Over a year ago, a lovely email dropped into my inbox from a literary agency. We followed up with a conference call and left it at this: if I were to expand some writings into a longer project, say a book, they’d like to review it and work towards publishing.
You’d think I’d be thrilled. But, I was scared, as is the typical Anne-response. I hadn’t initiated this. I wasn’t ready yet.
And you should know, when I first started hitting the publish button and sending words out in public (like to a whole 20 people), I sobbed to Jay that I was “freaked out that people would read it.” I rarely cry, and Jay typically freezes with displays of emotion.
He stared at me blankly and then patted my back slowly.
The logic just didn’t compute.
“Isn’t that the point, Anne?” he asked.
Well, yes. And no. The vulnerability and consequences of sharing can be overwhelming.
The truth is, I have had plenty of self-doubts: I don’t know if I have it in me. I’m not sure why anyone would want to read a book I write. And, I’m not sure I can finish a book-length project. I’m not certain it will be worth the effort. I’m not sure it will even matter.
I’ve need to name, analyze, and be freed from each of those doubts. It’s taken time. I’m still in it. But, this I’m learning well:
Doubts are heavy, and they can leave us paralyzed – or they can push us to freedom.
Maybe doubts are like those ankle weights my daughter uses.
She straps them to her leg because they help build her quad muscle, the one that atrophied after 3 weeks in a knee brace. Those weights are necessary if she ever wants her leg to be fully healed, free to run and play.
Maybe doubts are just what we need to strengthen our faith muscles and propel us to our full potential. Maybe doubts are the very means by which we become strong enough to take steps, to step out, to step up with boldness. Maybe doubts can actually be the resistance necessary to produce stamina and steadfastness and the capacity to flourish.
Learning to walk with doubts has made me stronger, just like those ankle weights. Because they force me to reevaluate. To stop, dig deeper, better understand my calling, to cling more to Scripture and whatever God’s saying, to discern truth and lies.
Without doubts, I’m not sure we’d ever be forced to grasp the depths of who we are in Christ and the path to which He calls us.
So friends, if you’re overwhelmed by doubts, can I offer this thought to you? Maybe it’s because God in His mercy will not let you step untrained into His path for you. He wants to condition you, strengthen you, and fortify you – as you choose to name and process each and every doubt before Him.
Dealing with our doubts ensures we are not frozen by them but eventually freed from them. Just as doubting is necessary before freedom, freedom is necessary before boldness.
Because the soul who recognizes her doubts and refutes each one based on the power of God alive and active in her – she is freed to walk, leap, and dance with boldness, rejoicing in her Deliverer.
I have my sights set on that kind of Bold.
Welcome. I’ve strapped in for an adventure, and I’m ready to better understand what it means to be Bold – my #OneWord365 for 2017, and the focus of this series. Over the next weeks, I’ll be posting a short series that I’ve been drafting for over a year. In these posts, I’ve tried to process the battle that’s on-going in me: to write or not to write, to share or not to share, to step out or shrink back, to have faith or fear. This is my call for Boldness, a summon for the courage to take scary steps and launch into unknowns after the One who is ever faithful and true. I hope you’ll join me.