Is there anyone out there who remembers that book Hinds’ Feet on High Places?
This is a metaphorical story about a character named “Little Miss Much Afraid” whose quest to overcome her fears results in her transformation. I used to read that book with hopes that one day I would experience the same metamorphosis. I longed to transform into a fearless adventurer who could climb to the high places with the Shepherd of my soul.
The years have passed and I have grown into a woman of courage in many areas. Yet, there still exist a “Little Miss Much Afraid” inside who quakes at new challenges necessary for fulfilling my dreams.
Though hard to admit, I often feel like a doe frightened by oncoming headlights. Yet in spite of my fears, I did finally sign up for the local Writer’s Conference yesterday and finished another chapter of edit changes on my manuscript. I also contacted a self-publishing company and scheduled a telephone appointment with a consultant for today. These are big steps for my little fearful self.
Am I all tough and brave now? Hardly! I still get cold feet when putting my words online. Once you post your thoughts, they are forever out there dangling in cyberspace. You can delete them but they may still be attached to someone’s mind.
So with all of my “Little Miss Much Afraid” feelings inside, I am still determined to “get real” in hopes that my life lessons can benefit others and other’s experiences shared through responses can benefit me.
Then take it up a notch and think about actually publishing your own book. Now that is some pretty scary stuff. My “Little Miss Much Afraid” inside really trembles over this.
After you publish a book, your words could be gathering dust on bookshelves at best or be used as the center of dart boards at worst.
So why on earth would I want to torture myself so? I ask the same question regularly and try to come up with a few answers. Hmmm…let me see…
In a recent post titled “Three Gold Coins,” I wrote about my human attempts to find those three precious endurable treasures: faith, hope, and love.
If there is one coin I would like to dole out through my writing, it would be hope. I want my words to say, “You can get up and walk again after you have fallen… spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially..whatever laid you low does not have to keep you down.
Those who know my story know that I left the ministry in the face of humiliation and had to face my humanness in an unprecedented way. So, I eventually carved out a new life with few around me knowing the person I once was or the losses incurred.
Now with online social networking, my worlds come together and I must find a way to weave all of the strands of my past into some sort of redemptive chord. The further along in this process I go, the less and less hiding is possible.
So, here are a few of my thoughts about hope. In order to dole out the coin of hope, one must be willing to share vulnerable, real experiences that have been encountered, wrestled with, and overcome. You also have to admit those areas of your life where you did not make it and those places where you are still stuck. I thought that perhaps if I tried to “get real,” I could share some encouragement and maybe redeem a bit of my past.
Hope may float for some (as the movie claims) but for me it first sank to the bottom of my life’s lake for a very long time. Like a heavy rock, it lodged into the mud of my blunders, failures, and weaknesses. Eventually, I spent so much time on the lake bottom that I think I grew gills.
But now I can write with certainty that in spite of what life throws at you…divorce, custody battles, unemployment, illness…you should hold on to that rock of hope while you’re going down.
Scripture promises that “hope is the anchor of the soul” but we all know what an anchor is used for. It digs into the sand and muck and mire to keep your boat from drifting. This is especially important when there is a storm raging above water. I know this to be true…sometimes you have to stay in that difficult place at the lake bottom for a very long time.
This is when hope requires you to do the hard stuff. You single-parent, get retrained, make that counseling appointment, get that medical treatment, attend that 12 Step Group. Hope inspires you to take that class or learn that new skill even though you are so sure drowning is inevitable.
And while your hunkered down at the lake bottom of your life taking care of business, your boat fills with the fruit of your labors. In time, winds of opportunity fill your sails.
Eventually, you pull up anchor and you’re off.
So here I am coming up to the top for some air and gathering more courage so I can get a little more real with my blog visitors.
Yesterday morning, one of my sons called and announced he is finally writing. In fact, he began writing and kept writing and writing. This was exciting news because I have always suspected he has a gift in this area and a whole lot of lake bottom stuff to process.
Jason has learned a lot about hope having survived a tour in Iraq involving three bomb explosions and other horrible occurences. He is taking care of life’s “hard stuff” by finishing his education.
My other son, Josiah, just started his own blog called “Chasing Sunsets.” Both young men are courageous enough to try to make sense out of their lives through using the tool of writing. If my hope and honesty contributed to even a little of their courage to do the same, then it was worth the time, effort, and self-exposure.
So I encourage you to try using writing in order to “get real.” Even if the only reader is yourself. I can guarantee you one thing, your life will never be the same again. Who knows, you might even find a few gold coins of hope to dole out as well!