Making Progress

Writing doesn’t make you vulnerable until you let someone else read it.

And then, it opens you right up like a patient on the table, the critical eye of the surgeon evaluating the inner parts of you, what’s working and even what isn’t.  Even your life blood is laid bare and open to inspection.

I admit it.  I’m afraid sometimes.

Like the time I read a blog by Lysa TerKeurst, the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She had just gotten her nails done.  It was such a simple thing.

And some of those lovely Christian women reading her sweet little blog post just about ripped her head off through the computer.

They called her all manner of horrid things, equating a nail file and some polish at a salon to being a harlot of Babylon.

Good gravy.

I’ve read about Beth Moore and the vicious, scathing letters she receives from Bible scholars and disgruntled readers.  Mary DeMuth talks about the nasty emails in her book, Everything, and how they just about crumpled her to the floor.

I’ve even ended up on email lists of people who feel the need to criticize every word every Christian writer has ever written….ever.

Blogging this way, pushing that “publish” button on the side of my screen as I finish each post, never lacks a certain amount of fear for me.  Fear I’ll offend.  Fear I’ll get it wrong.  Fear the words won’t be enough or they won’t be articulate enough, poetic enough, beautiful enough, inspirational enough, truthful enough.

I don’t sit here at the computer typing away several days a week because I’m bold or even slightly brave.  I don’t do it because I think I’m qualified or more capable.

Mostly, after all, I’m afraid.  I’m the people-pleasing girl daunted by failure, criticism and embarrassment, who’d rather sit on the sidelines and miss out on the fun than lay myself out there for everyone to see.

But if God says, “Go,” He means “go.”  And if God says, “Sing for others to hear…Write for others to read….Speak so others can listen….Dance so others can see….,” He’s asking you to be brave in Him.

For Moses, this calling was so difficult.  All he could see was his past—a murderer-turned-fugitive, who had spent 40 years in the desert tending sheep and trying to forget his life in Egypt.

He could see his inability, his sin, his insufficiency.  He was crippled by fear.

In fact, Moses wanted God to choose somebody else, because he spoke “with faltering lips” (Exodus 6:30).

In the Message paraphrase, Moses says, “Look at me. I stutter.”

“Look at me.”  Isn’t that what we’re doing when God calls us forward, but we remind Him of others who are more equipped and how incapable we really are? We’re fixing our eyes on ourselves or maybe on the fears that we’ve made bigger than God.

But God told Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (Exodus 7:1 NIV).

The Message says it this way:  “God told Moses, ‘Look at me…'”

It’s a re-direction of our focus, a looking up instead of a looking in or looking down or even looking ahead.

The prophet Habakkuk described it this way:

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP).

God is our Strength.  He is our personal bravery.

It is He who makes us walk forward rather than standing still in terror.  Even more than that, He gives us progress when we’d rather give up or run away or fail to even begin the journey.

But only when we let go of fear (of failure, of criticism, of people, of abandonment, of getting it wrong…) can we move forward.  Only when we stop looking at our own clumsy feet or squinting ahead trying to make out any dangers along the path can we trust Him to guide us along the rocky mountain climb, making us as nimble and sure-footed as the practiced mountain deer.

Do you have any fears that are holding you back from obeying God’s call?

Christian Writers Blog Chain

Today’s post is part of the January topic, ‘Forward’ by the Blog Chain. You can click on the links on the right side of this page to read more articles in this series.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

12 thoughts on “Making Progress

  1. Jack Brown says:

    for some folks it’s easy to point the finger and pull others to pieces
    they forget that they reap what they sow
    sift their words and pray for them
    biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig hug

    • Heather C. King says:

      Such wisdom there! Sometimes I don’t sift their words at all, just let them hurt. But praying for those who hurt you—yes, that’s so difficult and so beautiful and healing at the same time. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Terrie says:

    Hi Heather,
    Loved this post! That is the big question isn’t it. Sometimes we let things get in the way of our personal mission, the one God designed us for. I personally try not to let things get in the way, but there always seems to be those little irritants like, Time or Finance that like to to put a hiccup in our giddy up. I try to push through delays and inconviences and make it a point to stay on track. Peace and Blessings

    • Heather C. King says:

      You’re such a sweet encouragement to me! I just got a note this morning saying the book will come out in November 2013. The article will be in the April issue of P31 magazine. God is so generous to me, always so full of grace!

  3. Chris Vonada says:

    This is very inspiring Heather! Yea, I often feel that I’m in a tug of war between good and evil. I guess my biggest fear of following God’s call or will has been when it doesn’t align with my own idea of how things should proceed. I’ve tried very hard over the past few years to focus in on and follow His perfect way.

  4. Carol Peterson says:

    Fear in writing is my biggest obstacle, too. This year my focus word is “courage.” I’ll be doing a 6-month series on courage later this month on my blog. I expect the writing will help my focus and hopefully result in increased courage and perhaps ENcourageMENT to others. Wonderful post, Heather!

  5. kerimae says:

    I understand the fear. Everytime I see a comment waiting for moderation I cringe :/ For a while I didn’t even allow them at all. Anyhooo…..I just painted my tootsies last night. (gasp!)

    • Heather C. King says:

      Too funny—I just bought polish so I could do my toes, too. I thought it would help me feel like spring and summer are coming! This fear of people’s criticism surely makes me remember to rely on God for my identity and to “Please God, not man.”

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