Sweaty palms, heart thumping, tense shoulders, a pit in my stomach, cold feet and gassiness. I feel all of these things as I sit down to write this blog post, and they almost kept me from doing it.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of something, at every stage of life. As a kid it was speaking in front of people, and every Easter poem recital at church turned into me crying, gulping tears and gasping for air, then running to sit down, not one word of the poem being uttered. From being scared that I’d die swallowing a pill to thinking I’d break my leg, face or neck trying to roller skate with the cool kids, fear often kept me from or moved me to do or not to do things.
The older I get it seems to be more difficult to take risks, put myself out there, share my opinions and speak my mind.
It is my dream to write for a living – from poems to screenplays for film and television, this blog and books. As a freelance journalist and TV producer, I write stories and scripts pretty well, yet sharing my life, thoughts, experiences and wisdom with the world scares me to death. What if people don’t connect with what I have to say? What if I am myself and they hate me? What if I’m lame or what I have to say is lame? What if what I write is offensive to some and the parts of me that need more work are exposed and criticized?
There are so many what-ifs that for several weeks I was paralyzed, wanting to write a motivational post but being afraid to do so, choosing to let distractions stop me – being a wife, auntie, friend, laundry, cleaning, working, being.
WHAT DOES FEAR LOOK LIKE?
What am I actually afraid of? After taking time to think about it, I learned that my fear is rooted in four things – failure, embarrassment, attack and rejection, for the following reasons.
Failure: writing and publishing posts that no one reads or responds to; that don’t resonate with others.
Embarrassment: making a fool of myself with bad, boring, erroneous, emotionless writing.
Attack: harsh criticism, backlash, misunderstanding, nasty comments.
Rejection: that my heart, my soul, my words will be dismissed, ignored or judged insignificant.
FIGHT FEAR WITH FAITH
After I determined why I was fearful, I felt that it was time to do something about it, so I asked God how to push through the fear, how to use it to push forward. I felt loss, overwhelmed, discouraged, and incompetent, like a failure – I was a writer who couldn’t write. I also felt like a fraud and I wanted to give up. I never thought that I would get to the point of writing this post, but a still, small voice – God; sweetly, clearly answered my prayer.
In the quiet of my mind and the depths of my heart I heard, “Start by writing about your fear”. Hmm. It was that simple, huh? Write about what’s keeping me from writing. Okay, I can do that.
In writing about my fears, I’d be calling fear out, putting it in its place and dissolving its power over me. I decided to stop running from it and trying to ignore it, but face it head on.
Instead of letting fear consume me, I decided to throw faith in fear’s face with positive affirmations. Whenever I became concerned with one of my fears, I responded with the following phrases.
Failure: “I can, and WILL do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Everything is possible when I put my mind, heart, soul and actions towards it. – Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Embarrassment: “I am a work in progress, molded by the very hands of God. I won’t ever be perfect, but I’ll always do better”. I accept that I’m not perfect nor is anyone else, and we all make mistakes. I made the decision to let perfection go and just be me. – Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
Attack: “If God be for me then who can be against me?” I recognized that my goal is to do what God has led me to do and focus on making Him happy. I accept that I will be critiqued and some people won’t like me because they don’t like themselves. It says more about them then it does about me. – Romans 8:31 (NIV)
Rejection: “God loves me just the way I am, and my being, my existence validates my worth. I am loved beyond measure and the only acceptance I need is from THE Creator.” I am beloved, so I should love me regardless of how others treat or mistreat me. – Genesis 1:27 (NIV), Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV) and Romans 5:8 (NIV)
FAITH ALWAYS DEFEATS FEAR
Sometimes the presence of fear shows you how much you care about what it is you want to do. I say “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. If your wants, dreams and goals scare you then they are big, bold dreams, and it’s how you know that you’re challenging yourself.
The next time you’re overwhelmed with fear – call it out, name it, and speak to it with the affirmations above or create your own. You must fight fear by speaking its opposite – faith! Take one step at a time towards what you want and in due time it will become your reality!
What have you been afraid of lately? What is keeping you from taking a step of faith, from doing what is on your heart do to?
Be loved. Love you. Be love.
*Photo Credit: CreateHER Stock