Monday, July 11, 2005

Be fearless

❝For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.❞ -- 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

Saturday night we had the third annual After Harvest Festival in my town. The festivities concluded with a street dance featuring King Midas and the Mufflers. Really. They've been together for 40 years and they're pretty good. They play a lot of 50s, 60s and 70s songs, with a little blues and funk thrown in.

But here's the thing -- the band started playing about 8 but none of the grownups started dancing right away. I suppose we were all afraid we'd embarrass ourselves and it was still too hot. But the little kids suffered no such inhibitions. With the first chords, the little kids were out in front of the stage, dancing, spinning, twirling, running in circles -- however they felt like moving to the music. It was wonderful to see them dance with pure unadulterated joy. I wanted to dance with them, but I didn't. See, I'm an adult and I don't want to look foolish. Shame on me.

Writing is another area where I'm sometimes afraid of looking foolish. I need to write more boldly, more deeply, if I'm ever going to be the best storyteller I can be. But if I do that, people might be critical or disapproving. They might ask me what kind of delusional idiot am I, to be writing stories and thinking I might have something to say. But if I never take that risk, my story is doomed before I even tell it.

I was talking with some friends last night about how God's logic looks nothing like the world's logic. God's logic seems to men like foolishness, but in fact it is the opposite of foolishness. Jesus told us we need to become like little children in our faith: not immature, but full of wonder and trust and uninhibited joy. This may seem contradictory, but God tells us it is true wisdom.

I'm coming to realize this applies to all the areas of my life, including writing. He's calling me to be fearless.


Valerie Comer said...

Good point, Linda. We spend (*I* spend...) too much time wondering what people think, and not enough wondering what God thinks. May we be fearless. Amen.

Katy said...

Thank you, Linda, for your wisdom. You are so right.

Emily said...

I'm fairly spontaneous and somewhat uninhibited, as long as I don't stop to think. The problems begin when I do stop to think. When I think about ME, I hesitate. I know my limitations, you see. The funny think is, though, that God doesn't seem to see me in the same way. He doesn't see all those limitations that I see. So when I stop and consider what God thinks, I'm far more fearless. I'm more willing to get out of the way and let me be ME without all the garbage attached.

Eileen said...

Great Post, Linda! I suffer from those same inhibitions, always wondering what others will think, always worried that I'll reveal myself in ways I don't even realize I'm doing. Yet, I know that those whose writing I admire are fearless, that they "let it all hang out," and connect with their readers in a powerful way because they do. Would they we'd all be more like those little children!

violet said...

Linda, I can so relate! This reminds me of a quote in a book I own about writing poetry: "It's a very difficult life, being a poet. Like going to bed on TV and everybody looking. Like keeping a diary for the world's eyes. You have to be open for inspection, reveal all the dirty and beautiful things that happen to you. If you hide something, it will kill your poems..." Andrei Voznensky

I would say the same could be said of fiction writers too. Maybe that's another of God's little paradoxes -- the more honest we are, at the risk of tearing down others' illusions about us, the more potential our writing has to build others up.

lindaruth said...

Thanks everybody!

Dee said...

Sometimes I'm a bit too bold, whereby I forgot about God, but go after my own agenda, whatever it may be at the time. So I have to step back and simplify things as if I were a child.

Great post. I thank God for my five year old. I watch her and think about how bold , but sensitive I need to be.