Open the Door Anyway, Friend

I’m traveling to Toronto to do an interview with 100 Huntley Street and visit my dear friend, Ann Voskamp. A few years ago she and I wrote a series of letters about words and shared them on our blogs. Since we’ve been talking about fear recently, I wanted to share this one with you again.

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Dearest Ann,

I don’t know how to write this series of letters without talking about fear.

I sometimes teach workshops at writing conferences, meet with those who come, and one question that seems to lurk behind whatever else they may ask is this: Will I ever stop being afraid to do this?

arkansas.wreath 070

photo by Ann Voskamp

My answer…

No. You won’t. Neither will I.

And this isn’t just about words—it’s any endeavor where we offer a piece of ourselves, lay bare our hearts for the world, give something we’ve held close.

You, dear reader on this journey with us, you know what that is for you: words, art, music, a mission, a dream, a child, a relationship.

Maybe what we’re really asking, without even knowing it, is this: Can I do this and not be crucified?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

We blush a bit when we think of it this way but didn’t even Jesus ask for the cup to pass from Him? No one wants this part of it. Not even the Son of God. And yet it’s in the giving, the laying down, the opening ourselves up that we find a path to joy.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Oh, yes, there are good things—such great things—on the other side of fear, the other side of dying to ourselves.

But the only way from here to there is through it.

We try to make ourselves ready for the task. But there aren’t enough conferences, books, wise friends, experiences, degrees to take away that shaking in our knees.

Our only hope?

Do it anyway.

And you are.

We all must look fear in the face every day and say, “You can’t defeat me. I will wield the sword of my words — my prayers, my creativity, my hopes, love, self — and I will never relent.”

Sometimes we even say with Job…

Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” Job 13:15

Though God makes us die to ourselves; He remains the sole hope of our resurrection.

And that is the JOY of writing, of living, of giving yourself however you are called to do so.

Just when you think the fear will finally have you, just when you’ve breathed your last, just when it seems all is empty…

Resurrection comes. New life.  Hope.

The kind that can’t be taken away—not by trouble, failure, hardship, not even death. After all, we’ve already faced it. Even more, Christ has faced it for us.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Fear is nothing to be afraid of—it’s just the door we push through to get to the other side.

And we never have to be ready — only willing.

And on the other side of that door?

One waits who knows what it’s like to face a cross. He took the worst of it for us. And only He can speak to our hearts the only words we really need to hear about our words.

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 5:21

That’s what makes it all worth it. The fear. The risk. The offering up of ourselves.

And I believe He says those well done words to each of us made brave in Jesus… .

Let’s open the door, sister!

Love always,

Holley

 

p.s. I’ll be back here again on Tuesday. You can join us for the God-sized Dreams weekly link-up that day. Here’s the prompt:

“Fear hangs out right next to whatever it is you’re most called to do. That means the closer you get to your calling, the louder fear sounds. Keep going–fear is a chihuahua that sounds like a Doberman.” — You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, Chapter Five

It’s time to have a little talk with the fear in your life. Write a letter that starts out, “Dear Chihuahua of Fear, I have some things I’d like to say to you…” {Is this kinda silly? Um, yes, but that’s the point. Fear always tries to make us take it more seriously than we should.} Link up your letter here next Tuesday. Extra credit if you can make us laugh out loud.

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,

Holley

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