I tend to magnify my fears through the lens of melodrama. I have skills.
Skills I put to work, last weekend, at the Speak Up Conference. Part of the conference offerings is an opportunity to paticipate in a series of fifteen minute one to one meetings with publishers, agents, consultants and Authors. You are given a list of potential people to meet with,and the conference planners do their best to accommodate your preferences.
I requested “safe” appointments. Meetings with people I know and that I know like me and my writing. Why? well, I could use my ninja skills and say it’s because those re people I already feel God has connnected me with and that God OBVIOUSLY wants them to be a part of my next steps as a writer and speaker. Duh.
Except, when I recieved my appointment schedule, my safe people were already booked.
I considered cancelling my appointments. Honestly? Pitching my heart to people in 15 minute increments sounds like a combination of American Idol for Authors and Shark Tank. (Heart–book project. Oopsy. Someone occasionally forgets she is not her writing.) I was totally prepared to sit down across from a series of Simon Cowells “Mr Wonderfuls” of publishing lay out my heart and have it torn apart with snarky criticism. Hormonally, I knew I was within the crying danger-zone. Not very professional. another good reason to skip out.
It didn’t help that the zipper on the back of my top broke wide open, just minutes before my appointments began. I was convinced that was a sign from God to go back to my room and take a nap. Having yur top bust wide open during a meeting is nnot the kind of impression I wanted to make, nor, one i thought God had iinmind either.Had I been stayiing at thhe conference hotel, I would have ducked out to my room, eaten chocolate and felt like a scared loser.
At the last minute something inside said: ” Just GO. It’s practice. You only do one writer’s conference a year, and you’ll regret if it you don’t. Every “No” Is one more step closer to a “Yes.”
That voice in my head was way too non-hormonal and logical to be mine, so, I’ll credit God.
I double and triple checked my zipper, grabbed my one page pitches and headed to my appointments. It was a little more like speed-dating of publishing -minus the sexual tension, than American Idol or Shark Tank. Fortunately, no one I had an appointment with had an english acccent or wore skiny jeans and a black tshirt, so my Simon Cowell fears were alleviated. There was no snark. Except, for maybe a little from me. i get like that when i’m nervous.
Instead, there was respectful dialogue and sharing of ideas. It was more like shoe-shopping and trying to fiind a good fit, than a reality TV show. (Although, a reality shoe shopping show? That I could get hooked on.) Anyway:
I met with publishers.
I met with a consultant.
And: Scariest of all: I met with an agent. (Again.Not my first. And yes, I find them scary.)
Yes. For whatever reason, agents are more frightening to me, than publishers. I tried to spiritualize the fear: “If God wants this message out in the world, He can make the connnections I need.” I tried to rationalize fear: “I just don’t think I’m at that level yet. I don’t even have a book out yet.”
I decided to confront it. “Maybe, it’s like my needle phobia thing. If I keep confronting it, I’ll be desensitized to the fear. Maybe this is a divine plan to help me get over the whole shark tank, idol thing.”
So I went.
It wasn’t scary once we started talking. It also wasn’t magical.I didn’t leave that or any of my meetings with a contract to publish my book. (Yeah, I know in my brain that isn’t how publishing works, but, the flipside to my melodramatic nightmares is a Cinderella day-dream where someone finally slips that magical publishing contract shoe on my foot and birds start doing my housework.)
Yes, I know that’s nuts. I doubt I’m the only one who swings from nightmare to daydreams in an instant, hoping to avoid the fear whie still attaining the dream.
- Some of us do it with financial fears.
- Some with relational fears.
- Professional fears.
- Parenting fears.
- Spiritual fears
- Health fears
<Insert your fear here>
What if we drop the rationalizations, spiritualizations and and avoiding and took the very next step? The one we’re most afraid of? Maybe the one we find ourselves scheduled for or,confronted with even though our zipper is broken and we’re not perfect?
What if that is the step that leads us a step closer to our dreams, not our nightmares?
I think it’s worth the risk.
I know this: Whenever I take a scary step- God shows up. Maybe not in the Cinderella magical glass slipper way- (Hello- Disney charges too much for that. justsayin.) but in the faith building, I can do this with God’s help- way.
What if that makes all the difference in US. And just might be the step that takes us closer to our dreams andour heart’s deepest desires?
- Financial freedom and openness
- Intimacy and community instead of relational fear?
- Professional advancement and learning.
- Parenting with confidence.
- Spiritual growth
- Renewed health
2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (Totally out of context, and yet, not in light of the teachings of faith and trust in the Bible;)
What’s the next step you could take in faith today?
What are you afraid of? Most afraid of? What do you rationalize, spiritualize or dramatize?
Dear Lord, we all have things we fear, some are totally legitimate fears, like a cancer diagnosis, health crisis, financial calammity, relational problems. Others, are fears we blow out of proportion and our avoidance keeps us from finding out what coud happen if we faced them. Lord, please give us wisdom, direction and courage to face each one, together, one scary step at a time. In Jesus name, Amen.
*****sometimes our journeys are three steps forward, 2 back. Remember, when you find yourself dancing that cha-cha- that you’re still one step further than you were;)