October 25, 2014

You Know You Can By Vickie Stam


I can remember a time when I had a strong desire to watch a 'spine-chiller' on the big screen. As soon as one was advertised on television; I was hooked. I wanted to go. No matter how long the line up, I refused to leave until I was certain the tickets were sold out. But I wasn't alone. Being with someone made it easy to persevere. Nasty rain pellets couldn't dampen our spirits nor shivering in the blistering cold. Nothing could keep us away.

It was the experience of terror that I enjoyed. Sitting in the dark with my popcorn in hand I could feel my heart racing long before the opening credits started to roll and when they did I knew I was in for a chilling ride.

The eerie background music almost always set the tone that something frightening was about to happen. I quickly set my popcorn down and waited; not with eyes wide open but with eyes shut and hands shielding them so not even a trickle of horror could seep through. Other moments I cupped my hands over my ears hoping to drown out the blood curdling screams. I saw what I needed to see and heard what I needed to hear. The entire time my heart was leaping inside my chest but when I was caught off guard I jumped sending pebbles of popcorn everywhere. Afterwards, I laughed. I loved every minute of it!

So, why did I rush to see something that raised the hair on my arms? Why did I choose to witness something that left me clutching the sides of my seat in terror? Because I loved being caught in the grip of fear. I enjoyed the element of surprise. Imagine if all these years later I could say the same thing when I'm faced with the fears of writing.

"I love every minute of it." "I love being afraid."

Too bad that watching a scary flick and putting words down on paper do not bring about the same fears. The techniques I used while watching a 'spine-chiller' are not the most affective tools to use when it comes time to writing. Covering my eyes and ears simply isn't productive.

What I do know is that all those years ago I embraced something I enjoyed. I didn't care what anyone thought. I was having a good time. If I apply that same strategy to my writing I'm bound to produce something incredible simply because "I love every minute of it!"

Sure, I need to remind myself why it is that I write, especially when my fears are trying to convince me that I'm not good enough, that no one will like what I've written and no one will want to read it. The list could go on.

I realize that not all fear is bad. It teaches me to persevere. It tests me; calling on me to do my best. So when I feel my fears creeping up on me.... I'm glad that I'm not alone. I'm glad that I have friends and family who encourage my pleasure for writing. "Keep writing! they say...Don't stop! Don't be afraid! You can do it! You know you can!"

Psalm 118:6 "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

October 24, 2014

If I Weren't Afraid by Tandy Balson


Several years ago I had a picture over my desk that said, “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” It’s a question I have often contemplated. Fear has been my companion for a very long time. I’m learning to fight through it but it’s still a struggle.

Volunteering to write this blog is part of my fight. I’m fairly new to writing and the thought of writing to theme terrifies me. For that very reason I chose to do this.

When I told my husband about my plans to contribute to the blog site and how I was feeling, he didn’t give me traditional words of encouragement. Instead he said, “Fear is the opportunity to be courageous.”

Looking back to when I felt God calling me to write, I remember my fear and feelings of inadequacy. God directed me to write down the lessons He’d been teaching me. Words had never flown as freely as they did the day I obeyed. I realized then that the words did not come from me, but through me.

When He asked me to share these lessons with others the fear flared up. How could I share something so close to my heart? I prayed for courage to overcome this fear.

God was patient as I shared with only a few people. Encouragement from them gave me the courage to share with others. One told me if I truly believed these words were given to me by God, I should have no fear in sharing them. What a revelation for me. I wasn’t sharing my words, I was sharing His.

Tears streamed down my cheeks and fear paralyzed me the day a friend suggested I write a regular blog and share what God was teaching me. She then encouraged me by saying, “What if God wants to bless you through this?” Her words went straight to my heart. After praying about it, God gave me the courage to proceed.

My fears and inadequacies surface on a regular basis. When I need courage and confidence I repeat a verse from Philippians 4:13. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Rejection was something that took me by surprise. If I was letting God’s words flow through me, then why didn’t everyone think they were as wonderful as I did? It made me question whether I had really listened to God. Maybe I had misinterpreted his message to me and was doing the wrong thing.

My first major experience with rejection was at a writer’s conference. On day one the comments about my writing were not positive. Discouraged, I felt I had no right to be there. Who did I think I was, calling myself a writer? I prayed that night asking God to let me be open to the feedback of more experienced writers. If I was on the wrong track, could he please let me know?

The appointment I had with an editor the next morning gave me the positive reinforcement I needed. She even gave me a contact to send my work to.

The lesson for me was that everyone doesn’t have to agree with my style of writing. I need to be true to the calling that God has placed on my heart.

Rejection still stings and fears still arise. When I face those fears I can move forward. With God’s help I will be courageous as I share the words He has given me.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 NIV



October 23, 2014

FEAR - To Run or To Rise by Terrie Lynne

Recently, I came upon a quote by Zig Ziglar:

" F-E-A-R has two meanings:

'Forget Everything And Run' or
'Face Everything And Rise.'

The choice is yours".

I have to admit I've acted upon this quote at different times in my life. I know there have been times in the past when I have felt afraid to write what was really on my heart because of fear - real or imagined - of other peoples' opinions, backlashes or facing my own pain. But then there have been times I have trusted my heart, rising instead of running. 

When I write I try to balance having compassion and respect for others’ beliefs and opinions while not losing my own convictions. When I finish writing something, I'll set it aside then go back later to read what I've written, giving myself a chance to think and to see if what I am writing is from my head or from my heart. If I still feel a conviction in my heart and believe it's going to be beneficial, either to someone out there or even just for my own personal growth, I will post it.

I believe that there is healing in our writing and that it is a way for our voices to be heard.  The pen is our “microphone" and the paper our “stage”. Our audience is the readers. I heard it said that what we do, we do for an audience of One, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Which is the most important voice of all! So whenever I write, I try not to let my fears get the best of me or keep me from being true to my Savior and to myself. I hope you too will be encouraged to do the same. 

October 21, 2014

The Mountains Look Smaller in the Rear-View Mirror Jocelyn Faire


I can honestly say I am not afraid of ebola.
I am not afraid that I will be blown up by a terrorist.
I am not afraid that I will contract Aids.
I have only had my cholesterol levels checked once.
But, every now and then, when the elevator door opens, I fear there might be a dead body in there.

On the writing journey, I have come to realize that it's the stones in the shoes that continually irritate, and slow the pen down. It's the nagging doubts about the call to be a writer, the value of my words.
And time and time again God provides reassurance and confirmation. He knows that I am made of mud.
About two years ago I went skiing in the mountains, after a lengthy time of not skiing. At the time, I was close to completing my book on the grief journey, and was experiencing a case of Capital-D Doubt. What was I thinking to let people in on my personal sorrow? How was this all going to play out? I knew I was afraid ... the fear of vulnerability.

Nature nourishes my soul and this day I had planned to ski the mountains. In order to go down a mountain, on two skinny pieces of fibreglass you have to focus on the immediate. The slopes of Mount Norquay intimidated me when I was younger, but I had almost forgotten. This day the chair lift took me to the top, I could see the valley of ten peaks to my right, absolute beauty all around, a sense of majesty, the bigger picture; and then, there was little old me. And I felt that recurring fear, what was I thinking to get on this lift? Now I'm at the top of a mountain, and somehow I have to get down. 
At that moment, I had a flashback to when I learned to ski ... the taste of fear in my throat because I could not see ahead of me, unable to make my legs move because all I could see was that the mountain dropped away. I had been sure I would fall off the edge. A good friend came alongside and said to me ... “Jocelyn, the mountain will unfold.” And it did back then and this day again. As I got to the edge, it was not so steep, there was a way down to the next edge, and the next. That day on the mountain, God reminded me with a personal object lesson ... all these things going on ... they will unfold in their due time.

                                                     Trust in me.
It's a process. I did not get chair-lifted down the mountain, No, I still had to ski, but as I did, my legs regained their strength,  I stopped to catch my breath, take a moment to appreciate the incredible beauty, the sense of freedom, and most importantly God's presence making me feel very much alive!
Too often the fear of the future steals my hope of the day ...

When I reread my journals, I wonder why I seem to have to go over this doubting business again and again. And then again. And praise God, he keeps answering.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13 NIV
When the doubts return, I raise my right hand and picture God taking hold of it, the help comes.

And I wonder if all writers are doubters, or do only doubters write? 

Jocelyn blogs at:  http://whoistalking.wordpress.com