For the past two months, I’ve
been moving at speeds nearing overload. It’s been pretty crazy. From
full-time work to five kids (with massive science fair projects) to a
new house that needed major cosmetic renovations, there hasn’t been a
lot of time to write. It doesn’t make for a very productive word count!
In the middle of all of this, I
struggled with my writing. It’s been a struggle to daydream about my
WIP, a real struggle to take my smallest moment of mental solitude and
dance around the idea of what-if.
A friend helped pinpoint one of
my problems: fear. It is an incredibly debilitating foe. Here are five
things fear can do to you with your writing.
The first whispers of fear bring with them one thing for certain:
distraction. It’s the little niggling of uncertainty just before the
self-examination begins. This hint of fear begins the unhealthy spiral
of distraction away from our creativity and writing purpose, and, if
fed, will lead to #2.
If we remain distracted by fear long enough, the questions begin. Is
this story really good enough? How can I ever write as well as Julie
Lessman, Laura Frantz, Denise Hunter, Liz Curtis Higgs, or Robin Jones
Gunn? I’m stuck in chapter 2 and will never write my way out!
With comparisons come distrust. We don’t measure up, so we begin to
lose faith in our calling. The distrust builds to such proportions it
blinds us from the truth, which then leads us to #4.
We distance ourselves from the Source of our calling and sometimes from
the ones He’s placed in our lives to encourage us. It makes it easier
not to have to face people who are going to ask us about our writing,
so we don’t have to admit to our many failings (we’ve convinced
ourselves of in numbers 2 and 3). We might also distance ourselves from
our writing, making excuses to do anything else but open up that
document (been here more times than I care to admit). At the very end
of this long and painful battle, we fall into the pit of doubt.
Am I called to write? Will I ever learn? Of course the judges made
those kinds of comments! I’m such a failure.
Oh, how we listen too much to
the wrong voice! What’s happened when we make it to this point in our
“fear downward spiral”? We’ve lost sight of something vital.
Who. We. Are.
don’t mean: single, white,
female or middle-aged, married male or thirty-something soccer mom.
Nope. I mean even more intimate and foundational than any of those
things. We are God’s kids. He has called us His!
has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given us
the power of his risen Son, power strong enough to shake the dead, and
that kind of power is much greater than any doubt.
So what do we do to battle the
evil doubt monster? Remind ourselves to whom we belong.
1. If we get distracted, let’s
fill our minds with the truth of God. We were created for a purpose,
and within the folds of that purpose is the call to write.
2. If discouragement comes, we
build courage with the truth of Scripture. “If God is for us, who can
be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us
all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all
things?... In all these things we are more than conquerors through him
who loved us” (Rom. 8:31–32, 37 NIV). Are you getting the hint yet? Who
3. If you begin to distrust
yourself, trust in the One who has called you out of darkness into his
marvelous light! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on
your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will
make your paths straight” (Prov.
3:4–6 NIV). The One who never
fails and is steadfast will make the way clear. He has called. He will
4. If you feel the impulse to
distance yourself, remember His great love for you.
Safe within His hold you will find strength, encouragement, and faith
to fight your fears. “And since we have a great priest over the house
of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full
assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us
from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is
faithful” (Heb. 10:21–23 NIV). It’s all about His
faithfulness! We have no need to run away, instead we can find hope in
His love and in the love our fellow writers sprinkle on us because they
know Him too.
5. If we counteract all of those
fears with the Word of God, then (even if the doubt comes) we have all
the truth necessary to counteract its influence. The powerful message I
received in church yesterday was the story of Thomas, who declared that
he needed to touch Jesus’s wounds to believe He had risen. Jesus said
to him, “Stop doubting and believe.” Doubts may come, but through
Christ we have the power to vanquish them with the truth
of his love.
Fear cannot win against Jesus.
He conquered it all. So the next time fear starts to nibble at your
mind and scratch at your heart, remind yourself whose
And the battle is over, before