Archive for January, 2011
For the very first guest post ever on The Fear List, I am pleased to present guest writer V.V. Denman! To learn more about V.V., make sure and check out her bio at the end of this post. To view more of her writing, visit her blog at vvdenman.com. Please make her welcome by leaving some comments to support and encourage this witty writer of God’s Word!
What Are You Afraid of? Write Already!
by V.V. Denman
I want to be a writer, but sometimes I suffer from graphophobia (the fear of writing). It’s not something I’m proud of, but there it is.
Once at a writer’s conference, the audience was asked to write a description of this or that. I experienced a touch of scriptophobia (the fear of writing in public).
Then there was the day I startled at my daughter’s spelling list. I thought I had a mild case of logophobia (the fear of words), but it was merely sesquipedalophobia (the fear of long words). Boy was I relieved.
I managed all right until I got cyberphobia (the fear of working on computers). After that, I couldn’t meet with my online support group. I tried to write them a letter but suffered from papyrophobia (the fear of paper). Paper cuts hurt, you know.
It could be worse, though. I once knew a girl with bibliophobia (the fear of books). I think she’s on television now.
Writing scares lots of people.
After all, we have thousands of years of exemplary prose that we’re trying to live up to. Not to mention the fact that someone might read our writing and think something. Bad.
Imagine these horrifying writing scenarios:
- Someone doesn’t like my writing.
- I hit send, then notice a typo.
- I receive a harsh critique.
- Someone hurts my feelings.
- It takes a LONG time to get published.
There is much to fear.
Well, guess what. We don’t have to worry about those things. They are definitely going to happen.
I don’t intend to make you feel worse, but fear is irrelevant. It all boils down to atelophobia (the fear of imperfection), but none of us are perfect, and all of us can write.
Think of the fun we can have, and consider the difference we can make in the lives of others.Sure, we’ll have some difficult days, but look on the bright side: at least we don’t have to fear the unexpected.
You don’t have to be a famous novelist before you write. Just pick up a pen and paper, or sit down in front of your keyboard. Write down some words. Send them to a friend. Share them online. Make someone smile. It’s worth getting a case of the nerves.
If you suffer from isolophobia (the fear of being alone) or ataxophobia (the fear of untidiness), writing may not be for you. Seek professional help.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity
(of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear),
but He has given us a spirit of power and of love
and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible
Uh, yup. Mhm, yeah. A dead person just laying right in front of me? I can see how that might be a little frightening.
P.S. Check back this Wednesday for a special surprise! It’s something I have never done on The Fear List before, and I’m excited about it! I’ll look forward to seeing you then.
In his book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear, Max Lucado offers some profound tips and insights into beating fear. One of the things he suggests is to compile a worry list, or a record over a period of days about things that are troubling you or making you anxious. Then he suggests you review them. How many of your fears actually turned into a reality? After spending so much time worrying over them, which of them actually happened? This will not only point out to you how largely futile worrying is, but also show you which fears and worries you keep coming back to. It can help you detect recurring themes such as what people think of you, finances, appearance, or performance. Then you are more able to address problem areas, notice when they come up again, and specifically pray about each of them.
Although I haven’t ever made a worry list like the one Max Lucado describes, I’ve done something similar by journaling. Over the course of the years, I’ve written about times I was afraid, only to realize God had been watching out for me all along. I remember writing in my very first journal how scared I was to get a job, only to get my dream job watching a 5-month-old a year later. When I looked back on that entry, I couldn’t help but smile realizing how God had been in control even then, and how silly I was to be afraid. Often journaling will help me sort out my thoughts, identify the fears specifically troubling me, and remind me later of how the Lord came through for me in that particular situation.
The beautiful thing about God is that He is faithful. Looking through my journals, I can see that same character trait of His time and time again. He has never once left me in my fear. He has always been with me and delivered me. Most of the time, what I feared in one journal entry either never happened, or turned out just fine in another. Just a while back after starting to feel purposeless in my workplace and fearing the situation would never change, I looked back at a journal entry I’d written when I’d felt similarly. I had just graduated, and felt so lost. I was afraid I was never going to go anywhere in life. It took a while, but God did eventually bring about what He had promised: direction, and a future. Reading and remembering how God had come through for me, I realized how perfectly in control He was of my work situation and decided to trust Him. Ironically enough, I now no longer have that job. All that time spent worrying only to no longer have the job a few months later!
Remember a time when you were afraid and God came through for you. Could He do the same for the situation you’re in right now?
If you’ve been fighting a battle with fear and losing, try one of these ideas and I guarantee you’ll see some improvement. Whether you simply write a few things down on a list, or go more in-depth with a journal, I pray you’ll try one of them out this week and watch the difference it will make in your life. Then let me know how it went! I’d love to hear about it. I’ll be trying Max Lucado’s method myself this week, so I’m excited to see the kinds of changes it will create in my life as well.
In the words of a popular worship song: “And if our God is for us, than who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, than what can stand against?”
For more great tips and an excellent read, you can view and buy Max Lucado’s book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear, here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_22?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=fearless+by+max+lucado&sprefix=fearless+by+max+lucado
Yes, fear the inanimate vegetation that is the least likely to cause you any harm whatsoever. Oh, while you’re at it, ignore the robber breaking in next door; that plant the neighbors keep is sure to scare him off.
I had just bought a car. A beautiful, white car that was all mine. I was convinced that this car would get me to drive. This car would motivate me, because then I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted! I was way excited. The first day I drove it, it did everything perfectly. It was so much nicer than the big, clunky van I’d been driving. It ran much smoother, and fit me better. The next day, I decided to drive it to work. But I also happened to be late for work that day. Confidence overthrew me since I had driven it the day before without any problems, and all I was really focused on was getting to work on time.
Instead of hitting reverse, I hit drive. I was ready to cruise on out of there! Bad idea. When I found myself going forward rather than the backward I had anticipated, I panicked. Despite my dad in the passenger seat beside me loudly yelling, “Stop! Stop, STOP!” I pondered what I should do. Switch gears like I should have done in the first place? Turn the wheel? Before I could decide, I watched my niece’s little pink playhouse that I had been heading towards crumple in on itself. I heard a terrible crunching underneath the car, and realized it was my niece’s plastic wagon. Finally, the impulse hit me. Brake.
I came out of that car like a chastised dog. My dad didn’t say anything at first as he surveyed the damage. “You got a dent and long black scratch right there. I’ll drive it later to see if it’s still running okay. Get in the van, let’s go.”
I swallowed back my tears, dejected. I still had to get to work, I was still running late-actually, later, now-and my brand new car was now damaged goods. I couldn’t believe how idiotic I’d been. Really? Forgetting to put it in reverse? How stupid could you get? The day after I’d bought it, and I’d already crashed it? I was humiliated and heartbroken. What I’d feared all this time, had finally happened. I had thought I was finally ready to drive! Ready to act like the actual grown up I was. Instead, the car had shown me up.
I’ve had a really, really, hard time getting into the car since. I demolished my niece’s playhouse. I dented my car. I could have hurt me or my dad. How can I find the courage when I know the same thing could happen again?
Luckily, both my parents were so forgiving and cool about the whole thing. On the way to work my dad actually said, “You know, I was looking for an excuse to tear down that playhouse anyway, but Mom wouldn’t let me. Now I can.” I could only nod through my tears. He even prayed with me, asking that God would restore my confidence, give me a good day, and help me to forgive myself. My mom gave me a huge hug when I came home, and secretly (she thought) demanded my sisters not to tease me about it.
Unfortunately, my niece hasn’t been so forgiving. It’s been at least three months since then, and just the other day she walked up to me and said, “Why did you break my house?” Poor girl, I didn’t have an answer for her. I tried telling her it was an accident, but she just walked away shaking her head.
But now that it’s been a little while, I can see some of the humor in it. I demolished a five-year- old’s playhouse. What kind of monster am I? My niece’s wagon is hysterical. Although it’s kind of crumpled looking, it still has three of the four wheels. The fourth is barely hanging on, so it wobbles, creaks, and rocks when you pull it. Still, my niece won’t give up on it. What must the neighbors think when she goes around with this pitiful excuse of a wagon rocking and creaking behind her? With my indecisive nature, I actually thought about all my options for rectifying the situation before I finally listened to the frantic (did I mention loud?) hint my dad was giving me. Duh. Brake.
But even though I can kind of look at it as somewhat humorous, it makes me wonder if I really can drive, and what’s wrong with me that I find it so difficult. I hate failing. And I’m afraid I’ll fail again.
So these are the fears I face every time I get behind the wheel. It’s the thing I struggle against every time I think about even getting into a car. Hopefully now you understand a little bit more about this fear, but mainly I told you to ask for your prayers. This is one I can’t overcome on my own. I’ve tried. I will get this fear conquered, but it’s going to take a bit of a journey to get there with this one. I’m asking for your support and prayers. I’m laying down my pride, because I honestly need help. That’s hard for me to say, but I’d be lying if I said anything else.
Well, that’s all for now. But if I may, a word of advice: white cars and pink playhouses don’t mix.
Yeah, because purple is so terrifying. It’s got nothin’ on yellow though, I gotta say.