Fear, Hit the Road!

Admit it. You’re scared.

No matter how many times you’ve been published, no matter how many awards you’ve won, no matter how many manuscripts you have finished and waiting in your files, no matter if you’ve never let any of your writing see the light of day…in the far reaches of your mind there’s a voice screaming, “What in the world do you think you’re doing?!?!?!?”

You know, if you let it, fear and panic will freeze you in your tracks.

What do you do with it? Ignore it? Hope it will go away? Tell yourself the next step on the road to publication will finally silence it?

What are we so afraid of, anyway?

We’re afraid someone is going to find out we’re a poser. The little dog is going to pull back the curtain and everyone will see who we really are…and that person is just me.

Not Agatha Christie, or Shakespeare, or Dickens. Not Beverly Lewis, or J.K. Rowling, or Gilbert Morris…

just me.

I’m not a writer. Who do I think I am?

Eventually, someone is going to expose me, and then where will I be?

On my way back to Kansas in an old balloon.

What do we do about it?

Some of us try to build up that flimsy curtain. We think if we write better, faster, switch genres, get the right agent, the right editor, the curtain will withstand prying eyes. We become desperate, frantic in our efforts to be good enough to withstand the pressure when we’re finally found out.

But what should we do?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Joshua was in a pickle. He had enjoyed some success as the military leader of Israel, but Moses was always there to stand between him and God. Moses was the one who knew what he was doing, who talked to God face to face, who always knew the next step to take.

But now Moses was gone. You can imagine Joshua’s panic. He was supposed to lead these people now?

He had been given the mantle of responsibility, and he had no choice. Read the first nine verses of Joshua again.

What has God called us to be? Most of us reading this blog have felt that hand on our shoulder, that irresistible whisper, that compelling urge to express in words the truths God has laid on our hearts to convey.

We have no choice. We must write.

Three times in these nine verses, the Lord tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” It isn’t an option, it’s a command.

“Have I not commanded you?”

It isn’t a choice.

We don’t have a choice, either. If God has commanded us to act, we must act.

Fear has no place here. It has no foothold.

And we won’t be alone.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed…”

Why?

“…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Fear, hit the road. I’m no poser, I’m the writer God has called me to be.

 

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38 thoughts on “Fear, Hit the Road!

  1. I started free writing classes after the death of my son. It was the best therapy I could have at that time. When I was told I was a writer, I really didn’t take it seriously. The classes led to joining writing groups, reading everything I could find about writing, as well as novels. I couldn’t stop writing. The fear is still there. God has called me to use writing to His Glory, as I have music for many years. I find writing prompts everywhere and am beginning to think of myself as a writer. Thank you for the blog. It describes my feelings and my journey toward becoming a writer.

    • I always get the feeling God has a bigger plan for me than what I would ever choose for myself – doesn’t it feel like He’s asked you to step into an abyss? I’m so glad He knows the path He wants us to take!

  2. Now that my first book is under contract, I’m struggling more than ever with “poser paralysis,” but your post provides a great deal of strength. I particularly appreciate the scripture, “… for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. No what our calling, the enemy of our souls uses fear to stop us from fulfilling God’s desire for us. Prayer is our secret weapon. Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. Thank you for such an inspiring post on the Lord’s Day. No Fear Today!

  4. Hi Jan:

    Thanks for the link to this site from Seekerville. And thanks for your inspiring post this Sunday morning. I’ve had to deal with fear in the military and while trying to learn how to fly a plane: first solo! OMG!

    Fear is what keeps our curiosity from killing us. Fear is one of God’s greatest gifts. Fear is what makes the cowboy shake his boots out in the morning before putting them on. Fear provides energy. Do you have butterflies in your stomach before giving a speech? Teach them to fly in formation. Use the power of fear. It’s like fire. Dangerous but useful. I think that the fear of fear is the greatest fear to be feared, (with apologies to FDR, but true).

    See fear for what it is: a gift from God.

    Of course, you can always act like Julius Caesar and say: “I’m telling you what should be feared, not what I fear—because after all, I am Caesar.” Shakespeare: Julius Caesar: Act 1, Scene 2,

    Vince

    • You’re right, Vince – fear is a gift, and necessary sometimes! But when we fear to follow God’s clear direction, then we can find ourselves frozen with paralysis.

      Think of Moses at the burning bush. God didn’t let him rest in his healthy fear – He pushed and pulled him out of it until he obediently acted. But I think his fear stayed with him for the rest of his life, which is what gave him his humility.

    • Good thoughts on managing fear, Vince. Our pursuit of God’s gifting and his plan for our lives often knocks us completely out of our comfort zones. Ill at ease in new situations, we attempt to overcome a pounding heart and a dry mouth. It’s a challenge to learn from that feeling of discomfort and to comprehend whether it means “RUN!” (fight or flight) or “You’re right where you should be. Now, go for it! Rely on the Lord and move forward” (like Joshua in this illustration).

  5. I have something I need to write, but don’t know where it’s going… ACK!
    When the thought hit me a couple weeks ago, my stomach flip-flopped.
    BUT NO FEAR NOW!!!
    Good reminder, ma’am! Thank you!

  6. Amen to this, Jan. There is little worse than disobedience. It bring our entire spirit down. If God put writing in your heart you are called to write. If you ignore that calling you are being disobedient. Trust him to give you the ideas to write, the time to write and the open doors. Your job is simply to be obedient. “Yes, Lord.”

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to read it and hear those words. I too have hit that same wall of fear, and I don’t think it’s there to help me, I think it’s there to stop me. So thank you for the boost in confidence, for a reminder that if I’m feeling prompted to write, it’s because God is nudging me, and He really is here with me to see it through. Thank you so much.

  8. Great post, full of encouragement that’s much needed. What do you think your doing? I’ve thought those words many times. I just have to remind myself I’m doing what I’ve been called to do. (and love to do)

    • Thanks Jamie. Now if we can just get our characters’ voices to shout as loudly as our own thoughts!

  9. Jan, the Commander has spoken, we have no choice – we will write in obedience because we love him. It is up to the Lord as to what He will do with our offering.

    • I think we all go through this fear – I’m not sure I want to get completely over it, though. I need the reminder to rely constantly on God.

  10. Jan, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post. This is a reminder I (and I’m sure others) need frequently. It’s one thing to try to press through fear, but it’s empowering to realize you’re not doing it alone.

  11. Wonderful reminder, Jan! So many inspiring examples in the Bible of moving ahead in spite of feeling fear when God calls us to do something out of our comfort zone–like writing for Him.

  12. Do it afraid, right! Thanks for this powerful reminder! “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

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