Remember that moment in school when you walk into a giant cafeteria and pray to God that your eyes will make eye contact with someone, anyone, just so you have a place to sit down un-alone? That feeling of insecurity and fear surging through your veins, threatening to define you when you fall flat on your face or come up lacking?
I’ve felt that way twice this year.
The first was in the fall at a small retreat of highly respected Christian authors, speakers and leaders. The fact that I was invited befuddles me. As I walked into the registration room that day, the hallways were lined with the voices behind books and blogs that have deeply inspired and challenged me. One woman ran a record label, another had been on the New York Times bestseller list and sold a million books, another was starring on a hit reality show, another was the women’s pastor of one of the largest churches in America, and another had written one of the most iconic worship songs of the past decade. The list of who’s who went on and on. And I felt it. Eighth grade all over again. Heart racing. Stuttering like I had never held an adult conversation. Sweating. Completely convinced that my name had ended up on the invitation list by mistake. I thought I was going to throw up. Insecurity and fear coursed through my veins in a way I hadn’t experienced since junior high.
And I sort of feel that way today too.
OK. That’s totally not true.
I feel exactly that way today.
Not because it’s tax day. Or because my itty-bitty-baby girl turned 5-years-old today. Or even because my husband was just wheeled back into a surgery room to have a tumor removed from his back. I am sure those are all great reasons for one to experience fear and insecurity, but those aren’t fueling mine right now.
What’s fueling my fear and insecurity today is an invitation that I am giving to the people around me to join in the printing and publishing of my debut book, The Road to Becoming. Writing a book is exciting. But inviting people to help fund that book is terrifying.
Because what if I fall flat on my face? What if I come up lacking? What if I find my voice is irrelevant?
Fear and insecurity loom.
I feel like I am looking for a seat in the cafeteria all over again. Like I am holding my breath at the retreat, hoping that the New York Times best seller sitting next to me at the rustic outdoor dinner will make room for me at her table.
And I feel silly. I know all the scriptures about not living in fear. I know all the Brené Brown quotes about being brave and vulnerable (Brené: Please give private sessions for independent creators launching Kickstarter campaigns. A support group? I need a support group.). I know what Madeleine L’Engle says about being faithful to the creation, as it is the only thing within our power to control. I know these things. I do.
But the fear is still here.
And I think that’s OK. Because at the end of the day there is a difference in being afraid and living in fear.
Living in fear limits you. Locks you in. Leaves you paralyzed. But being afraid doesn’t hold you hostage or hijack your hopes. Being afraid is an emotion; not a way of living. So yes. I am trembly and anxious and fighting the voices of insecurity and there is fear.
But I send my invitation out all the same. Sweaty palms and all.
Because what if I jump and I find I was always made to fly?
What if I make eye contact and realize someone saved me a spot?
Because what if I try even when I am scared and God’s courage meets me there?
What if you take the invitation and join me- or not- but either way I’m ok?
Faith isn’t the absence of fear. Or failure, even. Faith happens in the middle of fear and failure. And fortune, even.
So today I give the invitation away. I am terrified and exhilarated. To be certain, there is a lot of faith wrapped up in the whole thing. A lot of believing that I am walking into becoming the person I was created to be and creating the books and music I was created to make. And a lot of hope that many of you will accept my invitation and join me on this journey of turning my first book into a reality.
I wrote a book.
Like a REAL LIVE BOOK.
I’ve been trying to write a real live grown-up book since I was four!
And I cannot wait any longer.
I am ready to jump.
And I think I will find-
that I was made to fly.
(And by the way, once you force yourself over the edge and make the jump, the fear subsides and the fun begins. So here we go…)
Will you join me in making my first book?