31 Days: Fear

Overcoming the Fear of Not Good Enough: 31 Days

Plant where your roots grow deepest.that willbe goodenough.I have this problem. Maybe you have it too?

I sometimes say yes to things because I fear no one else will. And because everyone is looking at me. Sometimes I say yes because I want to direct that play or write that post or read that book, but I don’t consider if I’m really ready to handle that situation in my current life.

Then I realize–I’m in way over my head and I’m not equipped to do this thing. Whatever it may be.

That happened when I took the position as MOPS coordinator for our local chapter three years ago. I had a new baby, had been staying home a year, had served already on the leadership team, was the only member of the sponsor church left on the team…of course I would lead this group because I needed it so badly in my own life.

It’s really hard to serve when you want to be served yourself. Just so you know. And I kept being told that God equips the called, rather than calling the equipped. While I do believe that, I also believe that sometimes God is shaking his head when I’m nodding mine.

I can look back on those two years of leadership now and see God’s hand. That he let me be a bridge leader that helped the group transition to the amazing ministry it is now–and not that it wasn’t great then. But He let me lead during a crisis time when everything felt unsettled and He let me see that even when I know I’m not equipped, He is. So he gave me people on my team who buoyed me up, met my soul-hungry needs for spiritual support, and helped me find where my gift truly lies.

It’s not leadership.

And I can be okay with “not being good enough” at that because I’ve found where my spirit truly quickens.

I am a writer.

Saying those words took a lot of over coming that big not-good-enough lie too.

I haven’t published enough.

I don’t have enough followers.

I can’t understand all the lingo.

No one’s really paying me to do this. 

But I’m doing it. I’m saying it. I’m claiming it.

I’m believing that I am good enough for whatever I may be called to do with this gift. And I’m learning everyday that I can do more than I ever imagined.

I’d encourage you to ask yourself–is it that you feel “not good enough”? Or is the true wrestle in your soul coming from the feeling that you’re not where you’re supposed to be?

Because when we let ourselves be planted where our roots can grow deepest, that’s when we become strong and spread ourselves wide–

and are always good enough.

31 Days: Fear

Sticks and Stones and Fearing People: 31 Days

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trust in the Lord will be kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

We hurled angry words at one another across that small bedroom of a rented house in the mountains. Feelings we’d kept pushed down until we cast them at one another like sticks and stones.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. 

What a lie.

Sometimes we have to break; we have to bruise and bleed and burn before we heal.  Holding back resentment and jealousy and pride only keeps us trapped inside our fear.

I can’t tell my sister (or my friend or my spouse or my co-worker or my child) how I really feel because what if she gets mad at me? Fear of confrontation has locked me so deep inside myself I can’t see beyond my own hurt to the heart of the matter. Face the fear of confrontation.

Ensnared by my own fear.

Not her words, her actions, her fear–but mine. My own worry that peace is better than pain.

Maybe sometimes peace is worth the keeping quiet. But when peace comes at the cost of anxiety, depression, and retreat, when keeping peace means not keeping those you love and value and cherish–

the time has come to fight free from the trap. Say the words and release the snare. Face the fear of confrontation and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself speaking truth for the very first time. 

And rekindling a relationship that had nearly been lost.

This post is part of my 31 Days series: When Fear is Crippling. You can read all the pieces here. And in the comments below, you can tell me I’m not the only one who gave herself a stomach ulcer when faced with confrontation.

31 Days: Fear

Because Failure Is What I Fear Most: 31 Days

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old. That’s when my parents put a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie in my hands, and I thought, I could do this too.

Tell stories. String words together to form images and persons and tears. Send someone into a world so different, yet so the same as their own that they long to step into pages and walk alongside those who exist only in imagination.

I wrote stories and poems and songs and terrific, terrible works of childhood. At twelve I was probably more of a writer than I am even today. In childhood, there was no fear of admitting this dream, because every child has an outlandish dream to become something truly great.

Then the fear set in, rooted itself deep and tight in my soul and heart and mind.

You’ll never be good enough. Failing Other People

You’ll try and you’ll fail and no one will ever respect you. 

They will judge you and tear you to pieces and you will be ashamed.

So I found my safety net. Teaching became a natural path for this creative type who wanted security and maybe just a touch of success. I knew I could be really good in a classroom. I knew I had compassion and idealism and knowledge. I knew that the best teachers evoke change in their students because of the passion brought into the room everyday. I knew I could do this, I could build up my confidence, and then, maybe someday, I’d stop scribbling in the dark and bring some of my own works into the light.

I floundered around in college. Theater welcomed me in and let me be part of telling stories that truly came alive. I learned to research and listen and delve deeper into words on a page. I thought this would be it–I’d be a high school drama teacher who maybe, one day would also write a book. That would become a play.

That would share a story.

Then I found no fear in love and settled down with a steady man who would give me the moon and the stars if he could. Then we had four beautiful, boisterous children.

Then I realized fear had taken over my life.

Mid-thirties approached with the knowledge that I had never been published, never been exposed, never been called a writer in the way I wanted to be. Blogging wasn’t satisfying this deep longing of my soul.

Blogging was teaching me to find the voice that would tell the stories buried in my heart–stories that weren’t always mine, but someone else’s. Stories that would keep putting light and hope and redemption into this dark world of fear.

And I found to my surprise that failing other people is nothing compared to the discovery that I had failed myself. 

So I wrapped my fear and my hope in a pretty shirt from StitchFix, packaged it into a neat one page and a 500 word excerpt, and I sat down at the table across from an editor and a real, published, well-known author.

And she told me I shouldn’t be afraid of my gift. That I was a talented writer. That my voice was strong.

And in that moment, the crippling weight of fear lifted, and anticipation, that blessed hope that someday this will happen, took its place.

You can read a sample of my fiction over here and here on the Lightning Blog with Splickety Publishing. And if you sign up for email posts, you’ll know when my award-winning short story comes out in Southern Writers Magazine later this month (because I might shout that from the rooftops).

Tell me–what’s holding you back from your dreams? Because kids and laundry and life will always tug at me, but I tell myself over and over, At least I’m trying. Can I help you try in some way?

31 Days: Fear

No Fear in Love: 31 Days

There is no fear

Sometimes, like Scout and Jem at the beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird, I get in an argument with myself about where this story begins.

Everything started last October. When we came home from Denver and the little ones were sick. That’s when I became afraid (with the silly fear of mothers) that life would never be the same again. I’d spend the rest of my days cleaning up from the relentless stomach virus. After all, that lasted until Thanksgiving and the real nightmare began.

Then I think past that and I remember my husband’s heart scare. I remember the difficulties of the year before when our youngest and only son was born. The year I stepped out of my classroom role and into full-time mom and thought my world had ended.

Then, then, I think long past that. Back to earlier days when our most pressing concern was choosing between the cafeteria and the cafe before play rehearsal, when we could stay up way past midnight eating hash browns at Waffle House and studying for my Spanish exam, when my first inklings of fear were doused by the words I ran across one night after we’d been dating several months and people began asking just where this might be going.

We sat in my car outside his dorm. Dark night. Cloudy probably, because I don’t remember the stars and Berry College is known for beautiful skies. He’d told me he loved me months before. We didn’t talk about the future as senior year scuttled forward and Christmas loomed on the horizon. My plans to teach somewhere, maybe even as far off as New York where my friends told me I’d be eaten alive by the public school system, no longer seemed my own.

The terror of making a decision not knowing what he was thinking, not knowing if he wanted to be a part of that, twisted deep in my gut. And then–

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

Love drives out fear. A verse I’d stumbled across during church that morning when I was listening for the Lord instead of the sermon.

We sat in my car and he held my hand and ran his thumb over mine in what would become so familiar and trademark gesture that later, I would use that move when writing a love story. Because I knew then, this man loved me with no fear for what may come.

The tighter he held my hand, the more I could trust this unknown future.

Love casts out fear.

A promise I have clung to through thirteen years of marriage, four boisterous kids, and more than one terrifying experience.

This is the beginning of my story.

This post is part of the 31 Days challenge. Read all my posts here or subscribe to this blog (there’s a button under my picture over there). I’m writing 31 days on one topic, but don’t expect 31 posts. Because did you see the line about four kids? And how I write over here too

31 Days: Fear

When Fear Chokes: 31 Days

Untitled designLast night, my daughter choked on a lifesaver.

Clumped in a crowded school hallway in the midst of the annual fall festival, while I wrangled her and her brother and her daddy wrangled the fishing line at the kindergarten booth, she screamed and gasped and retched. And I had no idea what to do.

I had no idea what was happening. She could breathe–because lifesavers have holes, hence their name–but when she bent over and heaved and her face turned purple with the effort, my heart crippled with the fear.

Then up came that little red circle of obstruction (along with her dinner). She cried. I cried. We got her some water and a quiet place and within half an hour, she was running around the cake walk with her best friend and eating cotton candy.

I, on the other hand, sat watching her and shaking. The ripplings of fear still worked their way from my soul.


 

We sing the song in church,. “You are peace, you are peace, when my fear is crippling.”  And for a long time, I couldn’t work the words past the lump in my throat and the vice around my heart.

Fear has lodged itself deep, deep into my being and learning to trust, learning to believe, learning to loosen its grip is my everyday struggle.

There are times when I choke daily on my own fears.

Of failure. Inadequacy. Inauthenticity. Being unloved. Being unwanted. Being unequipped. Of the unexpected and of the unknown.

But when the Lord gives the promise–like he gave Moses as the Israelites wandered the desert–he tells us not to fear.

See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 1:21

He gave the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. But it was a a land full of giants and walled cities.

So they remained trapped by their fear for forty long years.

Maybe some fears are like that lifesaver with a hole for precious breath and a lesson of patience. Some fears do, indeed, keep us safe.

But, I’m thirty-five years old. I have a beautiful life full of promise. A life I no longer want to be crippled and trapped by the fear that if I trust, I might lose everything.

Because if I don’t live the life I’m given, I’ve already lost.

And fear wins.

What do you fear? What are you looking for in reading this 31 days series?

31 Days: Fear

31 Days: When Fear is Crippling

Y’all. I did it.

Welcome to my new site. It’s not as pretty as the old one (yet!) but in the last twenty-four hours I faced one of my little fears–

HOLD ON-3

if I move my blog myself, I’ll break it.

I didn’t. It didn’t. At least I don’t think so–everything working for you?

Sometimes we just have to take the plunge and draw the breath and trust our gut. Even when it’s something as small as taking a site from Blogger to WordPress.

Today is the first day of October. 2015. Life goes by in a crazy blur sometimes.  One year ago I had no idea how afraid I could really be.

Then my beautiful daughter developed an unexplainable neurological condition that may not have a recovery.

For the next 31 days, as I acclimate myself to this new site and new brand–I don’t just write the randomness of motherhood anymore–I’ll share our story.

Some of you know it. Some of you don’t. My prayer is that you’ll follow along, chime in on the conversation, and walk with me through the valley of shadow.

When Fear is Crippling: A 31 Days Series

When Fear Chokes (my daughter chokes on a lifesaver but I’m the ones strangled)

No Fear in Love (why I’m never afraid with him)

Because Failure is What I Fear Most (on writing and terror)

When Fear Eats Holes in Your Soul (we had mice and my faith fabric ripped)

Sticks and Stones and Fearing People (facing confrontation and speaking truth)