Fear | July 2018

Happy Wednesday!

I have received so much love and support since announcing the Her Story Retreat on Saturday and I just want to say THANK YOU. I truly believe that this retreat is going to be such a blessing to everyone that attends. I want to share with women how writing has changed my life. I want to give women the tools to begin their own healing process through writing. For some women, writing may be very deep and personal. For others, it may be bullet journaling here and there as a hobby. It looks different for every single one of us and there are no rules! To follow the big news, I want to spend this month encouraging YOU! I'll be sharing things that have helped me in the past and things that continue to help me every single day. This week I want to talk about fear.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Even though fear is not something that comes from God, as humans, we are going to be fearful at times. It's in our nature, but the good thing is that it's not in God's nature. I'm not talking about fear of people or things. For example, I've always been afraid of the dark. There. I said it. I'm scared of the dark! But I'm not talking about those types of fears. I'm talking about being fearful of following our dreams, tough conversations, new seasons in life, new circumstances. Fear in my life is the vulnerability that goes along with writing. I absolutely love writing, I love helping people through my writing, and I'm passionate about sharing my testimony through writing, but that doesn't mean that it's not absolutely terrifying. I have realized this past year that if I'm not careful, I allow myself to live in a state of fear. When I get to a certain point in my book I freeze because I'm scared of what people may think. When I announced the retreat on Saturday I was fearful that no one would understand my vision. When I started my blog a year ago I was fearful that no one would read it.

Here are some things that I have realized:

- If it makes sense to you, it doesn't have to make sense to everyone else.

- Not everyone is going to understand your vision. That is what makes us so special and unique. We all have something different to offer and there are more lives to be touched than what we can wrap our minds around.

- When I started sharing my writing I told myself that if at least one person connects with something that I write, it makes it all worth it. That is still true today, but the reality is that way more people are going to connect with your vision than what you think! One thing that I think we are all guilty of is setting limitations for ourselves and downplaying our ideas. I would be extremely thankful if one special person connected with my writing, but I'm not going to allow fear to limit me to that. My writing is going to impact many, many people. Your idea is going to impact many, many people.

- I believe that when God gives you your purpose, your idea, your business venture, your ministry, your new job, or whatever the case may be, He already has people lined up for you to have a positive impact on.

- Your idea is never "far-fetched".

- Most of our fear comes from the unknown. It comes from society saying that "too many people are already doing something similar to that". It comes from lack of income to make your dream reality. It comes from caring too much about opinions. It comes from trying to please every single person. It comes from constantly wondering if you've made the right decision and if that is what God has for you.

When God has something for us, He already has everything worked out. He's just waiting for us to begin the process. Some days I'm completely stumped when I sit down to write. Fear will come over me and I'll start thinking "how in the world am I supposed to write a book, write on a blog, and lead a WRITING retreat if I can't even come up with a sentence right now?". The thing is, I KNOW that I'm capable of all those things. I have notebooks filled with writing ideas just waiting to be brought to life, but fear has a way of handicapping us. When I disconnect myself from that fear and just start writing, God takes care of the rest. I'll look up from my computer and my neck hurts, my back hurts, my eyes are heavy, and I've written pages of my book or whatever it is that I'm working on at the time.

It took me a while to realize that I often lived in a state of fear. I remember when I realized it. During an evening service at church my pastor challenged us to be still and think about what it was that was holding us back. My thoughts went straight to my writing. What was holding me back? I had the actual writing part covered. I had plenty of things to write about. I thought and prayed, then thought and prayed some more. The only thing that came to mind was fear. Fear was holding me back. Our pastor was talking about what was holding us back from our relationship with God, but for me, fear was the answer to that question as well. My past wasn't pretty, and I didn't want people to think less of me even though I knew for a fact that God had people waiting to hear my story and be inspired. That scared me. Fear was holding me back from continuing to share my writing, and it was holding me back from a deeper relationship with God because I knew God wanted me to share my writing. I was stalling big time.

The change didn't happen right then and there but that is when I realized that I carried a spirit of fear. Honestly, sometimes I feel like the change hasn't happened at all. It's a process. I have to be very aware and intentional. Eventually my perspective began to change, and I started to realize the things that I listed above. Writing is my thing. It's what I feel comfortable doing, it's how I heal, it’s how I connect with God, it's how I make sure that I don't live in temporary emotions. It's how I do a lot of things. Why not continue sharing that with people? I'd be lying if I said that fear never comes over me because it does. When I choose topics to write about, I don't write about them because I have them mastered. I write about them because they're relatable and I need the reminder, too. But when I remember that fear is something that I stir up, not God, I feel ready to tackle it head on. I remind myself that my story is so beautiful. It's a story of a broken woman that conquered a lot of things and came out on top. It's a story of a woman that is no longer known for her mistakes. It's a story of a woman that is no longer a slave to the things that she went through. It’s my story and it's powerful. God gave me that story to tell and I believe that to be true for all of us!

I absolutely love podcasts. I listen to them all the time. When I'm cleaning, driving, relaxing. If you see me on a regular basis you know that most of my stories begin with "oh, on this podcast that I listen to..." because if you're listening to the right ones, they're so empowering! They remind me that we all fear new seasons. Rather than living in fear, we have to go for it. We have to walk right out of fear and into that power, love, and sound mind that we have. Now, I'm not telling you to blindly and irresponsibly walk into something that you know nothing about and haven't prayed about. You know that thing that is constantly tugging at your heart? That thing that you always pray about? That thing that consumes your thoughts because you know you're supposed to be doing it? THAT'S what I'm talking about. Walk out of fear and walk into THAT. Below I'll list two of my favorite podcasts for some extra encouragement. It has made such a difference in my attitude, outlook, and even my motivation. It's hard to show up somewhere flustered and irritated when you just spent your drive there being uplifted and encouraged.

- The Going Scared Podcast with Jessica Honegger

Going Scared is great if you want to listen to something positive and encouraging but not too deep. This is one of my favorites right now and it really pushed me to stop sitting on the Her Story Retreat and make it public! Jessica interviews lots of business owners and entrepreneurs and inspires her listeners to make their move. Her website says, "In each episode of The Going Scared Podcast, Jessica walks you through what it looks like to move through your fears toward a life of impact and meaning.".

- Dear Daughters with Susie Davis

Ya'll...this one is intense, but in a good way! It's full of challenging questions and lots of self-discovery. Susie's story is amazing. She witnessed a murder when she was 14 years old and often talks about how that traumatic experience had a grip on her for most of her young adult life. What I love about this podcast is that she strongly encourages you to dig deep, heal from hurt, look to God for strength, BUT also talks about the importance of seeking professional help. (which I don't think gets talked about enough) She interviews a lot of counselors, spiritual mentors, and authors. I love this one because a lot of the topics are very similar to my vision for the retreat. Digging deep and healing from hurt!

I hope that you're feeling inspired and ready to take whatever your next step is. Big or small. Some adjustments seem small, but they have a major impact in the long run. Replacing music with podcasts was something that seemed small to me but has definitely made a huge impact. I still listen to music of course, but I do find myself leaning towards catching up on podcast episodes during those longer car rides. Especially on a bad heart day when I need some extra encouragement and loving convictions/reminders. I have a challenge for you this week. Write these two questions down and be honest with your answers. The first thing that pops in your head, and stays there, is probably what the answer is. What is holding you back? Also, what is causing you to be fearful? Embrace the power, love, and sound mind that 2 Timothy 1:7 talks about!

Shay M.

I'd love to hear from you!

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