Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Only Fear Worth Having When it Comes to Writing



It's gripped my heart, knocked my knees, and chattered my teeth.

And I confess, I've let it hinder me from attempting one too many things.

I never took philosophy in college, for I feared I lacked an analytical mind. I avoided economics, for the textbooks were filled with too many tables. How was I to understand supply and demand? And I avoided my passion--creative writing--for there was always someone better. I just wouldn't be good enough.

For didn't Jane Austen already craft the perfect heroine? Or Charles Dickens weave the most intricate plots? My words didn't stand a chance amidst the creative geniuses--the Oxford classics or master storytellers. And though my heart longed to move in the writing direction, my mind succumbed to that dreaded four letter word.

And I feared failure.

So, I took the safe route. I participated in low risk tasks and made decisions based on my chance of success. And at the end of the day, I succeeded. Failure wasn't an option.

But in attempting to avoid failure, I attempted nothing at all.

It wasn't until I heard the whoosh of my son's heartbeat, I realized my utter inadequacy for the task ahead. As a mama, I was destined to fail my child a thousand and one times. The touch of my babe's skin propelled me onto the writing path. I decided life was just too precious and short to live in what-ifs or bury God's gifts.

As I donned mama-skin, I felt compelled to write stories. Though I knew nothing about the craft of writing, I decided I would do my best for God, regardless of the result.

It's been three years, and to be honest, this path--though thrilling and invigorating--terrifies me. I'm afraid my stories will fall short. Will everyone laugh at them? What will the critics say? What if my pages never see the sun?

Yet God's measure of success is different from that of the world's. He doesn't look at the accolades, published titles, or sales. He looks at the heart. Am I willing to obey even if my words are buried on a hard drive or my stories don't fit the current market?

It is not up to me to determine the results of my writing. But it is my job to use this gift to the best of my ability. When William Carey heard his church leaders tell him God didn't need his help to reach others, he disagreed. He pioneered the modern missions movement and lived by the saying, "expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."

I know in attempting, I will fall flat on my face {already have}, but I also know that if I don't take risks, I will never know what God can do in and through me, or experience the fullness of grace.

And I could possibly miss out on His best for me.

So, despite my fears, I write in faith, and I know I must not stop.

For, the only fear that trumps all others is the fear of God.

Melanie N. Brasher is a full time mama of two boys and wife to an incredible husband who understands her bicultural background. She moonlights as a fiction and freelance writer, crafting stories and articles toward justice and change, and contemplates faith, family, and writing at her personal blog. Though she’s an aspiring author, she’ll never quit her day job.


  1. Joy, you are an awesome writer! I LUV your blogs! Fear not, you will not "fail" -- as long as you follow God's leading. . . :-)

  2. Thanks Joy. This was a message of encouragement I needed to hear right now.

  3. Thanks for the blog, Joy. Excellent point.

    Now, this deals with the emotion itself as opposed to its connection to writing, but we need to remember that God created us with the ability to fear for a reason. Years ago, when I walked down a street in Phoenix one evening, I stopped as a coyote was watching me. Yes, I felt fear, and I should. Fortunately, the coyote felt fear as well and turned and walked away, hoping I wouldn't chase it.


  4. Millie, thank you so much. Praise God.

    Mary Allen, I'm so grateful the Lord used these words. He is so good.

    Jeff, you're absolutely right. We do need a healthy fear--in fact fearing God is a healthy fear. Thanks always for your keen insight.