Nothing will stop us in our tracks faster than fear. Fear is one of Satan’s favorite tactics. It prevents us from accomplishing the purpose for which God put us on this earth. It’s also why many of us miss out on the abundant life Jesus offers. Plain and simple, fear blocks faith.
Fear is defined as
F = false
E = evidence
A = appearing
R = real
In other words, our fears are not real or true, but merely something our minds think is true.
When I stopped blogging two years ago, it was to focus on my novel writing.
Or so I thought.
But that’s when things shut down for me.
I was unable to stick with the deadlines I set for myself. I was unable to come up with any words to put on the page. I became dissatisfied with the story line I had for my novel but I found it impossible to come up with a suitable alternative. I realized my story had major gaps and faults, but I felt at a loss as to how to fix them.
I was confused and lost and numb.
I was so disappointed in myself and feared that I had disappointed God, too (which I now know is impossible, since He already knows everything I’m going to do or say, and loves me despite my many faults).
I was embarrassed and wondered what was wrong with me.
Others were doing it, so why couldn’t I?
Had I been fooling myself all these years with a dream that was beyond my capabilities?
Had I heard God wrong?
Why wasn’t God answering my prayers and helping me if this is what he wanted me to do?
My story and my writing languished, then stagnated. I walked away from it all for almost a year, but although I left my story, my story never left me. It was always in the back of my mind and I felt drawn to get back to it, but every time I sat down and opened that file, I faced the same blinking cursor and blank mind.
At least, I thought my mind was blank.
After finding the Going Deeper Workshop by Karen Ball & Erin Taylor Young offered through the Christian Writers Institute, I learned how to focus in on the words in the background and realized my mind was playing the same ugly messages over and over again. You know how you can tune out a ticking clock or a song in the background or even a physical pain when you’re focused on something else? Those lies had played so long I didn’t consciously notice them anymore, but subconsciously, because of their frequency, I took them as truth.
I was believing lies like:
1. “You’ve been away from blogging for so long and still have nothing to show for it — what a failure! What will people think?”
2. “You may be a little better than some writers, but you’re way behind most writers! And look at how many years you’ve wasted!”
3. “There are so many steps to writing a novel — you’ll never get them all down! It’ll be a flop!”
4. “Your writing is terrible! Embarrassing even! People are just going to laugh at you!”
5. “You’ve never stuck with anything long enough to get good at it. What makes you think this is any different? May as well give up now.”
6. “You’ve been doing the same things, making the same mistakes for years — you’re just a messed up failure!”
Is it any wonder I haven’t made any worthwhile progress? With those lines, and several others, repeating in my brain every time I sat down to write, it’s no surprise I suffered from writer’s block and felt totally inept and discouraged.
To counteract the lies, the instructors advised replacing them with truths from God’s Word, so these are the corresponding verses I came up with:
1. “6The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can [mere] man do to me? 7The Lord is on my side, He is among those who help me; Therefore I will look [in triumph] on those who hate me.” (Ps 118:6-7, AMP)
2. “12I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason he made me his. 13Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.” (Phil 3:12-13)
3. “O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do.” (Ps 90:17, TPT)
4. “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” (Is 50:7)
5. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Gal 6:9)
6. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10)
It’s a work in progress. I’ve seen improvement and small advances. I took a big leap and submitted a children’s story and a poem to a Writer’s Digest competition. I also pitched my children’s story during a #FaithPitch event on Twitter and got a ❤️ from Little Lamb Books, which meant they wanted me to send my query letter and manuscript to them, so I did. I was so tickled!
It’s scary putting your work out there in the open for people to critique, and possibly reject, so I joined a Christian Picture Book Critique group through Facebook, got valuable feedback from them, and made some much needed revisions before submitting my picture book story to the publishers.
I’m memorizing and reading aloud several other verses every day, too. Reading them aloud really helps, because hearing them as you read reinforces them. They include:
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Eph 3:20)
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (Ps 37:4-5)
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Prov 4:23)
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Ps 32:8)
Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. (Phil 4:6)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28)
I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
Then He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith, let it be done for you.” (Matt 9:29)
For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)
Fear blocks faith. The lies we believe produce and feed irrational fears that stop us from living up to our full God-given potential. We are often our own worst enemies, and Satan loves to fuel the fires of self-deception and self-destruction. Awareness is the first step on the road to change. Jesus is the Truth we need to follow on the Way to our best Life.
Do you suffer from similar struggles and have to fight against lies you’ve told yourself for so long that you believe them? What have they prevented you from doing? How do you counteract the lies you’ve come to believe?
©️ 2020, Mia Manumit, https://calledtobeawriter.wordpress.com