When Fear and Doubt Keep You From Your Dreams

who told you that

You’re a silly little idealist; you’re not smart enough to do something like that.

There it was again, the dream-killer—haunting my thoughts, pushing down my hopes.

You’re doing it wrong, you know. Why don’t you quit now before you embarrass yourself?

Since I was a young teen, I dreamed of crafting words of hope and encouragement that would change the world. But I’m not the only one. Many of us want to be authors, writers who make a difference.

The dreaming is easy. It’s the pursuit that’s hard—harder still when the voice of lies sacrifices our dreams. If you don’t try, you can’t fail.

God accomplishes his will on earth through truth;

Satan accomplishes his purposes through lies.

Warren W. Wiersbe

This fatal falling for lies was modeled for us long ago in a beautiful garden where Eve was tricked, deceived.

Eve—the first woman, first wife, first mother, and the first one of us to fall for an ugly lie. That day Satan met Eve in the garden, he brought a convincing argument—one intended to lead her, and any of us who would follow, away from God’s truth.

I mean, really—the woman was in a beautiful, perfect environment with the perfect man. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than a clean house and a great husband who loves you. Eve had both. Not to mention that there wasn’t another woman alive to compare herself with. Truly heaven on earth.

Yet Satan found a way to convince her she deserved more. That somehow she didn’t measure up and God was holding out on her. If we aren’t careful, we allow these triggered-by-others insecurities to rewrite our life stories, to shape our lives so negatively that we lose direction.

Our mind is the control center of our lives,
and Satan wants control.

Consider the impact that someone else’s opinion had not just on Eve, but also her husband. After the famed fruit-sharing, Adam was quick to lay blame and excuse away his actions, “I was afraid . . . I was naked and I hid.”

Who told you that?” God asked.

I just love the question. God well knew the source of their shackling guilt, but I believe he wanted them to consider that someone else, a shrewd and conniving Enemy, had influenced their beliefs. The winds of accountability fell fresh among the trees in the garden that night.

That same wind stirs now as God asks us the same thing, “Who told you that?”

Who told you that you are doing it wrong?

That you aren’t good enough?

That what you say doesn’t matter?

No matter the messenger, we must wrest ourselves from these grips of doubt and fear that keep us from our God-sized dreams.

Let’s reclaim those stalled dreams. When these negative thoughts start rolling around in our heads, let’s smash these warped lies, reframe them with truth by reminding ourselves what God thinks about us.

When I’m stuck, when I need to redirect my thoughts, I use a simple question: Is there another way to think about this? 

As an example, what if I’ve jumped to a conclusion {which I tend to do}, and fallen into the mental trap that people won’t listen to me, may even consider me dumb? Without facts to support this assumption, I interpret the situation negatively, anticipating the worst. But I can reframe this thought with 1 Cor. 1:30 that says, “God himself gives me wisdom.”

God. himself. gives. me. wisdom.

Funny; Satan was right. I’m not smart enough to do this. When I write, it’s often bigger than me, smarter than me. That’s the sort of thing God does when we follow our dreams, depend on Him.

How about you: What lie are you believing that’s interfering with your dreams, even now?

11 Replies to “When Fear and Doubt Keep You From Your Dreams”

  1. Great post, Jo Ann. May God’s faintest whisper drown out the Enemy’s loudest roar!

    Yeah, fear’s a biggie for me when it comes to dream-interferance. But when I focus on our changeless Jesus and remember how He’s helped me in the past, He puts my bitty obstacles in perspective and emboldens me to march forward with confidence.

    1. I love that Cheryl — oh, how God’s faintest whisper holds such power! May we always keep it in perspective.

      You are inspiring, my friend. 🙂

  2. Jo Ann, So true—that what we write so many times ends up bigger and smarter than ourselves! What a great insight. It’s something of a mystery, but one thing I know—when we seek God as we work, and we’re listening well with our lives, He somehow shows up in our words. My own limitations do not limit God! Thank you for these good, wise words!!

    1. “When we seek God as we work . . . He somehow shows up in our words.”

      Ah yes Leslie. Piercing truth for those days when we don’t seek him and we flail.

      Thank you for sharing!

  3. I’m reading “Unglued” and the topic of jealousy was covered. I related to the following as I contemplated your question, “What lie are you believing that’s interfering with your dreams, even now?”.

    “Unwanted. Ugly, Left out. Incapable. Inadequate. Overlooked…I let these comparisons and the anxiety they create negatively affect my relationships, my mood, AND MY CONFIDENCE TO PURSUE MY DREAMS (emphasis mine).”

    I mostly felt on some level I was exhibiting a fear I’ve always seen in my mom to hold back from living. My mom and I aren’t very close and I have never felt I could have that conversation with her about where the root of her fears comes from. I’ve heard her tell me some things she is afraid of (won’t get on a plane, a train, a boat, or go to a ballpark with a retractable roof even though she loves baseball because she is afraid the roof will collapse on her). She almost missed my baby shower and the opportunity to see her new grandson for the first time (this is 19 years ago) if she had to drive alone to get there.

    Right now I am doing the same thing. I am holding back on making a committment to attend a Christian women’s conference by myself since none of my gal pals are available to go and I REALLY want to go. This conference is in a place I love and have visited many times…just not by myself. (I have become my mother in this!) I think I have embraced some of these lies…unwanted, ugly, left out, incapable, inadequate, overlooked. And when I buy these lies, they do destroy my confidence, despite what I have accomplished and done for myself and my son since being divorced almost 8 years ago.

    I need to shift my focus…embrace gratitude and really question “Who told you that?”. I know these thoughts are not of God. “The bad stuff is easier to believe” (from the movie Pretty Woman). Intellectually I know Satan is behind this.

    I have recently discovered Write Where It Hurts. I am not an author (I am an oncology pharmacist). I so appreciate the transparency and vulnerability of the contributing authors. I know I will be learning a lot through this journey. I so appreciate the encouragement found here!

  4. Jo Ann, what wise words! Thank you for being real and vulnerable. I am going to share this post with the readers of The High Calling, where I work as an editor. I think it will resonate with most people, not just writers. 🙂

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