“Shut up!” I silently yelled, trying to silence the voice in my head. Why wouldn’t it just leave me alone and let me do what I came here to do?
I was at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and I had a plan. I had a finished first draft of a novel safely tucked away in my computer at home. I had multiple copies of the first three chapters printed off and attached to something called a One Sheet that told agents and editors about me and the book I had written. I had read about how to pitch a book and even though I was nervous, I was prepared.
As the week passed I pitched agents and editors the novel, all while thinking about another book I wanted to write. I sat in class after class scribbling notes as fast as my sore hand would write. I was supposed to be learning how to make my book better and get it published. But that voice in my head just wouldn’t shut up!
Everything I learned made me think of this idea I had. By the end of the week it was clear what God wanted me to do. I was headed in a new direction. I visualized what my website would look like, and how I would promote the book I haven’t even begun to write. I went home with a new plan and fresh excitement.
That was in May. Month after month passed and the voice in my head kept bugging me. When are you going to start building your website? When are you going to make your Facebook Page? Remember what they said at the conference about people coming back next year and being in the same place they were in this year? Do you want to be one of those people?!
“NO! I don’t! Stop yelling at me!”
I had all kinds of excuses, good excuses. I’ve had a pretty terrible summer health-wise. I didn’t have the brain power or the energy to figure out how to do what needed to be done. I didn’t know how to build a website from scratch. I couldn’t afford to pay anyone or make anything fancy. But there was something else too.
I was afraid.
The new website I was going to build was me. It’s who I am, what I love, my very essence. What if people didn’t like it? Would that mean they don’t like me?
You see, I just can’t segment these different aspects of my life. God made me this way and I think He did so for a reason. I’m a chronically ill, Harley riding, shooting sport enthusiast, adventure seeking, writer and photographer who loves leather and lace and longs to do nothing more than point people toward Jesus. I love to tell stories through words and photos.
It may not be the conventional thing to do or the wisest thing to do, but for me it’s the right thing to do because it’s who I am. I have to be true to the unique person God made me to be. I’m different, and it’s my prayer that I’m just different enough that people will take notice. Not of me, but of the God who made me.
So I did it, and it’s really hard work. There’s a steep learning curve and it’s twice as much writing and using social media than I’ve been doing. I don’t know if I’m up to it, but I’m trying. I’m pushing back the fear and doubt and embracing the voice in my head that’s pushing me toward greater things, things I didn’t think I could do.
You may know that voice; it’s the voice of the Holy Spirit. He convicts and prompts and pushes us toward Jesus. He helps us become the person God wants us to be. I’m sorry I told him to “shut up” – that was the fear talking, and my own sinfulness.
I left the Writer’s Conference with a dream and today I’m closer to fulfilling it. I’m taking risks and putting myself out there, for better or for worse.
The important thing is I’m walking in obedience. I’m embracing the promise found in Isaiah 48:17 (NLT), “This is what the Lord says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.’”
Where is God leading you? Are there things God is asking you to do but you’re resisting because of fear or uncertainty? I want to encourage you to go for it. Take that leap, dive in, and don’t hold back! Sure, you may fail. I may fail. But even in failure there is success because we tried. We obeyed.
Let’s tell our fear to “Shut up!” and embrace the challenge God has put before us. I have a feeling it’s going to be worth it.
*If you would like to see my new creation, visit www.josiesiler.com and join the fun!
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ~ Isaiah 43:19