Sunday, September 1, 2013

How To Be Brave

I'm close friends with fear - well, maybe "frienemies" is a better description. It's been a unwelcome part of my life for as long as I can remember. Worried, anxious fear. Mind-numbing, can't-breathe, panic attack fear. I know its many faces well.

When I was in junior high, I fell in love with the American West. The time period fascinated me, in part because these pioneers and early settlers knew a thing or two about fear. Families left everything behind for a chance to stake their claim on untamed land and start a new life. They faced droughts, storms, sickness, accidents, attacks, and more. For years, I read everything I could about this time period. During this time, I first read a quote from John Wayne:

I've used variations of this quote so many times with my kids, stressing to them that sometimes, you just have to face your fears. They aren't empty words. I've lived a lot of what I tell them. I fought a massive, decades long war against fear. While I overcame a lot, it's still a daily battle. Going back to college in 2010 brought up a whole new group of fears. Graduating silenced many of them - but not all. I still have big dreams beyond college, and big dreams bring bigger fears.

I'm trying really hard to be brave right now. Last week, I worked through the Blog Planning Boot Camp with Kat at How They Blog. Day One was exciting: writing down dreams of the legacy I want to leave behind. Day Two was scary: setting lifetime, five year, and ten year goals. By Day Three, I was in panic mode: breaking down my one year goals into small, doable steps and scheduling those steps on my calendar.

It's one thing to say I want to be a published, successful author and have a thriving blog. It's another thing to actually take steps toward that dream. The scariest part is the very simple act of admitting that I have the dream. (Click to Tweet) If no one knows my dream, and I never achieve it, it's no big deal. But if I admit it, if everyone knows my dream, and I never achieve it, then I feel like I've failed.

What if I tell everyone that I want to be a published author - but I never even get an article in a magazine? What if I share my dream of writing Christian fiction - but get only unfinished manuscripts or a stack of rejection letters to show for my work? What happens if I bare my soul to the world, letting them see the deepest desires of my heart - only to learn I'm not good enough to make it happen?

I've always been a dreamer - but now it's time to become a doer. It's time to push my fears aside and put my hopes into action. I'm shaking in my boots, but I'm saddling up anyway. I've dreamed it. I've planned it. Now it's time to dive in.

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