I received two emails from people who are considering enlisting my services as a writing coach. Both emails were filled with fear as the people shared their fear of writing about themselves (fear of pride), of paying for the services (fear that God will not provide), and of whether their material was good enough to publish (fear of failure and inadequacy). One email talked about how it took all week to follow up on our initial correspondence due to “cold feet.”
I have written in the past that the creative process is fraught with fear from beginning to end, and my experience of working with creative people the last two years has done nothing to change that conclusion. I am no longer surprised when I find fear in my own life, but instead I go looking for it, sort of like conducting a search-and-destroy military mission. I know my enemy is in there somewhere; I just have to find out where in my thinking my fear and shame are hidden and camouflaged.
Why are we so riddled with fear? There is a biblical answer and it’s found in Genesis 3:7-10:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Adam and Eve were afraid and ashamed of being exposed, so they hid from God. It’s ludicrous to think they could hide from God, but they tried, and you and I try to hide as well. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves – flimsy coverings that would wither and die in a day or two – but we use flimsy excuses to hide our fear and shame. Those excuses sound quite rational, but they are nothing but fig leaves in our minds to mask the terror we face when we consider doing something creative or new.
You may be nodding your head in agreement as you read this Memo. Yet, you can be in agreement and be steeped in your own fears, denying their existence. Or you have learned to manage your fears by sticking to the beaten path of life, careful not to veer off into the jungle of the unknown, where you have never been before. Until you take that path less trodden, you won’t have to face or even be conscious of your fears. What’s more, if you can wrap your fear in spiritual-sounding excuses, like, “It’s not the right season,” or “The Lord hasn’t released me,” or “I am waiting on a confirmation,” then you can comfortably learn to live with your fear, convinced that it is God’s will that you be content with your daily routine, medicating your mind with thoughts of what you will do “one day.”
My dear friends, this is the day that the Lord has made. You are not guaranteed tomorrow, so I urge you to face your fears today and move forward. You are a child of Adam and Eve, and we all must take steps to emerge from the bushes of fear and shame so we can emerge in the fullness of the glory that is ours in Christ. If we don’t take those steps, then we will live a life far below what God had in mind when He sent Jesus to die for your sins, once of which is fear. The choice is yours: How will you choose to live today?
Originally posted on The Monday Memo.