Updated: Nov 20, 2021
"Do it afraid!" I remember her saying. It resonated with me so deeply that I have tried to live my life that way. Or, at least, to remind myself of this phrase whenever anxiety comes to overwhelm. I won't be booking any Sky-diving or Swimming With Sharks adventures anytime soon, though, because my biggest fear factor isn't found in the activities in which I participate, but rather in the mindsets I hold to as I push towards a dream that feels far out of reach. I wonder if you've heard the same intimidating murmurings as I have.
"Our weaknesses are countered by His strength. He increases, we decrease."
"YOU WAITED TOO LONG"
The confines of time can be both an advantage and disadvantage of our pilgrimage on earth. Needing it, having enough of it, chasing it, biding it, using it wisely or wasting it; time is part of our human condition. What comfort at the thought of a timeless God. His will can happen anywhere on my earthly, linear timeline. Not being bound by time means He is never late, never early and He is not even on-time. To US, He is those things IN our situation. To Him in timelessness, He just IS and He just DOES. This great God is aware of, and the Creator of, this human life encased in seasons. It was a long period of learning as we raised our seven children, a season not wasted. Different seasons bring different dreams to work at and fulfill. Writing waited patiently as different stages of my life unfolded. Do you have other "important" and "urgent" tasks to pursue that make writing take a back seat? God knows and has the right time for you to move forward. Surely, none of this timing is a surprise to Him and we can be sure that He has it worked out for our good, whenever the time is right.
"YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH"
Writing has always been a love of mine. I think it's the way I made sense of the world around me. Pages have carried my words of anger, without blatantly hurting someone else's heart. They've carried my tears when someone hurt mine. The ink was a salve that dripped courage when things were confusing or intimidating and I felt like folding into myself for protection. My words served as a reminder to me about how gracious God has been in my life. Me, it served me. I never thought I could "serve" someone else with my writing. Yet, the more I wrote, the more I let words of hope flow outward, others were touched and blessed. So, right! I'm not good enough. Not in my own strength, knowledge, or ability. But, I believe in the God who equips me with everything I need to excellently serve others in this way. We must choose His value of us instead of our own.
"YOUR DREAM IS TOO BIG"
It certainly seems that way, especially when I hit wall after wall. But, if I can think it and since His thoughts are higher than mine, don't I owe it to God to dream bigger, knowing He leads and never disappoints? Shall I even dare to ask largely? Will you? God is awesome at BIG and amazing things. The universe, the mountains, a human life forming in a womb. All, His handiwork. This big dream, MY big dream, YOUR big dream, is safe in His hands.
"YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO DO THIS"
Writing as a discipline can be overwhelming. The more I learn, I discover the more there is to learn. So yes! Absolutely! I cannot do this alone. I need to be part of a team that collectively encourages each other forward. I am grateful to have communities of passionate writers in which to thrive. Our weaknesses are countered by His strength. He increases, we decrease. This is what brings the clarity, the strategy and the victory! He never gives us a dream He isn't going to help us fulfill and He will always connect a team to help fulfill it.
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU LIVE ON A ROCK IN A VAST OCEAN, NO ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY."
For a long time, I didn't take myself seriously as a writer. Where did that self-concept come from? Maybe being the youngest had me feeling a bit insignificant in light of any achievements my brothers made. But I am not them. I am me. Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, writer. I give God praise by being the best me I know to be as He lives in me. The rest, I leave at His feet. When God gives us a message to speak or write, wouldn't withholding it be disobedient? Regardless of who you are or where you're from, call yourself a writer and write! Time to get on with it!
"YOU DON'T DESERVE THIS"
Let's face it, I don't deserve any of my beautiful, messy life. I deserve hell. God is loving and gracious and generous and doesn't give gifts to be wasted, or negotiated, or minimized. He gives gifts to be used in all its fullness to the glory of His name, however that manifests in our lives.
"A fully surrendered gifting is one of the most wonderful expressions of gratitude to the One who gave it."
Quite some time ago, I was reading the book The Dream Giver with our ladies' mentoring group. I struggled with it. I identified with the character Ordinary. And in Hind's Feet On High Places, the character Much Afraid, wrought with obstacles from without and within all of which made her fearful. It was a constant reminder of everything I held close that kept me from my God-given dream. That spoke too close to home and I was frustrated at every meeting, trying desperately to justify my resistance. Until, a thought. I know it was the loving rebuke of the Lord.
"WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL THAT SOMETHING MAGNIFICENT COULDN'T HAPPEN TO YOU?"
I remember thinking, "Magnificent? Me?" My faith level was like that of aged Sarah as she overheard the prophecy of her pregnancy. I had to believe that all things were possible if I trusted. I had to believe that God dreamed a bigger dream for me than I had for myself. It took some shift of perspective to align my thoughts with God's thoughts. It took years.
Now I think, why NOT me?
Somebody's going to be successful, why not me?
Somebody's writings are going to alter a negative climate, speak hope into a difficult circumstance, and give just the right amount of encouragement needed to push past the pain into the light of day.
Why not mine? Why not yours?
So, if you've stalled in moving towards your own magnificence or embraced mindsets that have thwarted your growth, take courage! Speak to the negative, limiting mentality with the confidence of God's word. Yes, we may be afraid of complexities, or of learning new things that are not in our wheelhouse. We may have a thousand reasons why we could fail. But, we do it anyway. Scared or courageous, we move forward.
Ignorant of things? We learn.
Unaware? We study.
Lacking in skill? We find someone who isn't and become their mentee.
Does this mean we will always do so with confidence and feel like we've got it all together? Absolutely not. Nine times out of ten we will be "doing it scared". Emphasis on the word "doing"!
You got this, and God's got you!