Confessions of a fearful woman


So much of what I write never makes it to the front page of the blog.  And it’s not because I don’t think it’s any good or worth sharing with the world, but because I’m afraid of rejection or being misunderstood.

I’m sometimes afraid of sharing something personal, something that I’m just thinking through, but that may cause someone close to me to feel a little worried.  I don’t want people concerned for me.  If I suddenly stop writing, then, by all means, be concerned because  I have learned this about myself: if I am not writing, then it’s a sure sign that I’m avoiding an issue I really need to deal with or I’m hiding.  If, however, I’ve taken time to think and write it out AND I hit “publish,” then you can rest assured that I’ve begun to deal with my issues in a healthy way.

Lately, my struggles have revolved around the gospel and applying it to my life.  Most days I feel like have no idea what I’m doing.  How do I live this out? I wonder.  What’s this life of faith supposed to look like? It’s so much easier to just “try harder.”  But Paul asked the Galatians, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:3).

And when I think it’s ok to ask someone their opinion, God reminds me that He isn’t making cookie-cutter followers.  What He’s ordained for my life isn’t able to be replicated exactly in another.  What He ordains for your life isn’t going to work exactly the same way in my circumstance. Principles can only take us so far.  The rest is by the Spirit and by faith.

And so I am trying to work out what God is working in me (Philippians 2:13).  It’s not easy.  And I find myself so frustrated because I do not take the time I need to take to work through it in my head before I can put some feet to it.  I can’t help it –I’m a thinker.  The issue du jour is fear.

Take, for example, the way my fear of man manifests itself in blogging.  I love to write; it helps me think.  And blogging is great because I usually receive helpful feedback.  After writing, I’ll think about what I’ve written and all possible reactions, then I consider whether or not I’m willing to take the heat, whether or not I will disappoint or hurt someone I love.  Sometimes I ask a friend to read the post first.  Most of the time, I decide that I can’t take it [the heat].  I fear man.  I crave his approval.  I want to be liked.  True story:  I hid from all my friends (I was under the stairs, behind the piano in case you were wondering) during one of my childhood birthday parties because I thought they didn’t really like me, that they only came over to play with each other and eat my cake.  THEY CAME TO MY BIRTHDAY PARTY, for crying out loud!

This fear, whether manifesting itself when I’m writing or in a relationship, is disgusting idolatry.  I know it’s time to put up a fight (again) when I feel like I’m hiding or craving approval from people.  And if I struggle to blog, you can image how it manifests itself in person-to-person relationships.  The gospel is the answer.  Repentance is the appropriate course of action.  Fear of the Lord, not man, is God’s will for me.

What’s the worst that man or woman can do?  (Matthew 10:28)  If to publish (continuing my example) isn’t a sin, if my conscience will allow it, if God could get glory from it, then why do I fret so?  And if something I publish is not honoring to God, I have a faith family who, I’m sure, will be quick to correct me.  Those in my faith family who know me well know that I welcome that kind of thing.

When it’s all said and done, I have to trust God.  If the door is open, then why not take a step?  I pray that I will be that woman who lives out of her faith rather than her fears, who worships God alone and not any man.

 

(Looking back over what I’ve written, I realize that it may not make much sense, but I feel so much better!)

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8 thoughts on “Confessions of a fearful woman

  1. This does make a lot of sense. I struggle with the same fear of man/woman – especially in blogging, but in much of life. I worry way too much about what others think of me and much too little about resting in what God has done for me and is doing in me. I’ve got to remember that this is idolatry. Good reminder to trust God in blogging and in all things. In blogging, I often hesitate to publish because I fear debate. I don’t like to get drawn into heated arguments when someone misunderstands or wants to take issue with something I’ve written that I may still be working out in my understanding. We in the Christian blogging community can make it a little hard on each other sometimes when we come at each other with both barrels blasting – sometimes we need it if we’re going off the rails biblically, but sometimes it isn’t done with the best interest of the person we’re interacting with truly in mind but rather seeing that person as an argument to win so it’s a little intimidating. Anyway, too long of a comment and probably not making sense, sorry. I do think I understand what you’re saying and appreciate your sharing it today.

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    1. The desire to avoid conflict/debate is HUGE. But, in the end, if it helps us know how to defend something that’s really important or teaches us that we were wrong to start with, isn’t that a good thing?

      I don’t mind long comments. They usually end up being helpful. 🙂

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  2. I think we all feel this way at one time or another. The thing is to make sure you’re fairly solid before you post in the case of questions. If you don’t want the questions or challenge, don’t post. I don’ think there is anything wrong with avoiding unnecessary conflict, and I think the flak people give/take in the blogging world is of the unnecessary kind. I decided a while back to publish less of what I’m pondering (I save that for my private journal) and more of what others are teaching me through what I read, for example. I used to be more concerned about having my writing accepted, but I’m getting better. I write because that is what I do, and as long as I’m using my writing to be glorifying to God, I try not to worry 🙂

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    1. The process of writing, oftentimes, helps me determine whether or not my thinking is right or wrong. Many times I’ve written myself to the point of realizing that I don’t know what’s next, I realize I lack understanding and/or clarity. Those things I keep to myself until I’ve studied or asked someone else who knows. I hope I’m getting better about wanting my writing to be accepted. I do want to glorify God in it and not worry.

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      1. My husband has such common sense, and he’s one of the most humble people I know. He has taught me a lot about evaluating my own motives before I click “publish” on my blog. It’s been a good exercise. And one of the bloggers I admire most is a woman who seems to follow that rule as well.

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  3. I honestly understand what you are saying here. I think that if you are blogging with boldness then the only question to ask yourself is “are my words seasoned with grace and love?”. It is extremely hard not to worry about the approval of man, but I think it’s a beautiful thing when a person truly lives (not in a bitter or cynical way), to please God alone. I’m working on that myself.

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  4. Girl, this is a post I could have written. Seriously. It’s like you’re reading my mail. Or something.

    I pray that I will be that woman who lives out of her faith rather than her fears, who worships God alone and not any man. Me too, sister. Me too.

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  5. Two books that have been helpful for me in my own struggle are “Pleasing People” by Lou Priolo and “When People are Big and God is Small” by Ed Welch. Grace to you. I’m glad you hit “publish”.

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