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Just Do It: Silencing the Voice of Fear to Follow God’s Call

Jerusha Agen Fighting Fear 30 Comments

Jerusha: I’m delighted to introduce you to author and musician, Amanda Wen! Please join me in giving her a big Fear Warrior community welcome!

By Amanda Wen

child-at-airport (491x800)Hello, everyone! It’s an honor to be here today at the Fear Warrior Blog! Battling fear is a personal passion of mine, and has been a lifelong struggle. I pray my experience can bless you on your journey in some small way.

A little over three years ago, my husband’s younger brother got married. While this was of course wonderful, it required me to do the single most terrifying thing I had ever done: fly to New York City with my five-year-old, my three-year-old, and my fifteen-month-old.

I’ll pause to let you consider the ramifications of that.

To make a very long story very short, we all survived, and even, dare I say, had a wonderful time. This led me to a resolution: if the only reason I had for not doing something was that I was scared to do it, I would go ahead and do it anyway.

One of the areas of my life this resolution impacted was my writing, though there was no way I could have foreseen it. When we went to New York in 2014, I’d been writing off and on for several years, mostly for fun. Very few people had seen any of my work, and I had no particular plans to change that.

Two years later, however, in the fall of 2016, I had a nearly-finished novel of which I was pretty proud. My two critique partners agreed wholeheartedly.

“You need to start entering some contests,” said one. “You need to hear you’re good from someone other than me.”

The other one concurred. “Look here,” she said, pointing out the ACFW First Impressions Contest. “It’s only five pages. You can do that, right?”

Haaaaaaa.

Fear and I had quite the battle for a few days. You can’t do this, said Fear. You can’t put your work Out There for Other People to see. What if they hate it? What if they tell you you’re wasting your time as a writer? What if you suffer Career Disappointment? You’ve already been through that once, and you can’t afford to go through it again. Nope. Best keep writing for just yourself.

But I knew my book. I knew Who had given me the ideas for it. The themes of healing, redemption, and—yes—overcoming fear that lay within its pages. I knew the One who had given it to me meant for it to be shared.

So I looked again at that contest. I studied the guidelines and followed them to the letter. I tweaked my first five pages, impulsively cutting about three paragraphs so my entry would end with what I was pretty sure was an awesome cliffhanger, and sent it off.

woman-writing-with-pen (800x533)Then I promptly tried very, very hard to forget that I had done any of that. I was a musician, after all. That’s what my college degrees are in. That’s where my career emphasis was to be. This writing thing? Just a hobby. A distraction from my Real Calling. So the contest didn’t really matter. Not at all. That’s what I tried to convince myself.

I almost succeeded.

Then one day, about a month later, the phone rang. I didn’t pick it up, because I was pretty sure that not-in-Kansas-anymore area code and the unrecognized number belonged to a telemarketer.

Surprisingly, the caller left a message, so I listened to it, and then promptly dropped the phone into the bathroom sink.

It was from the category coordinator of the First Impressions Contest. I was a finalist.

A month later, I got another stunning phone call. One that told me I’d won.

I hadn’t realized how badly I needed some validation, some confirmation from God that writing was indeed something He had for me, until I received it. But here it was. A contest win.

obey-my-voice-graphic(resize50percentJPG)As if that weren’t enough, I got my score sheets back from the judges a few days later. The comments were overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, and one judge in particular gave very high praise. Although contest judges typically remain anonymous, this judge left her name.

She was a literary agent. One of the top agents in my genre.

And she’d invited me to send her my manuscript.

To shorten another lengthy story, that agent is now my agent. All because I kicked Fear to the curb and listened to a different Voice. It wasn’t as loud. It was nowhere near as shrill. Sometimes I had to strain to hear it. But that still, small Voice was one I knew. And one I am so glad I obeyed.

Overcoming fear can be a long battle. Sometimes—many times—we will still feel afraid. But Scripture calls us to fight that fear, and reassures us that we will not fight it alone. God is always with us, and He will give us what we need to accomplish what He has called us to do.

And sometimes what He is calling us to do is take the next step in obedience. Even if it’s scary, even if it makes us uncomfortable, sometimes we must, as the old shoe commercial says, Just Do It.

Is there something you feel God is calling you to do? Something that may utterly terrify you? Leave a comment; I’d love to pray for you!

 


AmandaWen

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. A first place winner in the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Great Beginnings Contest and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest.

Professional affiliations include the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA).

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets.

Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Visit Amanda at her website and connect with her on Facebook (personal page or author page)  and Twitter.

Comments 30

  1. Emily Conrad

    This fits very well with what I was reading in my Bible this morning: for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). Congrats on the contest and agent! It’s encouraging to read success stories!

    1. Amanda

      Thanks, Emily! The whole thing still seems a little surreal. And that verse just keeps popping up in my life! I’ve been challenged recently to evaluate the thoughts that pop into my head (taking every thought captive, in other words 🙂 ) and determine their source. If the thought creates needless anxiety about something over which I have zero control (which, to be honest, it often does), I know it’s not from God, and I ask His help in kicking it out of there. Thank you for the reminder!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I love that verse, Emily! Such a great fear-fighting verse, as well as a reminder of the hand-in-glove relationship between power, love, self-control and fearlessness. (Can you tell I read your Tuesday blog post?) Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Sherrinda

    Yesssss! Two years ago my word for the year was brave. It was one of the most exciting years ever as I stepped out of my comfort zone in so many areas, believing God would be by my side come what may. Yay for YOU in stepping out and into what God has for you. He has big plans for you!

    1. Amanda

      Thank you, and He’s got big plans for you, too! I’ve never done a “word for the year” thing, but it seems like a really good idea. Maybe I’ll see about coming up with one for 2018…

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      Jerusha Agen

      Sherrinda, good for you for following through on the call to be brave by stepping out of your comfort zone! That is SO hard to do. Praise the Lord that He gave you the courage to do that. Thanks for joining the conversation!

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  3. Anne Carol

    Love this! So inspiring. I feel like I’m just entering the arena of facing my fears of rejection. This article reminded me it’s all in God’s hands, and if He wants me to move forward to do His work, I need to take that brave step. Thank you for sharing your story. And congrats on the awards!

    1. Amanda

      Thank you! It was tough, I won’t lie. Fear of rejection is powerful. As a musician, I’d experienced my share of it, and in some ways that prepared me for writing rejection (I’d been through it before and knew I could survive it) and in some ways it made me even more reluctant to risk it (I knew exactly what rejection felt like and had no desire to do it again).

      I did query several agents, and all but one said no. God helped me see those rejections as His direction rather than anything to do with me or my writing. He knew every single one of those agents far better than I did, and He knows what my career is going to look like. It is much easier for me to trust Him when I KNOW I don’t have all the answers. So yeah, those rejections stung a little, but the sting was softened by knowing that God wasn’t going to let me wind up with an agent that wasn’t the one He’d planned for me all along. Hope that helps!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Amen, Amanda, on your response here! Anne, it seems like many people I know are facing possible or actual rejections right now, so this topic has been on my mind a lot. For more help on the fear of rejection, check out last week’s post here at the Fear Warrior Blog and/or Emily Conrad’s blog post with 30 helpful reminders for facing rejection (https://emilyconradauthor.blogspot.com/2017/09/30-reminders-for-facing-rejection.html). Amanda is so right, any rejection you face is God’s way of guiding you the way you should go–the way that’s best in the end, no matter how much it might sting in the moment. Thanks for joining the conversation, Anne!

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      1. Amanda

        Absolutely! It’s been a joy being on here today! Thanks so much for allowing me to contribute to such an awesome ministry! I would love to write for you again anytime.

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  4. Pamela Plumley

    I’m stunned. This is exactly my fear. I’ve a recent degree in graphic design. Family expects me to do that, money is needed, so I understand. Writing doesn’t pay bills.
    However, I’ve felt many times I’m to write an autobiography of encouragement/faith.
    My Pastor and friends have confirmed my ability, (through God), but I face THAT fear you spoke of. I’ve always loved writing, studied it from the age of 15. Writing clubs, conferences, retreats.
    I’m kicking myself for throwing things away that would have helped remember some past, but I’ve been told God will bring to remembrance what is important. I believe that.
    Years ago, I, the lifelong Christian, married a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood. He was shot in prison (just after I began writing him). It was in the news. I still have an interview from a DEA officer assigned his case. I thought that was my story, then. No. That was just a small part of my life. The enemy has fought hard all my life and I have used these incidents to encourage others on social media.
    I hope to combine my poetry throughout the years. Use them as chapter heads, describe an incident from my past, in that past voice as I thought then, even from childhood, and follow up the chapter with current voice/lessons learned.
    That fear (the enemy) tries to tell me I cannot do this.
    Articles like this tell me I CAN and I can defeat the fear and confirm that I know whose voice I’ve heard, and to stay focused on HIS voice!
    Thank you!

    1. Amanda

      Wow, thank YOU for sharing! I’m humbled that my words can assist you in your battle against fear! From what you’ve told me, you absolutely have a story to tell, and you have an enemy who’s trying all he can to keep you from telling it! I will definitely pray for you to find the courage to share your words!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Oh, yes, Pamela! Through the power of Christ, you CAN and WILL defeat any fear that stands in your way of God’s call on your life. If He has called you, He will equip you and prepare the way. Doesn’t mean it will be easy or even that it won’t be scary. But He will give you all you need, including the courage and peace, to complete any task He calls you to do. I just said a prayer for you that He will give you the courage to complete the work He’s called you to do. Thank you so much for sharing your story and struggle, Pamela. We will win this battle against fear together!

  5. Marjorie

    Thank you for sharing your story, Amanda! Very inspiring! I really like what you just said to Emily about determining where a thought comes from – such as one creating needless anxiety over which we have zero control and then asking for God’s help to kick it out of there. That was a good reminder to me because I have spent so much time in needless anxiety. I know that those thoughts are sinful because they show a lack of trust in God. I pray that we all can instantly recognize those thoughts and ask God’s help immediately.

    1. Amanda

      Thank you for the encouragement! This time last year I had a minor health scare and anxiety robbed me of a lot of joy, directing me instead to consult Dr. Google every other minute and risk actual health problems instead of possible/imagined ones! Fortunately I got a clean bill of health, but the experience taught me that I really do have to think about what I’m thinking about!

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      Jerusha Agen

      I can relate, Marjorie! I’ve wasted so much time and done myself harm by allowing needless anxiety to take hold of my heart and mind. I appreciate your prayer! We need to work on recognizing our own anxieties as needless, harmful, and sinful and go to God for help when they appear. Thanks for this great reminder to do that!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Wow, really? How neat for the post to find you (and others) that way! I love that Amanda’s guest post can encourage more people through an extended readership. Thanks for sharing that, Patricia!

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