One thing that I didn’t mention in my ABOUT ME page is that I have a strange fascination with Mount Everest. I have been fascinated with that beautiful and amazing mountain for probably twenty years. There have been countless movies, documentaries, books, and articles consumed over the years to fuel this fascination. I especially love the stories of all the people who have climbed that mountain: the victories and the tragedies. You can bet your bottom dollar it is on my bucket list to make the trek to base camp so I can look upon that mountain with my own two eyes.
I follow a page on Instagram called Himalayas High for some of my fix of Mt. Everest and mountain climbing goodness. A few weeks ago I came across this picture and quote on their page.
“Sometimes the fear won’t go away so you have to climb that goddamn mountain afraid.” (Instagram: @himalayanhigh) Click To Tweet
While I really don’t like the use the expletives I couldn’t help but be taken aback a bit by this quote. I had to sit with it for a while and ponder what it was saying. And then I had to relate the quote to my own life.
Climbing Mt. Everest has been a metaphor for my life in many ways. In my mind, climbing that mountain all the way to the summit would mean overcoming all the barriers in my life. It would mean pushing all the negative self-talk and doubt out of the way and moving forward to my dream of touching the highest point on earth.Writing has always been my Mt. Everest. Click To Tweet
I see this awe-inspiring mountain in front of me and long to climb it all the way to the top. And then once I start my trek to the top I am overcome with fear that I will die on that mountain. The thin air will suffocate me or I will fall into a seemingly bottomless crevasse. So, I turn around and head back to base camp and then right back on that plane back home. I stop when I have barely started.
I start writing with my eyes on the summit and it is awesome. I’m going to do this. And then all the excuses for not writing flood my mind. The air of fear is suffocating and I trip and stumble around the crevasses of doubt. I stop writing. I tell myself that I will go back and write when I am in a good place and there is no fear.
Where does this fear come from? I can identify two main sources of fear.
Always Seeking Safety and Not Taking Risks
For as long as I can remember people said that I hate change.
It’s true. I hate change and I resist it like a tiger. I hate moving. Routine changes will throw me for a major loop. I love for things to stay the same and comfortable. My whole life has been centered on pursuing comfort.
While this may seem all comfy and cozy the truth is that it has totally stunk. Why? It is because the constant desire for comfort means that I am always wanting to be safe and I am not willing to take risks. And that place is boring and soul crushing. It is soul crushing to someone who is uncovering a heart for adventure.
Going after a dream of writing means taking risks. It means putting myself out there. And it means putting comfort aside and replacing it with a scary adventure.
Is it worth it? I think so.
Fear of Man
I would say Fear of Man is the number one reason I have resisted writing. I have told myself just about every reason why I should never write for the public.
You can’t write well.
No one will read your stuff.
People will criticize your writing.
You will die a starving author, unsung and unappreciated.
Everything you desire to write about has already been written by people who are better at it than you anyway.
People will think I am dumb for ever considering going after this.
This list goes on and on.
My fear of what people would say or think about my writing has paralyzed my fingers.
Until now, that is.
I have a secret to share with you. I have been writing in private for quite a long time. I gave myself the challenge to write one thousand words a day no matter what. With the exception of weekends, I have followed through with my challenge. I have a huge Word document on my desktop that is just dripping with my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it is the basic day to day happenings and sometimes it is me yelling at God as I’m trying to sort through all kinds of situations. I wrote and wrote and wrote but I didn’t want to share with anyone. What would people think if they really knew what went on in my head?
And then I saw that quote on Instagram and it knocked my feet out from under me. It’s funny how God speaks to us in such perfect ways for each of us as individuals. It took the picture of guy climbing a snow covered mountain and the words, ““Sometimes the fear won’t go away so you have to that climb the goddamn mountain afraid,” to get my butt moving.
You see, anything worth doing is going to make me afraid. And that’s good!
That fear shows me WHO is actually in charge and that I can’t do this alone after all. That fear forces me to my knees saying, “Jesus, you have called me to do this but I am so weak and scared. PLEASE help me!!” And then He responds, “Let’s do this together. Get up and walk. Keep your eyes on me. I am always with you.”
On the other hand, this fear could keep me right where I have been for the longest time. It could keep me paralyzed and exactly where the Enemy wants me, doing nothing. And doing nothing means that God is not glorified by His work being done through me.
I have a choice to make.
I choose to climb afraid.
I CHOOSE to write afraid.
Dale Carnegie said, “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Click To Tweet
Is there something that scares you?
Are you willing to do it afraid?
What do you need to do today to start that climb to the summit?