“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do”
For the past few years, I have felt my hopes and dreams nudging me to do something more with my writing. I have always loved to write but have never taken it much beyond my journals or small, comfortable writing projects. I have held my passion comfortably within my own personal comfort zone while never venturing too far beyond its borders.
Over the years though, the nudge to do something more has become increasingly stronger. I have felt my heart grow to a place in which I want to use my experiences and struggles to do more to encourage and help others. Quite a large feat for someone who feels very comfortable in her own cozy bubble.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a feat as an achievement that requires great courage, skill and strength. A daunting definition for anyone who is plagued with fear at the mere thought of stepping beyond their comfort zone.
Despite my fears, I know that if I am going to take this persistent nudge and transform it into existence, I need to step beyond my journals and easy writing projects. Although I have self published a book and started my own blog, I am not immune from fear when it comes to contemplating new possibilities.
Life is filled with so many learning opportunities and we are never too old to learn. Even if you are a 55 year old woman who hasn’t been to school in 37 years!
A few years ago, I discovered a writing course that would be a perfect companion for my writing dreams. The course only opens a couple of times each year for enrollment and in the past I have talked myself out of registering with critical self talk. In my mind I hear, “You aren't smart enough!” “You will never be a good writer!”
In pursuit of my dreams, when I saw my much desired course open enrollment, I stepped beyond my fear and courageously jumped in!
The class is challenging but I see my skills growing every day. As I go through the coursework, I am assigned writing challenges to cultivate practice and creativity. My most recent challenge was to write a devotion based on a single phrase and then share it with someone.
I am so blessed to have a wonderfully sweet daughter-in-law. She is the person I chose to share my work with. Before I shared it, I told her it was an exercise to help me overcome my fear of having others read my work. She quickly responded, “How can you have fear when you’re a published author and blogger?!?!” A completely valid question.
Despite my achievements, I still struggle with fear. We all do. I know I can’t be the only one who fears spiders and garter snakes. I know my fear of heights isn't solitary.
When it comes to my writing, I fear harsh criticism, unread articles and unacceptance.
The feelings of fear are real, my friend, and they have an amazing ability to completely stop our momentum. They prevent us from living life fully.
Fear that our chronic illness will debilitate us beyond a healthy existence.
Fear that our finances will fail and that life will unavoidably crumble.
Fear that we will spend our lives alone.
The funny thing about fears is that although we feel they are imminent, many of them will never even happen.
That spider on the bedroom wall will not attack me while I am sleeping. The harmless Garter Snake, who lives on the other side of the lawn, won't chase after me each time I walk out my front door.
This is not to say that our fears aren’t real, because they are. The problem is that statistically 91% of our fearful worries will never happen. Fear paralyzes us. Fear stops us from living.
Life has taught me that in order to live a joyful, happy life, I sometimes need to push through my fears and worries and do life anyways. For me it means committing myself and my underqualified thoughts to an intense writing course. For you it may be stepping out of your cozy little bubble and going on a solitary adventure or pushing your fears aside to discover much needed community.
Feeding our fears only gives them life and compromises the joy and happiness that each of us desires.
Fears can either debilitate our forward motion or they can be opportunities to push through what is holding us back and live life fully. My encouragement to you, friends, is that you choose forward momentum and push right through whatever fears are holding you back. Live life fully, even if it means you need to do it afraid!
For today - Choose life over fear!
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