How I’m Fighting 3 Fears, Right Now

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I’ve always thought of myself as pretty brave. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know but I looked to the externals and deemed it so:

  • moving around the world, multiple times, as a growing family
  • keeping having babies even though it HURTS (!!!) every time, and makes life harder
  • quitting my dream job and moving to TX without Doug having a job (in hopes that I could stay home with our first baby)
  • backpacking 93-miles around Mt. Rainier with 7 children, while pregnant

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But lately… fear has been creeping in, in a variety of areas. Here are 3:

  1. We’ve had a challenging few months in parenting. It’s hard to know where the line is, in regard to talking details with older kids. But in general… what I’m finding is this: the older they get, the higher the stakes get and the more even the ‘bravest’ mom starts wondering, “oh man, are we doing anything right? Where does this all lead?” Even when things are going relatively “well,” it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed with fear when I consider the way the stakes are raising as these children become young adults.
  2. Things in my life that have needed to be faced (yes I know that’s vague)… but I’ve been scared of the emotional conversations that may result if I share my feelings honestly.
  3. 3 years ago, I wrote a novel about Jacob & his 4 wives, and edited it. Then I sent it to a few friends, never heard back from any of them, got nervous, and decided it must be awful, or else they would have surely given me feedback. So it has sat on my hard drive making me feel like a terrible fiction writer for 2+ years.

 

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Here are some ways I’m trying to face those fears:

  1. Parenting older kids has driven me to have confidence in the only place I know: God’s strong faithfulness in the middle of needy human weakness. HE is where my hope is. He knows these kids. He knows Doug & I. He put us all together on purpose. He has a plan. He is all-wise and all-good. He is faithful to finish every work that He starts. I can trust Him with the people I love. In fact, that’s the only safe place for them– entrusted to His good care.
  2. I’m responsible for speaking the truth in love, and for dealing with what happens in my own heart and behavior. I can’t control what other people will feel, say, or do.
  3. In a fit of (New-Years-Everyone-Says-HUSTLE-Pursue-Your-Goals) fancy, I asked my e-mail subscribers to “only read this e-mail if you like Christian fiction” and inside– “would you be willing to offer me super-duper honest feedback?” 140 of them said yes, and 30 have already given their anonymous feedback (reminding them to be super-duper honest even if it is HARSH). The results, so far, are… GREAT.

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(And their super-specific detailed editing feedback is even better!)

I can’t believe I was so afraid.

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But it IS scary, isn’t it? Surely I can’t be the only one.

It’s scary to…

  • as a mom, feel the weight of all my human brokenness showing up as I imperfectly parenting these kids I love so much.
  • as a human, feel the weight of human brokenness in my relationships.
  • as a creator-of-things (ideas/paintings/books), to be vulnerable and exposed to the possibility of having my work called “rotten.”

But even though it’s scary, it’s worth it.

It’s worth it to keep going. I’m choosing to believe that it’s worth it to trust God with the results.

  • It’s worth it to keep pressing in to that child who you love like crazy, but who can drive you bonkers, whose buttons you push and who pushes your buttons, but you love love love em like crazy.
  • WHAT I NEED TO TELL MY HEART: I can’t produce a perfect family. I can’t manufacture perfect parenting results. But I can keep confessing my own sin. I can keep hugging. I can keep choosing to smile when I want to self-protect and turn away. I can keep turning to Scripture… on my own, and with them alongside me. I can keep loving. It’s worth it. And I can trust God with all the results. He is faithful. He will do everything that needs doing, in every heart. I can actively choose to trust Him.

 

  • It’s worth it to speak the truth in love, and trust God with how it turns out.
  • WHAT I NEED TO TELL MY HEART: I can’t manufacture perfect human relationships. In fact, the closer we get to any humans, the more potential there is for it all to go haywire. So it’s absurd for me to try to control results. But I can keep speaking truth. I can keep checking my motives and trying to deliver that truth in love. I can keep offering, and receiving forgiveness. I can choose not to turn away. I can keep trying. It’s worth it. I can obey God and leave the results to Him.

 

  • It’s worth it to do the work, and put yourself out there… even with the potential of rejection.
  • WHAT I NEED TO TELL MY HEART: I can’t manufacture a 7-billion-person world where every human will value, want to read, and ADORE my novel, no matter how hard I work at it. But I can keep writing. I can read about it and keep working on these skills. I can keep editing to make it better. I can choose to set a date and release it. I can believe that God put these gifts in me, and it’s not for no reason. Even if someone else says it’s rotten, it’s worth it.

 

Do you need to hear that same truth?

“You can’t make it perfect, but you can choose to keep going and not turn away. You can do your part, and trust God with the results.”

 

IN THE COMMENTS: What fears are you facing? And what are you going to do about them? What do you need to say to your own heart?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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10 Responses

  1. Katrina says:

    Your posts always hit home with me! I have a hard time not worrying every day that I am not good at being a mom/messing my kids up. Have to remind myself God doesn’t call to me to be a perfect mom, but to seek Him and His wisdom. And only He can save my kids, I just lead them to Him.
    Also, I would love to read your novel, and I thought I am an email subscriber. Somehow I didn’t get that email? Hmm.
    Good for you for fighting fear and encouraging us to do likewise! I appreciate how candid you are. You are a blessing, love reading your blog posts.
    P.S. Have a literary agent interested in a manuscript myself, and am trying to get a blog up and running and get more involved in social media per his instructions. After delving into WordPress and all that comes along with a blog, I appreciate much more how much work you put into this blog!! :)

    • Jessica says:

      I so agree Katrina about what you shared. Often have to give that fear to God. Yes, I also agree Jess that everyday I have to face fears and really lean on the Lord. I am learning the Lord is my Portion but so often I can get tired of how many times people in my life esp. my spouse can fail to meet real needs. It hurts but then I remember that Jesus provides what we need even when others are empty. I guess a fear along with that is I will always be lonely as a mom and wife. But reality is this season will change and the Lord is there for me even when it feels like humans aren’t.

  2. shannon bradbury says:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I needed to hear these truths.

  3. Janelle says:

    Like the other commenters, your post hit home, as they so often do. Thank you!

    I also tried to sign up to read and review you book, but it didn’t work…maybe because I love overseas? I would have loved to read it, but the Lord must have known it wasn’t the right time. (:

    Thank you again, Jess, for fighting your fear and sharing with your readers!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jess. As I was reading, I was going to suggest to send your book to only fiction readers (which I am not) so it was great to see that’s what you did!
    My worst fears were realized when my young adult daughter made several choices which broke my heart and that went against every way we raised her. I’m here to testify that God has been faithful every step of the way. Our relationship is restored. She’s still is not surrendered to the Lord completely, but I trust that He has her in the palm of His hand.
    And finally a fear I have faced recently is to return part time to work as a nurse as the Lord has led me while continuing to home educate my last three.
    He is faithful and I love and trust Him more than ever.

  5. Sara says:

    Hi Jess

    For your first fear I thought about my father who was a very complicated teenager. One day his mother was talking to me about it and said that she had taken time to accept that he needed a man’s world and that he felt stifled by the hum of domesticity. I think this is also something to be considered, that sometimes mums have to take a back seat to dads when their sons get to an age when they relate better to male authority and male experiences. Wishing you peace and luck and many many hugs from your brood!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Good confirmation! We just started doing this very thing, 2 weeks ago. Our oldest does his school work in an adjacent room to my husband’s office in the mornings and early afternoons, and then serves as a “ministry assistant” for my husband, doing various tasks and jobs. It’s been a very good arrangement for us and is changing many dynamics about the way our homeschool is going, but mostly… changing the way relationships are going, in very GOOD ways.

      I’m thankful for this nudge to keep going in the direction we’ve started out on. Thanks!

      • Sara says:

        Your eldest must feel so proud to help his father! Thanks foe being so gracious, after posting I was thinking that as a single childless person it was ridiculous tof even presume to give you advice of any kind. So thanks for not laughing at me!

  6. Diana says:

    I totally identify with your fears – especially #1, the fear of failure as children grow older. Our eldest is only 10yo, but all those fears are there. Thank you for speaking honestly about it!

  1. January 31, 2017

    […] How I’m Fighting 3 Fears, Right Now […]

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