Confidence Failure Faith Fear Gospel Living

I’m Scared to Death

There are many things in this world that freak me out: tornadoes, spiders, snakes, tsunamis, men who wear Capri pants, ISIS, small talk, and yes, the Gremlins under my bed. These are all valid reasons for fear. Yet I’m also afraid of things that are less tangible – like chasing my dreams.

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Why am I so afraid of pursuing my passions? Here are just a few reasons:

 

I am afraid of being rejected.

I am afraid of being ignored.

I am afraid of living a life that doesn’t matter.

I am afraid that I am not doing it right.

I am afraid that there are already too many people doing what I want to do, and they are doing it much better.

I am afraid that my words are useless and don’t have the ability to help anyone.

I am afraid that I will be discovered to be a fraud.

I am afraid that I am wasting my life.

I am afraid that I am not organized enough to follow through with my ideas.

I am afraid that I lack the perseverance to push through to the other side.

I am afraid that I don’t have enough knowledge or skill.

I am afraid that maybe I will sin in the process by becoming prideful or obsessed.

I am afraid that I didn’t hear correctly from God.

I am afraid of being labeled a narcissist or an idiot.

I am afraid that my “glory days” are in my past.

I am afraid that I am too old and no longer relevant.

I am scared my children and husband will be neglected and therefore will need extensive therapy in the years to come.

I am afraid that I am not like her . . . not funny enough, smart enough, wise enough, pretty enough, plain enough, popular enough, connected enough, exciting enough, or just TOO MUCH, which is another way of saying, “Not enough!” You get the point?

I am afraid that I cannot break my old pattern of quitting everything I start, because I am obviously not going to win at anything. I always lose, so why should I try. I’m tired of first-runner up.

I am afraid of getting close, but not getting to smoke the freaking cigar.

 

These are my current fears, and they were my fears two years ago as I began to write a book.

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In true Gideon fashion, I reminded God of my weaknesses, sin, shortcomings, and inconsistencies (as if He had forgotten them). I told God my exhausted list of concerns. I was quite confident He would agree with me that these fears are proof as to why I should never write a book or really do anything ambitious, ever again.

 

I was scared to write a story that was and still is in process.

 

Similar to Gideon, I was hiding. But instead of a winepress, I was hiding behind motherhood, my personality type (introvert), and a longtime struggle with depression.

 

“God, are you sure that I should write? Did you forget that I was not exactly a stellar English student” (after reading one of my papers, a college professor asked me if I had a learning disability). I didn’t; I was just lazy.

 

“Seriously God? Do we really need another writer? I will never be as thankful as Ann Voskamp or as witty as Jen Hatmaker! Why can’t I just sing a song or something? At least I have been trained to do that.”

 

But then the Spirit of God reminded me: God is not limited by our limitations. He was calling me to trust in Him to provide the inspiration and words. He didn’t need me to have confidence in myself; instead, He was asking me to place my confidence in Him and HHHHis perfect track record.

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So there I was on the elliptical machine, hashing it out with God . . .

 

I wanted to be a part of something REAL. I was sick and tired of small-talk-Christianity.

 

I wanted to talk to women who were REAL – women who had REAL struggles. I wanted them (and I’m one of them) to know a God who was REAL.

 

I was sick and tired of living in a photo-shopped world of women who always felt the weight of not measuring up.

 

I was sick of unrealistic and often unbiblical expectations – especially the ones I placed upon myself.

 

I was sick and tired of hustling for my worth like a psychotic hamster on the treadmill of performance.

 

I was annoyed by the Christian culture that held the The Proverbs 31 Woman over my head, like the golden calf of femininity. I wanted to be more than just a Proverbs 31 woman; I wanted to be an, “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful” type of woman. The Proverbs 31 woman was able to do all that she did because she feared the Lord and knew she was in desperate need of a Savior, just like myself.

 

If God didn’t need my performance, then why did other people? I wanted to help others experience something REAL, and God said, “It starts with YOU.”

 

God was faithful to give me the words to say, but fear was still holding me back because truth be told, I am scared of you. Yeah, you totally freak me out.

 

I didn’t want to tell you that I was writing a book, and I would have kept it from you if it weren’t for my husband who kept telling people.

 

Why was I scared of you, and why do I still struggle with these fears?

YOU ARE FREAKIN’ ME OUT!!!

I am scared that you will laugh at me behind my back. I am scared that you won’t understand my motives and intentions, or that you will understand me all-to-well and come to the conclusion that my weaknesses make me unworthy of trying. I am scared that you will think I have chosen the art of writing because I consider myself to be wise. I am scared that you won’t like what I say. I am scared my closest friends will distance themselves because they do not understand my new pursuit and the new ideas that are driving my all of my decisions. I am scared you won’t like the new me.

 

I share all of this to say two things. First, if you are reading this now, I want to say thanks for coming on this journey with me.

 

Every time I write, there is a chance that I will hear crickets. Awkward. Then, I am left out in the interwebs all by my lonesome thinking I am the only one that struggles in my marriage, rearing children, loneliness, and discontentment.

 

Thank you for the “likes,” “shares,” and “comments” which remind me that I am not alone. I truly feel the love. Please know I do not take this thing we have lightly.

 

It is an amazing day and age where we can connect with other people across the interwebs and say, “ME TOO!!! You are not the only one!”

 

I write for this reason, as CS Lewis articulated, “We read to know that we are not alone.”

 

You are not alone, friend.

 

Thank you for the laughs, tears, prayers, and constant encouragement. Thank you for being okay with my bad grammar and sometimes misspelled words. You are a very patient and understanding human. You have shared your hopes, fears, regrets, dreams, and other random thoughts. We are in this thing together, and I LOVE IT!!!!

 

We have a special thing.

 

-We just get it, right? Life is messy and God is good.

-Strong women build each other up, because of Jesus.

-It’s okay to not be okay, because of Jesus.

-Because of Jesus…we can try!

-Perfect people are boring and don’t make good friends.

-It’s okay to be vulnerable because we all have “junk in the trunk” and stand in great need of a Savior.

AND……

Sometimes you just have to laugh because your kid has dropped his drawers in the front yard and is peeing in the Jack-O-Lantern.

 

I write this blog post to say thanks, and I want to encourage you to do that thing God is asking of you. Do not let fear keep you from living. Place your confidence in the Lord and ask Him to give you the faith to step BOLDLY into the places He is calling you. I hope that you will feel encouraged to know that if I can do it (the girl who still thinks Gremlins are out for her), then so can YOU! Love trumps fears. Look to God and find your courage!

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4 Comments

  • Theresa
    March 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    You are a joyful blessing, Annie! I could see a lot of myself in this post! You keep it real and that is why your book is worth writing, no matter who or how many read it when you finish it! (you can include me on that list!)

  • catherine lee
    March 29, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Annie leigh your words are inspiring and true. After first reading one of your articles on todayschristianwoman i subscribed to your emailing list. Why? Because your not afraid to tell it how it is. Your honesty is so good to hear in amongst the chaos that can be happening each day. Your words of encouragment drawn from the gospel is just what we need to hear when so much of the world around us is saying the opposite. your words encourage to seek our god and to keep turning to him. Thank you.

  • Annie Leigh
    April 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks so much Theresa!!!! This means so much to me!

  • Annie Leigh
    April 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Catherine,

    Great to hear from you!!!! Thank you for your words of encouragement!

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