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
But lately… fear has been creeping in, in a variety of areas. Here are 3:
- 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.
- 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 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.
Here are some ways I’m trying to face those fears:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(And their super-specific detailed editing feedback is even better!)
I can’t believe I was so afraid.
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?