Monday, January 12, 2009

Stamp Out Fear in 2009

Fear. It's devious. You think you've learned its tricks, and it pops up masquerading behind the word, "concern." You think you're trusting the Lord with your writing, and POW - a rejection sends you reeling. You overhear a comment, and it plays on your mind. One little thought mushrooms into a full-length movie complete with tragic ending.

I wish I could say I was immune to these attacks. Whenever I've said, "Yes," to the Lord, my commitment faced challenges. Well-meaning folks made condescending comments. Others ignored the subject altogether. A few supported for a short time, and then gave up when I didn't reach my goals in what they believed was a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes my greatest critic was myself.

This is when I flee to the One, who knows everything about me. There is no flaw, no weakness, no strength, no gift, no fear hidden from His eyes. I pour out my heart - oh, not to inform Him, but rather to unburden and cast my cares upon Him. His shoulders hold up the universe, so my little problems are a piece of cake for Him.

His Word gives me courage and shows me how to deal with this insidious enemy. II Timothy 1:7 and Isaiah 40:31 are mainstays in my arsenal against fear, worry, and whatever other name you want to give that feeling that beats you into the ground.

I don't wait for good feelings to come. That is not the measure of fear's defeat. Peace comes when I remain in an attitude of quiet trust in the face of the attack, holding up the shield of faith and wielding the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). I know my Father, and He brings me through - sometimes in the most surprising ways.

Whatever you're facing in your writing life or in your family, run to the Rock of your salvation. What are some of the tactics God has given you to battle fear? Let's encourage each other today.


Mike Dellosso said...

Fear cripples faith. Oh, if we could only learn to live and write fearlessly, relying totally on Christ and enjoying life in His power. Someday . . .

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Mike -

It's good to see you online again. We continue to pray for a speedy recovery.

This is a message I need to hear repeatedly. Each new venture or market I explore comes with its own learning curve.

Fear keeps us frozen in one spot, while faith moves us forward. I continually remind myself that I can do all things through Christ. It is He, who strengthens me.

Thanks for commenting and for your example of courage over the past year.

Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

I think it's the one you wrote, 11 Timothy?
If I'm afraid I say it out loud. The funny thing about fear is it can make a person crazy. It can strip love right out of a person. That's why that nugget from the Bible is so useful. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Funny you posted about this.
My pastor talked about fear quite a bit yesterday.

Sarah said...

Wow. You took the words right out of my mouth and wrote them so much better than I ever could.

You're right. Faith in place of fear will move us forward.

Thanks for the great post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

It's easy to look at successful writers and think, "I wish I could be like them." Yet, they deal with the same fears as all of us.

Taking care of spiritual issues first not only makes us better writers, but better at dealing with all the issues of life.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

I have a confession to make. I was afraid to publish this post. Yet, it was heavy on my heart. Often when I feel this way, it's because the enemy doesn't want the Word to go forth. The Word breaks the bondage of fear.

Fear causes a paralysis. We become afraid to submit our work to new markets, talk to editors or agents, or show our work to other writers.

Fear is a bully. And the only way to beat a bully is to stand up to him and not back down.

I appreciate everyone's fine comments.

Susan :)

Kevin said...

Dear Susan: What a timely post! Thank you for your words of wisdom, and your encouraging transparency. I think my giant fear is failure. Not just with my writing career, but my relationships, my walk with the Lord, you name it. Only the grace of God and His powerful word as a sword in our mouths can enable us to overcome our fears. I like what you said about not waiting til you feel better. I think feelings are often enemies to our faith, too. Many blessings, Jeanette

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jeanette -

Great point! If we were dependent on our own resources and strength to defeat fear, we'd be in dire straits. Thank God for His Word.

I think we also view fears as coming from us. Yet, it is a temptation of the enemy as diabolical as the one he presented to Eve. This temptation tells us to believe and trust our senses rather than God.

If we fight fear the way we fight other temptations, we'll see many more victories. With all that's happening in the world, we have plenty of opportunities to engage this enemy.

BTW, I've tried to leave comments on your blog without success. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I can't seem to figure it out.

Susan :)

quietspirit said...

I once read that fear is the antithesis of faith.
Yet, all of us have times of fear.
But we have to keep our eyes "stayed on" Him.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

I agree that fear is the opposite of faith. Jesus made that clear when the disciples woke him up during the storm.

We'll always have opportunities to fear, but we don't have to accept them. When I broke my elbow, I became accustomed to a limited range of motion even after the bone healed. I went to an occupational therapist to re-train my arm. We don't have to accept fear as the norm for our lives.

Even as I work out to keep my body in shape, I work out my spiritual muscles to follow the Word.

I always appreciate your comments. Hope your friend is doing better.

Susan :)

quietspirit said...

I am so glad you still have a job, even if it's part-time.
God knows what you need and will supply them."And my God will supply your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever. I'm grateful He made a way for me to keep my job.

Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I have been frozen by fear in numerous areas this past year--fear that I would have to give up writing because of economics, fear that I'm not good enough anyways--the list goes on and on. Satan loves filling my head with the negative thoughts.What I've done is try to combat it with reading scripture and books that encourage and of course trusting that God has a better plan than mine. Thanks for being so honest about what many of us are feeling.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I find that simply identifying my emotional turmoil as fear is half the battle. Knowing the problem is the first step in dealing with it.

And make no mistake, it is a battle. A turning point in my own life came when I refused to allow fear to rule over me. I recognized it as a lie, and attacked it with Scriptures on fear and trusting God. The battle raged for a mere ten minutes when the victory came. All the feelings of fear disappeared.

It was a real eye-opener for me.
My situation had not changed one bit, but my heart was fixed on the Lord and His care for me.

Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience, Terri. I'm sure it will encourage others.

Susan :)