What a Christian Writer Does with Self-doubt

I’m an Allume contributor, in the company of brilliant, beautiful writers. And perhaps that sets me apart in your mind, somehow better than you because I’m here. Maybe?

I have thought it before, and still do at times. I see a fellow blogger and friend get chosen for an opportunity that I would have liked, and the first thought that triggers an avalanche of negative others is, “What’s wrong with me that I wasn’t chosen? Am I not good enough?”

But what if I told you I’ve written my post 3 times? As in, I have 3 distinctly different drafts written for the one that was due today. None of them made it here. This one did.

The reason there are 3 drafts is not because I’m a terrific writer, but more like a terrified one. And it’s failure I’m afraid of. And the problem with fear is that it’s not from God.

What if I told you I feel like a tidal wave of self-doubt has overwhelmed me, and rather than be writing right now, I want to run and hide my words? Would you still think being an Allume blogger makes me better than you? Oh, I hope not, friend. I hope that you find I’m just a person like you. I’m a women who still struggles with self-doubt, comparison, distraction, and competition.

I confessed it to a friend, though it scared me to, “I have a love-hate relationship with being a contributor or guest posting because I feel pressure to please and perform. The numbers, the Facebook likes and shares, tweets and pins, they show everyone, and boast my success or shout my failure.”

It’s not because anyone else has imposed that pressure, but because I have. It’s debilitating and draining, and I know it’s prideful, wayward thinking, self-doubt and fear talking. And I can’t be passive about it.

What do I do when there are moments and months when self-doubt hovers like a heavy dark, brooding cloud over head? There are lies that incessantly seek to penetrate my mind, and beckon to be believed and acted upon to lead me to an end. To end this race I’m running. And to end writing about it.

I must look at my fear, not only as a weakness on my part, but an attack, and a very real temptation to be overthrown.  <– Tweet

While I’d like to tell you the battle is over, I cannot. But I’m going forward — courageously afraid. And this is part of what a Christian writer can do with self-doubt. I’m practicing.

  • Speak Truth: God’s word is our only offensive weapon listed in our Armor, so wield the sword of the Spirit. (Eph 6:17) Speak aloud His word because faith comes by hearing it. (Rom 10:17) And it renews our mind, as we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5) “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37)
  • Go Low: Surrender it all daily, hourly if necessary. Sometimes we really are in the midst of a spiritual attack and the devil prowls like a lion seeking whom he may devour. (1Pet 5:8) After we submit to God resist the devil because he must flee. And “…don’t try to impress others. Be humble.” (Phil 2:3) For God gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
  • Obey God: If God has called us to do something than our success is as sure as our obedience, though He measures success differently than us. I’m almost certain He’s not counting our Facebook likes, but rather lost souls that have found Him because of our courage to write His message.
  • Be You: We don’t need to try and be anyone except who God created us to be. When we do, the world misses out on the facet of God that He’s chosen us to display. We are accountable to live the life He gave us, and no one else’s.
  • Be Vulnerable: Hiding our weaknesses can isolate us, because we are afraid God or others will see them and wound or judge us by it. But we need to know we are not the only ones struggling. “Our vulnerability draws God to us. Our helplessness reveals His Presence. Our weakness makes known His strength. Our confessions prompt His grace.” — Dr. Les Parrott
  • Write Afraid: Sometimes what we fear sharing most, is what’s most important to share. “We are more naked and needy before words that we write than perhaps anywhere else. We fear this, so we avoid it. But reality is where God shows up. Reality may be painful, but if we want to meet God we have to go there.” — Dan B. Allender

Do you ever struggle with fear or the temptation to quit writing? Will you tell us how you overcome?

 

I’m trusting Him,

Michele-Lyn at A Life Surrendered

 

Michele-Lyn

Michele-Lyn Ault lives in happy chaos with her family on the outskirts of Orlando on 30 acres of Florida country. She is a wife and homeschool mama of four. Michele-Lyn pours out her heart in words, at times courageously afraid, on backlit screen and sometimes her soul bleeds a little as she writes on her blog, A Life Surrendered.

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  • http://lauriesnotions.blogspot.com/ LAURIE BYRNE

    You are not alone my friend. Self doubt has kept me silent lately. Thank you for reminding me to surround myself with His truths found in His Word!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Laurie,

      There are many things that might keep us silent, yet self-doubt should not be one of them. Let’s write courageously afraid, if we have to. If He is calling us to, He will meet us there!

  • http://www.natashametzler.com/ NATASHA METZLER

    Beautiful words, friend.

    This reminds me of my Mom. She speaks very bold words against fear. I can still remember her holding my face in her hands and saying, “God did not give you a spirit of fear, so if you are fearing, there is another spirit at work. Rebuke it.”

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Amen! Amen! Your mama speaks wisdom, truth and life! Thank you :) I thought about that verse the whole time I was writing. I need my heart and mind to agree!

  • REBECCA

    Beautiful post Michele! Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your heart with us! Hugs!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Rebecca,

      Thank you for encouraging me here, friend. :)

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ BARBIE

    Oh friend, I hear your heart this morning. I still struggle with self-doubt, wondering if my writing is really making a difference, wondering why I’m not chosen for certain things. I rest in knowing that God has chosen me! Continue to write afraid my friend. You are doing amazing!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Barbie,

      There is a price to pay and I want to know it’s worth it. I want to know it’s God who has asked me to pay it. I think I need to take extra time to seek Him so I may hear His voice. I want to rest in God, but my soul has been in an unsettled place. I’m seeking. :)

  • KATHY SCHWANKE

    Amen! My favorite verse is Galatians 2:20 ..it is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus lives in me. Then I stretch out my arms to visualize the reality (I’ve been crucified with Christ).

    AND just last night I came across this message, I think the most profound and powerful I have ever heard about overcoming the spirit of fear (by John Bevere) if anyone wants to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M883zMTD-Yo

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Kathy,

      Galatians 2:20 is one of my life verses. I pray that it be a reality in me. And thank you for sharing this message with me. I’m listening now. :) I will let you know what I glean.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      I love His definition of GRACE! Empowerment!

  • ASHLIEWRITES

    Love, love, love this! So good and so much wisdom. I needed to hear it. I feel like crying!

    I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of thoughts, and honestly just considering giving up this online thing/blogging/writing thing altogether. I’ve always tried to hold it loosely and have told God I’m willing to let it go if He should ask. I see my babies, my husband, my home, and it would be so easy to just make my world small and shut out the rest, you know? Finding time is already so hard, and I struggle with priorities. I’m realizing there is SO much fear, confusion in the mix. Fear of failure, of being disobedient, of shirking on my mom/wife duties, of mistaking the call, etc. Sometimes I just plain overthink it, probably. And you’re right, those things aren’t from God…at least, the FEARS aren’t, but lately I’m having difficulty distinguishing, if that makes sense? I see many moms doing it well and I often think it would be better to bow out quietly and just let God use them. Because maybe it’s not for me in this season? It’s hard because I have a passion for it, too. I just need to hear His voice, but so many times the fears drown it out.

    Anyway! This sounds rambly and I’m not sure it makes sense. Just praying for clarity, and this post really opened my heart in a new way for the hearing…so thank you for that! I just love your heart, friend!

    Thanks for your faithfulness to be real and write through the fears He’s using you!!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Ashlie,

      You are one of the most inspiring writers and mamas I know. And I can honestly say, I know exactly what this struggle is like. I’m smack in the middle of it, even now. But as I was reading and re-reading your comment here, I thought of something. This may be on the more practical side, but it is something that has helped me the last couple of weeks.

      Have you found out what your Myers Briggs personality type is? If you haven’t, you need to. If you have, Google it and study it again. Then let me know what you find, please. :) Try this link, if you’d like to. http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

      Love you so much!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cara.hudsoncoleman CARA HUDSON COLEMAN

    love love love! thank you for your encouragement. I’m always asking God to create in me a pure heart for the things I want to blog about.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Cara,

      Thank you, sweet friend. I’m with you sister, seeking God to shape my heart and words. Though I still fail, it’s not about my faults but His redemption in them. <3

  • http://www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com/ ELISE DALY PARKER

    Definitely sometimes hear myself saying…Who cares? Why am I spending all this time on my writing? Is it helpful/hopeful to anyone? All this work, for what? To hear myself talk? But God assures me often through a comment from a friend…Thank you so much for your post, it was just what I needed to hear. He has called me to this task. He has called me to share my story and to encourage others to share. And so I write, sometimes like you Michele-Lyn in courageous fear.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Elise,

      Yes, yes! Me too. That negative self-talk can be suffocating and times. Though we know the truth, sometimes it takes a little bit to walk and live fully what we believe. Why is that? Maybe it’s part of the transformation process, from glory to glory. <3 Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  • KATIE@OPERATIONLEAPOFFAITH

    Michele-Lyn, thank you. I think it’s wonderful to remind ourselves that we must be courageous despite our fear. To put ourselves out there even when we want to hide. I love that you were so vulnerable to us and here you are writing from a platform that we look up to. So honest and heartfelt.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Thank you! Your comment is so genuine and heartfelt. And I’m a pro-hider. God is who calls us out because He wants our light to shine to display His grace and mercy and to be carriers of His glory. No wonder the fight is on. The darker the world becomes the harder and more necessary it is for us to shine. But be real while we do. Not so easy. ;) Only by grace.

  • http://denisejhughes.com/ DENISE J. HUGHES

    The only thing that really counts is our character, as we follow the footsteps of our Lord. Whenever self-doubt creeps in, I just keep reminding myself what really counts.

    Beautiful post here, Michele. Thank you for these words.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Denise,

      I agree friend. And what really counts for me is when I stand before Him on that day, that I will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I don’t want to have any regrets here. When I wrote this I was in the middle of some intense wave of adversity against my mind and emotions. I’m seeing a bit clear and my footing is more steady. God is faithful. So very faithful. Thank you for your sweet visit, Denise. :)

  • http://www.the-cadence.com/ AMANDA

    I know I am late, but I just wanted to say how much I needed to hear this Michelle-Lyn. Thank you. Thank you for being honest and vulnerable. I needed to hear it as a blogger and I needed to hear it as a woman of God. The enemy has brought an onslaught of fear and confusion these past months and God has been lovingly showing me how afraid I am of failure. A few months back I stepped out in faith and out of my comfort zone and did a series and a facebook group with it. While in some ways it was amazing and God totally moved, the enemy so brought an onslaught of attack. So in some ways, it fell flat. And I totally felt like a failure. And I totally didn’t ever want to experience that again. So I’ve hid. No more! Dusting myself off, holding these words close, and bravely following Jesus no matter how afraid I might feel. Thank you Michelle-Lyn!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Amanda,

      An “onslaught of fear and confusion.” I know. I just know what that’s like. All of it. I’ve not yet arrived, but I am on my way. I am learning it’s a daily surrender, it’s a daily walk, it’s a daily fight. The enemy of our souls is not going to relent, and we cannot either. Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb and I want to know Him as both. There is a time to rest and there is a time to fight. And sometimes I think we forget that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, even with ourselves. I am so glad you are dusting yourself off and going forward, brave. Jesus waits patiently for us, doesn’t He? And then walks with us. Thank you for sharing your story. You ARE brave! And God is faithful. :)

  • ALISON

    The enemy really is attempting to do a number on so many of us. I, too, have gone through a season in which I just felt like shutting down the blog and retreating to a corner. I went under the radar during Lent, barely surfacing on social media and keeping the blogging to a minimum. God really did something in those few weeks to get me to let go of my own expectations and fears and to just let the blog, as well as myself, rest in His hands. I have a great deal more peace about the process, but it’s a work in progress! Thanks for sharing your experience and feelings on this very timely issue, Michele-Lyn!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Alison,

      I think you are right about the battle and the attack being widespread. I literally felt like I was drowning when I wrote this post. I could barely see beyond the blur of tears. And I just wasn’t sure I could make the deadline. Our editor is so full of grace and her heart is to cultivate community here, so I was late, but she made room for me. :)

      I love what you say about letting go of your own expectations and fears! I need to do that daily, and cling to what God says about all this. Thank you for sharing your heart and story with us. :)

  • RUTH ROUCHARD

    I’d rather be a little afraid and require courage than to be an over confident fool. It’s ok to a little scared. Pride always precedes a fall. Good words friend. I am revisiting my old blog soon.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

      Ruth,

      If you revisit your blog and begin to write, please share it with me. You have so much wisdom and knowledge stored up in your heart. You draw from a deep well. If you let it pour and let others drink, I know you would refresh and bring life to so many!