In the ancient days, back when concrete swimming pools were newly invented and high diving boards provided the latest adrenaline rush to thrill seekers . . .
Okay, maybe not that long ago, but pretty close. I was nine. Swimming pools had been around for a while.
So, picture it: Scrawny, freckled redhead, mostly elbows, knees, and impulsiveness, climbs the steps of the highest diving board at the pool–an Olympic sized pool, with an Olympic regulation diving board. My mind is made up. All my friends have jumped off this board, and they’re down below, squinting into the sun at me as I force my feet up another step. Others who want to take the dive are climbing behind me, so I don’t dare stop. One more step. One more step.
Don’t look down.
I feel triumphant as I hit the top. I survey the terrain around me. It’s beautiful! And for a moment, I’m the world’s princess.
Until someone complains behind me: “Hey! You gonna jump, or what?!”
The board is wider than it appears from the poolside, so walking it isn’t nearly as frightening as I’d thought it would be. But going to the edge . . . looking over the edge . . . at that tee-tiny pool below, that I’m supposed to jump into . . . gulp!
I couldn’t do it.
The groans, growls, and outright cussin’ that went on while everyone climbed back down the steps so Chicken Little can go run to her mommy are still vaguely lodged in my memory.
Fear can stop you from experiencing a wide variety of thrills. It can paralyze you from being daring. It can glue your feet to the ground and leave you at a standstill. It can force you to back up, to retreat.
And it can stop you from writing what God wants you to write.
Writers face a wide variety of fears: What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not good enough? What if my story isn’t good enough? What if God didn’t really call me for this? What if everyone hates it?
Lesson #1: Recognize where those doubts and fears come from. Whether God called you to write, or you dedicate everything you write to Him, He’s going to bless it, so the idea the doubts and fears come from Him can quickly be ruled out. Whenever we’re doing something for His glory, He’s interested and engaged. It’s not likely to be Him asking us to climb back down the steps.
Lesson #2: Whether God called you to write, or you dedicate everything you write to Him, He’s going to bless it. Whenever we’re doing something for His glory, He’s interested and engaged. It is He who is first in line to be our help if we only accept the offer.
So, what are you afraid of? Give your fear to Him and dive in.
Ah, Linda. This was very timely for me. I have been wrestling with these doubts for a few weeks now, ready to give up and use my time for something else. Between an answered prayer yesterday and your post, I am back at the computer with more confidence and inspiration. Probably a good thing too, when I’ve tried to quit before, God sent lions in the metaphorical and shockingly real, physical sense and they were probably going to show up today or tomorrow. Yet, this time, I think God sent a pre-reminder through your post. And if I take heed, I won’t see lions running in front of my car on the way to work in the morning, like I have in the past. (It all has to do with the Book of Daniel and surprise comment from a pastor.) So, thank you for a less dramatic reminder of why I write, and yes, He will bless all endeavors in alignment with His will. Have a wonderful Sunday!
Wonderful that God gave you the message you needed to hear! So glad you’re ready to go back to work!
“And it can stop you from writing what God wants you to write.” I think that is SO true. The writing life is a vulnerable place, and fears can easily become crippling. Even when we think we have them under control, they can still end up being, if nothing else, misguiding.
You’re right. We can think we have them under control, but they’re always lurking, aren’t they?
I’ve said this elsewhere and I think, Linda, I mentioned it to you in another comment. I’ve been discouraged lately as well. Methinks there is an epidemic of writer depression or fear or discouragement, whatever you want to label it. The enemy is working overtime to keep us from writing what God desires us to write. Praying for all who have contracted this dis-ease. May the Lord encourage you, Linda, and you, Ceci and Katie, and all the others.
And you, sweet Lynn. I agree–the enemy is working overtime. Good news is, his time is short! /
Yup. Me, too.
All these years of writing, getting published and now entering the indie publishing world, the fear of tooting my own horn has gotten in my way. But wow–God is at work clobbering fear and replacing it with enthusiasm. Turns out, it’s not my horn I need to be tooting, but His. That I can do!
Work as for the Lord. Great post, Linda!
Yes! I love that, Carol!