What do you mean 'contracted'? I didn't sign for a package of germs!

Personal Note: When I was a little girl we played this imagination game (I dunno, maybe little kids are still playing it?). I really liked it, especially when it worked right. One kid balled up her fist as tight as she possibly could for at least a whole minute while another kid rubbed the clenched fist (now that I'm an adult I understand this has to do with circulation and nerve-endings, but you don't know that when you're a kid . . . probably). After the minute passed, the fist-clencher was advised to AsSlowlyAsPossibleOpenYourFingers! and then the other kid would pinch each of the clencher's fingertips, finally pinching a little skin in the center of the former fist. It was supposed to feel like he or she was drawing a spiderweb--connected to each of your fingers--away from your palm. As a side note, if you're planning on trying it, I suggest cutting your nails first, because, um, ow.

I know me. I know I will passive-aggressively hide from something like there's no tomorrow if I'm afraid of failing at it. I know that's a bigger hurdle to my writing than anything else. It's not the many, many time-consuming needs of my small children, or my slightly taller husband. It's not a lack of knowing what should happen (trust me on this one, my characters are all about blabbing, and giving me WHAT FOR if I fail to write them the way they'd like). Okay, sometimes it's that, a little, but not often. Nope, my biggest creative juice evaporator is fear of failure.

I am a pro at failure, and I specialize in the Half Off variety. As in, I get a project halfway done, and then I'm off it. And I'm flighty like you would not believe. Just a few minutes ago I angrily whispered a four-letter word because I somehow read my eldest kid's basketball form wrong and missed the evaluations (don't worry, he'll still play) this morning. Because I am just that talented. I'm familiar enough with failure to have learned every once in a while you just have to salvage what you can and move on from there.

But what do you do when your failure becomes paralytic? When your fear makes you too scared to move? What combats the fear?

When I was about nine our pastor, a tiny German man named John Lamb who I'm pretty sure endured some rather heinous things, preached a sermon about fear. He asked the congregation, "What do you think the opposite of fear is?" As is my usual answer, I said "love". I'm big on love, if you didn't know. He said good answer, but not the one he was looking for.

The answer was, the opposite of fear is faith. Fear is the power that whispers in our ear of consequences we're not sure we can survive, while faith is the belief we can always get back up again. Faith conquers fear because it takes away fear's power to end us. Or our dreams.

My Sunday school teacher likes to quote John Ortberg when we talk about fear. Here's a Biblical fact, and even if you're more scared of Christians than you are of the bogeyman (or maybe to you we ARE the bogeyman, whichever), it's still kind of cool. There are 366 mentions of fear (and suggestions for combating it) in the Bible, one for every day of the year, and then an extra, for that really bad day . . . like when the very first Full request you ever got comes back as a No.


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