A Manifesto of Fear
I ask myself this a lot lately. For some time now, I’ve been wanting to expand this little blog from my photography and travel adventures to include my thoughts, frustrations, struggles, and observations.
I began to jot down ideas throughout the day. It was going well. I had a small but growing list. But I wouldn’t expand any one idea very far – in my head, not yet having even cracked my laptop – before being bombarded with limiting thoughts. They were all different forms of “no”. Different ways of saying “you can’t because”.
Different manifestations of fear.
I’ve outlined them below:
1) But I am a perfectionist and the first post isn’t going to be perfect.
But will any post ever be “perfect”? Also, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
2) But I need validation from somebody that I can do this. I need a degree, credentials, a list of relevant accomplishments.
GENEVA, THIS IS GOD SPEAKING. YOU CAN DO THIS. You should only care about what I think of you, anyway.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. (James 4:12)
3) But my blog has been EXCLUSIVELY a photography blog, so whatever I begin writing about now is going to be THE ONLY THING I AM ALLOWED TO WRITE ABOUT FOREVER AND EVER.
I don’t know yet what path this blog is going to take and that is OK. Everything has to begin somewhere. I am putting trust in the process and trusting my intuition to write about what I feel is important.
4) But at some point people will become offended or think I am insane and I will lose friends. Maybe even my bestest friends.
In all reality, that probably will happen. And, who said controversy was a bad thing? If I lose friends over a blog post, they weren’t really my friends anyway.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch
5) But I’m afraid of exposing sides of myself that a lot of people haven’t seen.
As in, being a multidimensional person like we are in real life?
6) But what if someone already wrote about this topic? What if I accidentally steal someone’s content?
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” (stolen from Pablo Picasso and Austin Kleon)
7) But what if nobody reads my blog? What if it’s boring and lame?
Who am I doing this for? Am I writing for an audience or am I writing for me? I don’t really know yet, but it’s where my heart is leading me. If somebody reads it. cool. If it somehow helps someone, even better. I can’t yet see how all of the dots of my life connect and, I hope that blogging helps me to discover that.
8) But my mom is going to read this and think WHO IS THIS PERSON AND WHAT DID SHE DO WITH MY DAUGHTER?
My mom loves me no matter what.
This list of protests all scream the same thing:
I AM AFRAID.
I am afraid of judgment.
I am afraid of not being perfect.
I am afraid of not feeling enough.
I am afraid of not having anything new to say.
I am afraid of being boring.
I am afraid of being my authentic self.
My favorite way to begin the day is with SheReadsTruth and a huge dose of coffee. Last week, I opened my Bible and read this verse:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
fear. [feer] /fɪər/ 1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Fear is an emotional response to a legitimate threat, like if you were about to be attached by a bear. This kind of fear is healthy. It is meant to protect us and keep us alive.
The kind of fear Scriptures are referring to is the fear we have when we AREN’T in any imminent danger.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of failure.
These are the fears we experience on a day-to-day basis. They are from imagined threats. So these are actually anxieties, which the Scriptures assure us are NOT from God. God is love, and there is no room for fear in love (1 John 4:18).
A wise friend of mine believes that the most important thing we can do on this earth is to become comfortable living as our authentic selves. The courageous act of being vulnerable has never felt more powerful. It is SO easy for us to compartmentalize our lives – until we find ourselves holding a microphone in a room called the Internet with everyone we know and a bunch more that we don’t. It’s scary to put your content (thoughts) out there, to have a voice, where you are almost certain to offend someone.
The opposite of creation is consumption. Consumption is free of risk. Creating requires risk.
We all struggle with fears that limit our potential to create. I wonder how different the world would be if we stepped into our biggest fears and began to create despite them. Maybe that means beginning the book or blog you’ve been meaning to write. Taking the plunge to transform your side gig into a full-time business. Finally embarking on the backpacking trip to Europe you have always dreamed of.
So, what are you afraid of?
What self-limitations, self-judgments, and fears are holding you back from stepping into your deepest desires?
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?