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Facing What I Fear the Most: Why Write?

July 20, 2012

I’m at a seminar this weekend, a local one that Gabe and I are attending while the kids are riding jet skis and terrorizing grandparents at the lake.

It’s a business seminar, and, while I’m not in business per se, I still glean a lot of self-awareness from these sorts of things.

One of the big questions I had to spend time on yesterday was…what am I afraid of?

Or, conversely, what do I crave most?

I already know the answer, and admitting it to you puts me immediately outside my comfort zone.

I’m a people-pleaser. An approval junkie. I’m a crack-head for compliments (and comments).

I had a boss once, a long time ago, that told me that I needed to figure out what motivated me the most. Was it money? Acclaim? Recognition? I realized then that I would even work for free if given a bit of praise now and then. Tell me I’m a good girl and I will do whatever you want. Pat me on the head like the puppy that I am. Polly Perfect People Pleaser: will work for praise.

The problem comes when I write for praise. When I write what I think people want to hear, rather than what is on my heart to speak. I spend too much time trying to come up with witty posts and pithy phrases to delight and entrance my (limited) audience, and I find that the words have all dried up.

I didn’t start out this way. I started writing because I just couldn’t NOT write. I wrote out of compulsion, a spigot of words that wouldn’t shut off. Of late, I’ve been befuddled by my lack of insight, my dearth of words.

What I wanted was your approval, and all I gave you was my dross.

The thing is, friends, there’s really only one kind of approval I need. I may want yours, but what I need, what I really need, is His.

Back to the first question – what am I most afraid of? That’ people won’t like me.

That if I write what He wants, you won’t read it.

That if I speak from the heart, you’ll turn away.

But it’s funny. When you are forced to really sit back and chew on your fears for a while, they get smaller. When you write them down on paper, and then tell your neighbor on your left – a total stranger – they aren’t so big. When you reach down deep inside of yourself and look fear in the eye, you find that fear’s a coward. It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

It can’t stand up to hope.

It runs in the face of gratitude.

When I step back and look at my life and all that I’ve been given, all that i have learned, I cannot be silent. I cannot be afraid.

If you still like what you’re reading, then give praise where praise is due. Give it to Him.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2012 7:52 am

    Well said and beautifully so. Thank you for speaking the Truth. Again, a timely piece….

  2. Kari permalink
    July 21, 2012 9:45 am

    Well then, praise God that he gave you a gift that you seek to use. May he be glorified.

  3. Rebecca Trotter permalink
    July 21, 2012 11:23 pm

    Funny, I was just thinking about this very thing – what do I want? I’m right there with you. I want compliments and approval. Really, I want to be admired. Tell me that you admire me and I’ll clean your bathrooms for free. As long as you keep telling me that you admire me, that is. Which for me is the real problem – it’s never enough. Like you said – a crack head for compliments. Once the hit wears off, I need the next one. It’s how I know that as much as I crave those “good girl” pats on the head, they aren’t what my heart really needs to sustain it.

  4. Donna F. permalink
    July 22, 2012 8:01 pm

    Looks to me like you’ve written (quite eloquently too, I must add!) from your heart and for Him. Get that growth chart out and a big fat pencil so that you can make a big “X” on the top of it! God loves your honest heart and so do I.

  5. Donna F. permalink
    July 22, 2012 8:03 pm

    I meant to write “make a big “X” at the top of it!.” I’m sure you got the idea though…

  6. July 25, 2012 6:35 pm

    We humans are so complicated! I think everyone knows what that is like. Well said!

  7. July 26, 2012 7:13 pm

    I can relate. I think anyone putting their personal writing out there has those same feelings- that inner conversation. Thanks for putting it in to words. As a mom of 4 boys I am happy to have found your blog. I have bounced around a bit here and really like what I read. Look forward to reading more.

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