When Doing What You Love Terrifies You

I have blocked off my calendar all day today to do what I love.

Write.

But I have to admit it terrifies me!

I know from the core of my being that I am called to write and yet my mind plays tricks and tells me twisted lies that I can’t do it or it won’t be good enough, who wants to read what I write as the little minions continue their rant.

When it comes time for me to sit down and actually write, a few things sabotage me. I can so easily get distracted! I am like, oh look, a squirrel! And off I go.

Today for instance, it took me two hours to get to my desk.

YES! TWO HOURS!

Not because I wasn’t at home or I have an office somewhere else but rather from the lower level of my house to my upstairs writing space there were a myriad of distractions.

So what did I do? I cleaned, not a bad thing! After all, I don’t want to live in a pigsty.

I finished putting away the last of the Christmas decor. Yes, it all needs to be organized.

I made granola, yes of course because we were out, and I did a load of laundry so my dear husband wouldn’t have to wear his underwear inside out tomorrow.

These are all good things but they are distractions when I need to work on my book. I actually have a deadline, not self-imposed, but a legitimate-I-signed a-contract-with-a-publisher deadline.

Here is the irony. I love to create words on a page to encourage and yes even challenge, yet it is sometimes difficult to posture myself in a space to write. Anyone who believes that it’s easy is grossly mistaken. Most writers I’ve talked to don’t just sit down randomly to create a project that gets put into a book.

It can be agonizing and feels like I am hiking up a mountain in 120-degree weather with a 100 lb. pack on my back. There are moments where the climb is easier but it is still a push to move forward with sweat and yes, even tears!

The exhilarating part of the climb is reaching the top of the summit. When I get there and the project is moving along and then finished, it is like standing on the highest mountain peak looking out at the magnificent panoramic view with gratefulness of being able to climb and reach the top.

It truly is a gift, a miracle each time I hold a finished project in my hand and I thank God for the honor of bestowing the gift even when it’s hard.

Whether you are a writer, speaker, leader, teacher, coach, whatever you’ve been gifted and called to do, if we are honest, living out expressing our gifts can be terrifying.

Here are a few things to encourage you and what I am learning on the mountainous journey.

The gift isn’t about ME.

The gifts I have, and in this case, I am writing about writing.

It isn’t about me! It’s about God. He is the giver of the gifts.

I don’t write to bless me, I write to bless others!

My hope is that in someway the stories and thoughts will transform the reader and move them forward in a way that is life changing. My dream is that it will draw people closer to the heart of Jesus and living lives that are intentional and purposeful. These are the reasons I write.

I don’t have to do it alone.

I can ask for help.

God expects us to walk and live in community. That means we don’t have to do things all by ourselves.

Being a strong independent person, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not asking for help. I don’t mean asking that someone actually sit beside me as I write, it means finding a tribe of people who can support, pray and encourage you and I on our path of exercising our gifts.

I have an amazing group of women who do this for me, they pray, give me encouragement and inspire me as I learn from those who are just a bit further down the road than I am. It’s way more fun to have companions on the journey. And when you get to the top, you have people to celebrate with you. That is the best part of all!

Who wants to party all alone?

Remember that God wants us to succeed.

After all He gave us the gift in the first place! You and I are responsible to unwrap the gift, take it out of the box and actually use it!

God didn’t give us gifts for them to sit on a shelf or to hide them in a closet. He gave you and I gifts for a purpose and He is our biggest cheerleader!

It’s a NEW Year with new doors that are waiting for us to walk through with fresh opportunities. Take that gift off the shelf that you have been hiding because maybe like me you’ve been a little afraid to actually start using it.

Let’s stop whining,

put on our packs,

start climbing,

and ASK God to do what He does best, helping us put one foot in front of the other even if we are terrified.

He promises to help us every step of the way as we seek to honor Him with the gifts and the call He has entrusted to us.

Hey, I will see you at the top of the summit to celebrate!

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

 

 

 

When You Are Afraid Of Christmas

“I just wish I could blink into January,” a friend who is a single Mom wrote me a personal FB message last year because the season was feeling overwhelming and reminding her of everything she could and couldn’t do because of her limited resources.

The most wonderful time of the year can ramp up emotions such as these as we slip into the week before Christmas and sigh…

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS.

The days of December can cause us to fall into the vortex of losing our Christmas joy rapidly if we aren’t careful. We know in our heads that this should be a celebration of that tiny precious baby coming humbly to a manger to bring hope, peace and love, and yet somehow Jesus and the joy of the celebration gets lost.

We are by nature emotional human beings, and those emotions are more heightened around Christmas, or so it seems. Which brings me to talking about a  movie that I saw last year.

Did you see the movie Disney film, Inside Out? It’s a story of emotional characters taking place inside an 11-year old girl who has to move across the country and all that she experiences. In the story you meet her emotions of fear, anger, sadness, disgust and joy. The story stirred up all kinds of emotions for me and it made me cry, laugh and be sad as I watched.

As we approach December 25th, I’d like to share how each of the emotions that they identified in the movie can impact our feelings about Christmas and how we can recapture the emotion of joy. But first, I want you to know that I did a high-level survey across hundreds of people. Okay, I did a simple FB survey asking women to describe what makes them afraid about Christmas, mad, sad and disgusted.

For starters let’s meet the character FEAR from the film, can you relate?

This is what surfaced about being afraid at Christmas from my FB survey…

People won’t like what I made

People won’t like what I give

I’m afraid of not being enough

Not making people happy

Not having enough

Not going to have time to have a break

Do you know that fear creates exhaustation? According to the experts, fear is learned and shaped by our experiences. Fear can then become control. Did you know that controlling people are driven by fear and in order to stay safe they are driven to control because they are afraid of something? They might lose it!!! Ring any bells in the house? ME…GUILTY!

I am a recovering CONTROL-FREAK around Christmas time. Why? Because of many things I just listed. I felt I needed to control Christmas because of how I thought things should look, taste, feel and experience for my family and my friends. And then the fear caused me to really lose my joy and anger would seep in, but we will talk about that later.

As I write this, according to the xmasclock.com Christmas is 7 days, 15 hours, 50 minutes and 55 seconds away. And with that comes the ramping up of these kind of emotions at least from what I have observed for one specific group…women.

Can I get a witness?

The frantic and frenzy,

the pressure,

the anxiety,

the relatives,

the cooking,

baking,

shopping and more.

So between now and Christmas day, I want to talk about these emotions that can creep up and rob our joy. Instead of dreading it and getting emotional hives because of the pace, I am hoping that by the time Christmas Day comes we can experience and recapture the joy that God intends for us to have. I know we only have a week, but are you up for the challenge?

Back to our first emotion, fear. How do we then overcome the fear of not being enough or the people-pleasing trap we can fall into?

We can take our cue from the shepherds receiving the message in Bethlehem the night they were told about Jesus birth.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:10

God addressed their fear first before He gave them the good news. He told them they didn’t need to be afraid because Jesus had arrived.

He wants to address yours and mine.

We have to acknowledge first that we are afraid. But we have slow down long enough and name it. Grab a piece of paper right now and write down.

What are you afraid of this December?

Get it out, write it down, tell Jesus, tell a friend, ask for prayer.

Ask God to help. Because if we let the emotion of fear take over than our need to control will take-over like a run-away train and we will be miserable. Take it from me; I’ve done it so many times I’ve made not only myself miserable but my family too!

We can’t miss the second part of the announcement. The angels told them what they could find it they let go of their fear.

The angel also told them where they could find JOY. Because JOY is a person, it’s not just the warm fuzzy feelings we might experience over Christmas.

It was in the good news that Jesus the Savior was born in Bethlehem and they decided to go and see. That is joy.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. Luke 2:15.

The next verse said that they hurried to see Jesus. I want to hurry to see Jesus and not hurry to be in a hurry this Christmas season.

My fear this Christmas is that I won’t have enough time to get everything done that I’d like to get finished. I was away for three weeks and just got home December 10th. I was fairly organized before I left and yet I am reminded daily from the intranet, television and the media just how many more days are left until Christmas arrives.  So in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, what I really mean is lose my cookies in the process, I am purposely choosing to simplify a few things this year. Just one example, I did buy Christmas cards before I left for our trip fully intending to do them while I was away. It didn’t happen, I was sick for a week on our trip and I came home and said, “Oh, Oh!” as I opened card after card from the mail. I took a deep breath and said, “It’s not going to happen this year.” I’m okay with it and I’ve let go of some other expectations that I have put on myself and feeling kind of free actually to enjoy more than stress.

As we step into these last few days before Christmas,

let’s name our fears together,

let them go,

and hurry as the shepherds did to spend a few moments to see Jesus.

I believe that our joy will be recaptured.