What Really Happens When We Face Our Fears

When I was in high school, I held back. I pushed myself just enough on the swim team to get awards, but not enough to be a champion. I procrastinated on essays, telling myself I did better under pressure, but deep-down knowing I was scared to give my best and fail.

Of course, there were times that reinforced that idea in my head.

It didn’t help that I had a swim coach who constantly complained they didn’t make kids the way they used to. . . around us kids who were swimming at 4:45 a.m. in the winter. Or that my first week in honors English class, the teacher took my essay, made it into a transparency (20-somethings, you’ll need to look that one up!), and used it as an example for the class of what not to do for the assignment.

That day, I walked out of class and transferred out of honors English. I didn’t want to be in the smart kid class if it left me feeling so dumb. I didn’t want to write if people were going to be so mean. I didn’t want to risk if it left me vulnerable to being hurt.

I played small like that through college. I got good grades, but didn’t compete for the best internships. I had friends, but used studying as an excuse not to have too many. I wanted to write—I even switched majors to the Lit department one year—but was scared to pursue something so risky.

I’m not sure when it changed, or even if it’s changed completely. But something shifted the year I felt like a failure as a mother.

I didn’t shrivel up and disappear when it happened. The world didn’t fall off its axis. And it turned out failure was neither truth nor what mattered in that season in our family. Having invested everything—EVERYthing—I had to give into my little girl and having it fall flat showed me something important:

If we risk nothing, we’re not protecting ourselves, we’re preventing God’s best in our lives. {tweet this}

Two years ago, I decided to be a writer. I’d been writing all my life, but I never let myself SAY it until then. I never let myself commit to it, even as a coach who helps people take a stand in their lives all the time. It made me so mad that I didn’t—that I couldn’t—do it in this area of who I was.

For me, the risks were small: attend a writer’s conference on a friend’s invitation, follow up with an agent I met there, follow the template they gave to write my first proposal. One step at a time, one insecure foot in front of the other.

But you know what? The risk was worth it. Even in the midst of one of our hardest seasons as a family. Because you know what showed up on my doorstep yesterday?


The first copies of my book!

The first copies of my book!

A dream of my heart, poured out over the past year, wrapped in a cardboard box, sitting right there in front of me.

A risk taken, a calling pursued, fears seen and pressed through. . . sitting there in front of me.

To hold a dream? To pick up the bound reality of a risk taken? It’s beyond words, friends.

What dreams are you holding on to? What risks are you scared to take? What if they’re not as scary as they seem?

You can do this.


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  1. Jared Buckley says

    Great post and congrats on the book.

    Fear is crippling when overpowered by it. We will always have fear, but it is where we direct fear that will determine our journey. Fear in a situation or circumstance can cripple, but fear in the Creator is empowering when He raises us to our feet.

    Luke 5:8-10 “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”…Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

    Love it.

    • says

      Oh the wisdom in this statement: “We will always have fear, but it is where we direct fear that will determine our journey.” That encouraged me so much, Jared. Thank you!

      • Jared Buckley says

        Seems like you got that one down.

        I remember teaching on fear a couple of years ago and it blew my mind to understand fear was not bad all in itself. God taught me fear towards worldly things will lead to many bad things, but fear towards Him ALWAYS leads to RESURRECTION. Jesus said rise, RISE FROM YOUR FEAR.

        Haven’t got this down yet 🙂 but I am striving.

  2. D Jones says

    You are indeed a fabulous lady, congratulations on your book!! The title alone is enough for me to purchase your book for my teen daughter. :oD

    • says

      Oh I hope you will! Once I turned in the manuscript, God’s brought so many opportunities to share the ideas with teen girls at my church. They so need this message. Perhaps that will be the next book. . .