of sadness that has crept in because of that fear. Disappointment. Discontent. And I am done with it. I’ve decided to put it down. I’ve decided that the continued trade-off of not being embarrassed or not having someone out there think I am an idiot is not worth not doing what I feel called to do. What I want to do. I don’t even know WHY I feel called to this, WHY I want to or need to do it, I just know that I do. I’m pretty sure it’s God nudging me forward to something– I have no idea what, but I’m finally figuring out my real job in life is to listen and obey God’s nudges.
Obviously, I didn’t get to this place where I’m finally ready over night. It was a process. Poco a poco. Three years! And like I said, I still struggle with the fear. But I’ve decided to claim what God tells me about fear and move ahead. A quick Bible Gateway search tells me that the phrases “fear not” and “do not be afraid” appear over 80 times in the NLT version of the Bible—that’s a lot. One of my favorites is Joshua 1:9: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God is constantly reminding us to trust him. Today I can. And so today I will. I hope you will, too. What has fear kept you from these past three years? Three weeks? Three days? Be strong, friend. Be courageous. Rest in Him and go do it.