Conquering Fear

Recently, I was given the opportunity to submit my writing to a large church organization for publishing. 

I haven’t done it yet. 

Procrastination, that ominous sign of fear. 

Elizabeth Gilbert says, “All procrastination is fear.” She’s spot on. 

I am afraid my writing won’t be good enough. I’m also afraid it will be good enough and then I’ll have to deal with an editor or writing assignments I don’t like or any number of other things that are challenging about working with others. 

When it comes to my work, I’m an introvert less because of how I gather energy and more because others have burned me in the past. 

Or I’ve allowed myself to be burned. 

You see, that last sentence is a good reminder that I can choose my response. I don’t have to be burned. Instead, I can be hurt and overcome that hurt. I don’t have to be rejected. I can be moving on to other things. 

Perhaps today, I will get on with those submissions. 



To Begin

Do or do not, there is no try. 

Yoda’s sage advice. 

For the perfectionist, this statement is a recipe for disaster. The value of trying has merit. It has to have merit. Otherwise, things will never get done. 

I always thought perfectionists did things perfectly. The real definition of a perfectionist is usually someone who doesn’t try, because it won’t be perfect. 

I think I’m a borderline perfectionist. There are many things, especially regarding music, where I have simply not tried, because it wouldn’t be perfect. Yet, in other areas, I’m able to move past the block of perfectionism. 

Recently, I’ve started setting timers and when I feel overwhelmed or worried that something won’t be perfect? I just do that activity for the allotted amount of time and call it complete for the day. 

For instance, right now I’m writing to the tune of a timer, because I didn’t know what to write and was worried it would be stupid. 

But starting has value. Trying has merit. 

To begin – sometimes that is the greatest achievement. 



The Community Chalice

I have social anxiety. 

Not the disorder or anything that official. It’s just any time I do something social, then I have anxiety. 

I think that some of this comes from my childhood. As a child, I missed nothing. Though people tried to keep their pain from me, they could not see it was pointless. The same went for judgements, inferences, the way adults spoke in undertones about other people. 

I understood it all, but without the filter, the lens of maturity. 

Now, even as an adult, I hear their whispers each time I walk into a room. 

Did you see that she isn’t wearing makeup? How did she gain so much weight? I hear she tried to commit suicide. Well, I heard it was because her son is mentally retarded. No, I think it was because of their finances. You know, they once went through foreclosure. 

I’m a juicy piece of gossip, for sure. The truth is that those conversations may or may not be happening. Maybe they are just other people’s thoughts or maybe they are just my thoughts about other people’s thoughts. 

Here’s the thing. 

Its hard enough to manage my own thoughts, let alone trying to figure out those of other people. I’ll take the cup that is mine and pass on the communal chalice. 

My thoughts. 

I don’t have to believe them. I can step away from them and discern what is beneficial and what is not. 

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll discover a way forward that doesn’t include recalling all of my past failures and faux pas. Maybe I’ll have the courage to embrace new thoughts. Thoughts of how I am loved, how my story has meaning and purpose, how my vulnerability can set others free. 



Waiting on the Rewards

I’ve come to notice that my satisfaction with the day is directly proportionate to the amount of time I spend writing. On days when the two-year-old is grumpy and needs extra affection and time? I feel less satisfied, because my writing takes a back seat. I become frustrated, because the one thing that I wanted to do in my day was cancelled, put on hold. 

I don’t like to put myself on hold. Maybe that’s a good thing. 

At the same time, I’m assuaged with a deep sense of guilt. Shouldn’t loving on my soon-to-be preschooler be enough or at least joy-filling? 

It’s not. 

It’s exhausting. Mothering is hard work.  They say it; they tell you it will be hard. They don’t do it justice. I can’t do it justice here – there are no words. 

Its rewarding, motherhood is. One of the other things they tell you. What they don’t say is when it will be rewarding. I’m still waiting. 

Sure, I have moments that are rewarding, sacredly sweet, but they don’t really compare to the amount of effort I’ve put in so far. Maybe the reward is grandchildren. Grandparents say its the most amazing thing, but I can’t vouch for the experience. 

While I’m waiting on that giant reward for all this mothering, I intend to give myself something to hold the peace in my life. That gift is writing. I hope that you find a gift to give yourself too – whether you are a mother or not. You deserve it.  



Victory through Depression

Victory over depression. Those were the words that triggered me. 

You see, I tried that for a really long time – to rise up, to fight. 

But there are some battles that can’t be won through fighting. My victory over depression doesn’t look like life going back to normal. My victory looks like everything changing.

Depression taught me. It taught me to listen, to surrender. It taught me to appreciate the unknown, value the  hidden. 

From the moment I entered therapy, I was counseled that my depression was a mystery – not a battle, not a problem, not a crucifix. 

It has felt like a crucifix. It has felt like a problem. It has felt like a battle. 

It has always been a mystery, a mystery I value. 

When someone says “victory over depression”, I must shake my head negatively and say – 

Victory through depression. 



Waiting to Exhale

I think sometimes life is like tugging on a rope. So many things to do, so many places to be – responsibility. 

I grip the rope too hard. All of the freaking time, I grip too hard. The rope burns my hands, scarring them for days to come. How do I pull without holding so hard?

I think the key is breathing while doing. Breathing at each interlude. Breathing in the heat of the moment. 

Exhale. A word said to me over and over in therapy. I hold my  breath and it only makes the tension worse. Breathe in strength. Breathe out exhaustion, frustration, ire. 

Breathe out. 

That is the key. 



Through the Fog

The fog has rolled in, thick and grey and obscuring. It reminds me of looking at the future. You think you see something in the distance, but then its gone from your sight, only to flash closer again in a few minutes. In the fog, light refracts and it can be misleading, causing collisions and near misses. This is what it is like to count on something for the future, only to have it hit you head on when you least expect it or miss you completely. 

My future and questions about it have been on my mind constantly. Each time, I have to remember the fog, obscuring my long view. When I remember to stop scanning the distance desperately, then I am finally able to see what is in front of me. The tree with brilliant red and orange leaves reminds me that this season is not forever. The muddy ground fills me with the sense that the earth is absorbing all of the rain and will sprout grasses soon enough. The rain is all of the troubles I face, the muddy ground my soul absorbing the lessons to be learned. 

The Bible says that every day has enough trouble of its own. There is no need to dwell on the future. (Matthew 6:34) Even better, I like the words of Eckhart Tolle. “You create a good future by creating a good present.” Focusing on the distance in the fog is useless. It is the present that teaches us, preparing us for the future. 

Carpe Diem.