I had this quote plastered on a wall of my classroom for years. And every day I would look at it, recite it, and then forget it. I hoped my students would get the message and take it to heart, but it sure wouldn’t be by my example.
Then a few years ago, I was asked to come back and speak at the high school baccalaureate at this same school. I spoke of dreams, of courage, and of fearlessness. And I walked off that stage and was overwhelmingly convicted that I was a total hypocrite.
All my life I had wanted to be a writer. Yet I had done nothing about it. Why?
Fear. (Okay, and a small amount of laziness.) I feared rejection. I feared ridicule (You want to be a what??). I feared not being good enough. I feared the dream being way bigger than I was.
And then I gave it all up to God and decided to just go for it. Through an amazing chain of events, God led me to a writer’s conference in September 2005. Armed with nothing more than twenty pages of a story, the prayer of Jabez in my heart, and one huge, totally- unlike-me-conviction that God was gonna move some mountains, I made a contact within twenty-four hours that would lead to my book contract.
Last week that book hit the shelves. In Between, a young adult novel, is the story of foster child Katie Parker, but it’s also the story of a turning point in my willingness to let fear control me. Because if fear is controlling you, God sure doesn’t have much to work with. 2 Timothy says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” Fear is not of God. I can look back and see a whole list of things I’ve missed in this life because I was afraid or lacked confidence. Granted, I’m still not touching a roller coaster, but I’m working on the rest of it—day by day.
It’s probably not a surprise at this point that I am terrified of heights. On spring break, I MADE myself go parasailing. And though I didn’t open my eyes for the first two minutes (longest twelve minutes of my LIFE), eventually I did. And I saw God’s expansive ocean beneath me. A LONNNG way beneath me. ; ) But I also saw dolphins swimming and jumping below, and clouds rolling by, and a view of the horizon that I couldn’t have witnessed from the safety of land.
I challenge you to tackle some fears. What’s holding you back? Pray and ask God to reveal your strongholds. Fear is crippling, power stealing, life robbing, and frankly, it just stinks. Fearlessness is so much more fun.
Speaking of fun, check out the picture below. Hmmmm…which one could I be? HA! I may have been a total baby on the way up, but oh, the victory was mine when the task was done! One fear conquered….a few thousand more to go…