In November of this year I will celebrate my 56th birthday. I feel like I’m living in one of those time lapse commercials; I woke up and suddenly I was, as the old folks say, half-a-hundred. So immediately I start thinking and rethinking my past. Probably too much. I begin to travel down a very dangerous road, eventually arriving at Second Guess Yourself Blvd. I start to question many of my past decisions and that’s not good when you’re stuck in an unpleasant situation and unable to make any immediate changes.
Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for the opportunity to see 50 and beyond, and I am grateful for everything I have, including my somewhat dead end job, which people are losing left and right due to the economic downturn. It’s just that I feel I’m due for a major change since I've now surpassed a major milestone in my life by 6 years. Yet the question remains, what am I willing to do in order to invoke said change?
Now more than half way through a particularly difficult year (2014 is really bugging me), I am at times discouraged and hard-pressed to keep up the momentum of moving toward my dreams. So I pray, and ask God to stir up the gifts He’s placed in me. I pray for Him to show me how to utilize said gifts and turn them into a lucrative business venture. As a writer, there are many opportunities for me to partake of. My problem, I think, is the fear of putting myself out there. Will I be able to accomplish what I set out to do? Can I duplicate or exceed my current salary, (which shouldn’t be too hard considering it doesn’t amount to much, but I’m not complaining). Will my clients be impressed or want their money back? Will I be able to compete with other, more experienced writers? And finally, that all encompassing dilemma—what should I write about? All of these questions are currently running through my mind and I am in a constant fight not to allow these issues to paralyze me. In the midst of all of this chaos, I’ve discovered something very profound: fear is extremely dangerous to the creative mind. Why? Because it can literally keep you from even trying.
No matter how talented you are (or think you are), or how many gifts God has endued you with, if you do not use them, then your gifts are no good to you, the people they may help, or the services they may fill.
I once heard a minister say, “Do it in your fear.” “It” being whatever that thing is that you’re afraid of doing; whatever that dream, goal, or aspiration that God has placed on and in your heart. This is a hard lesson to learn, but one that needs to be achieved nonetheless. This year I intend to stretch beyond my fear and do “it” anyway. I intend to reach out to new audiences and those I’ve already established. I intend to write more and procrastinate less. Whatever fears I may have will be placed on the backburner, pushed to the recesses of my mind.
I will learn to do it in my fear until I conquer it.
I cope with what happens around me by spilling my emotions onto paper. As a writer, I look for solutions from within, through the evaluation of self and the environment around me. Then I ask myself, what can I do to change things?
Here, now, today, I've been pushed into making a decision that will change the course of my life; to launch out into the deep, and to trust what God has said about me. Now it’s time for my hands to put forth the creativity instilled in them.
Writing is my love. I want it to become my livelihood as well. A new opportunity has risen out of the ashes; the motivation to love the work that I do—and to do the work that I love. I can only hope that "my love" will push me hard into the realm of the inspired and the creative and that once I arrive, I’ll be more than happy to stay put.
An earlier version of this article was published in 2011