For this month’s Sunday| Mag articles, we asked some of our favorite writers this one question: What’s one thing you’ve been learning all year long that you’d like to share with Sunday| Mag’s readers? In this article, Stephen Brewster talks about fear and playing it safe—the main thing that keeps us from reaching toward creative greatness.
I want to be courageous and create amazing stuff. But if I’m being completely transparent, there is one thing that stops me from going the last 10%. It is fear.
Fear sucks. I hate the idea that this emotion is strong enough to keep me from all God has planned and designed for me…but I let it win far too often. The biggest lesson I am learning right now is how much God is cheering for me and wants me to be strong and courageous.
Honestly, I carry some baggage when it comes to the whole “God spoke to me” thing. It’s not that I don’t believe it happens, but the truth is that I don’t think it happens to me. That was until a warm summer’s night at our last staff retreat. Our pastor stood up and said he had written us each a note and as he wrote these notes he was praying about what God would want to say to us. When I opened the note, it was shocking to me how personal the message was and how directly it spoke to me. Included in the note was a scripture verse.
Joshua 1:9 says: “I command you, be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid; do not be discouraged, for I am with you wherever you go.”
I believe that God wants for you the same thing He wants for me, and that is for us to be strong, to be courageous, and to not be afraid. Not only does God want this for us, but also if we believe this verse to be true, He actually commands us to be courageous and to not be afraid. Yet every day I wake up and wonder if the whispers in my mind are true, if the voices that I hear are actually right. I question if this is all going to work, if my ideas are good enough, or if the art we create is strong enough to make a difference. As a side note, those whispers are whispers because they are lies. Lies have to be whispered because they are not true. The truth can be spoken loudly and with confidence.
I absolutely love this quote from Nelson Mandela:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Are you ready to be a brave man or woman? No matter who you are, the truth is we all could use a little more courage. Wherever we are in life and whatever we are facing, a touch more courage could go a long way in making our God-given dreams turn into realities—not just for us but also for those who will experience life change because we were brave enough to chase, live, and create those dreams.
No one wakes up and says: “Today, I am going to be a coward. Playing it safe is why I have fought my entire life to be an artist.” But do we really live like that?
So today I am making a commitment. I am committing to accept that God’s words in Joshua 1:9 are written not just for me but also for all of us who create. I am committing to face fear and conquer it so that I can live the life God intended. I am committing to embrace strength and courage, to choose faith over fear, and to trust and rest in the fact that God is with me wherever I go. I am committing to believing that if He is with me, everything is going to be okay.
Are you willing to join me in making this commitment? Are you with me? Because fear might be strong enough to beat one of us, but there is no way it can beat all of us if we stay together!