Don’t try too hard to read this! I wrote sloppy on purpose! It’s a little embarrassing! LOL
Today is the day I had set aside in my mind to launch my blog. However, I woke up to FEAR and ANXIETY.
I’m sure many people would think that I’m being overly dramatic or silly. It’s just a blog. Who cares? Right? Well, for a writer, any time we share our work, it is like sharing a piece of our soul with the world. People who don’t feel this way can write a paragraph in 5 minutes; share it; and not give a rip if people like it or not. This isn’t the case with me (or most writers that I know of). When we share what we write, it is very personal…and the internet is a vicious place.
And I’m not just sharing my writing, I’m going to be sharing my struggles. Struggles that I have already been judged for. So, yeah, for me, it’s actually scary to launch my blog.
Sure, I’ve done harder things (like raising kids, teaching, being married,…) but I LOVE writing. It has been my passion since I was a little girl. When I was in fourth grade, I turned an old chest of drawers into a secret writing desk by flipping a drawer upside down. Then I could sit in my closet and write for hours without anyone bothering me or judging what I wrote.
As a 46-year-old, I'm slightly less fearful of sharing my writing. Because at 46, I know people will judge me and I know how painful it can be. But I'm also learning to be OK with that. Lot's of things may hold me back, but I refuse to let fear be one of them.
Here are a few things that I have learned in my 46 years about how to deal with fears, (and what I actually did to deal with my fears today!)
- Fear is natural: just because I feel nervous, fearful or anxious, that doesn’t mean I am not supposed to do something. I’ve heard many times that courage isn’t a lack of fear, (that’s called ignorance). On the contrary, courage comes from recognizing the danger and doing the right thing anyway.
- Fear can be helpful: Obviously, fear keeps us from doing stupid and dangerous things. Without fear, we simply wouldn’t survive. But fear can be helpful in less life-threatening ways too:
I have a huge fear of public speaking. My fear was so bad at one time that I would have anxiety over teachers calling the roll. I failed my required public speaking class in college and almost dropped out of college rather than repeat it. Because of the sacrifice my parents were making to pay for me to be in college, I worked really hard to learn to deal with this fear. Thanks to a lot of prayer and some book that I’ve forgotten, I got an A when I repeated the class!
My fear of public speaking is still there though not as intensely. And, I oddly love public speaking now. I truly believe that my fear of public speaking helps me be a better speaker because, my fear pushes me to work harder when I am asked to speak. I can only be comfortable giving a speech if I feel super prepared. I think this is important. If I have the privilege of speaking to an audience, I’m glad that my fear makes sure that I share something worth saying.
- Fear can alert you to things that you need to confront: My fears over sharing my blog actually point to some insecurities I still have about my writing and my story. I really did have to pray and confront bitterness in my life. I have been clinging to a lot of hurt from harsh ways I was judged. My fear of what people thought was keeping me from doing what I love.
- Fear shouldn’t control you: It is important to analyze your fear. Where is it coming from? What do you need to confront or change? Is there real danger or is it just your perception? Is the risk worth the reward? When Jesus told his disciples to "Fear not" in the middle of a storm, the threat of death was very real, but Jesus did not want his followers to be controlled by that fear. When we understand the peace that he gives even in the middle of real threats, we are no longer controlled by fear.
- Get help when you need it! We all face fears in everyday life and they can be hard enough. If you are dealing with trauma or excessive anxiety, get help! Sometimes naming a fear is the first step in freeing yourself from it. We all need help and strategies to not be controlled by fear.
- Focus on the positive. Our minds naturally focus on fear because we have to develop strategies to overcome danger. If we had to remind ourselves to focus on danger, we wouldn't live very long. However, we have to learn to also focus on the great and wonderful things in life.
Often, fear and anxiety can freeze us in our tracks when we start to obsess on them. When that happens to me, I like to remind myself of the Bible verse: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (Which I paraphrase as "focus on the good stuff")
If you are focusing on things that are true, right, lovely, noble, and admirable, then you aren’t focusing on your fear!
7. Make a plan. You know fear is going to happen. Make a plan to confront it.
The picture beside this post, shows a t-chart I made of some of my biggest doubts and fears about starting this blog and the truth that I wanted to focus on instead.
8. Pray. To be honest, none of this wisdom comes from me being so self-aware and "with it". I pray a lot and I really try to listen to what God says to me. I know that he loves me and wants to help with all of my fears. I just have to learn to listen.
To practice this, I made the t-chart in the picture to the left. I wrote down my fears as they came to mind and I prayed for God to give me wisdom in how to confront that fear. I tried to quiet myself and listen. The items on the right are what I feel like he was telling me through the truths that came to mind. Most of these truths include actions.
For example, I'm extremely embarrassed that I have started blogs before and then my enthusiasm fizzled or I sank into ranting about politics (and not in a helpful uplifting way)! My action step is to remind myself of my purpose and how it helps people.
These are just a few ways that I'm continuing to grow in being free from fear.
I hope you are encouraged and a little freer from fear!
Thanks for reading!!! Please share!!!!!