Faith vs. Fear

First a quote from Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

I’ve had a book on my heart for over a decade. I’ve tried to write it again and again, yet I’ve always given up. A few months ago, I began again. This time it felt different. This time I could feel the stars align. I could feel the Lord guiding the structure, format, and flow. This past week as I attempted to write Chapter 1, I would pray before I wrote each day, pleading with the Lord to guide me and speak His words through my pen. It was miraculous. I started making gigantic leaps of progress, and writing swiftly and with great purpose. After each writing session, it was like the Lord would turn off the light switch. It felt complete and I felt satisfied.

After several days of writing like this, however, I hit a roadblock. Lots of roadblocks. And I started worrying incessantly about all kinds of things from publishing to market research to book structure. And then I started doubting everything–the format of the book, the choice of stories, why I was even writing in the first place, and most especially, my abilities as a writer. I felt like it was all crumbling beneath my feet and I didn’t know how to keep going. AND YET, I also knew I couldn’t give up. I know that breakdowns can often lead to breakthroughs and that so many people give up right when they are on the verge of success. So I sobbed and explained everything to my husband on the phone during his lunch break and asked him what I should do. His reply was a very calm, “I know how to fix your problem, but I’m not sure you’ll like what I have to say.” He went on to remind me that this book was a calling from God. He reminded me of how I had been on Cloud 9 as I daily let the Lord guide the book writing process. But the progress only halted when I looked away from Him and started worrying about publishers and the market. He reminded me that I am not writing this book to please publishers, I am writing this book as my gift to God.

And with his wise words, the dark cloud that had hovered around me was whisked away. I felt peace even though I didn’t know how to go forward. I felt completely derailed, but I knew the Lord could help me get back on track if I looked back to Him. Like Peter sinking in the water when he removed his eyes from Jesus Christ, I knew that I had done the same. So even despite all the uncertainty looming before me, I got back up on the proverbial horse and wrote anyway. And guess what?

The light switch turned back on.

I know this is not the end of the opposition. There will be many more struggles ahead, but I also know that the Lord will help me through each and every one if I keep my gaze riveted on Him. We show forth our faith in whatever righteous endeavor when we take action. My wise father and I were talking on the phone today and he explained faith so well. He said that we all fear. Fear is a natural response for living in mortality. And no matter how we may try, we can’t necessarily whisk away our fear forever. No matter how much faith we have, fear continues its incessant knocking on the doors of our minds and hearts. The only way to defeat fear is to let our faith win–by getting up and continuing to live. We push aside our fears again and again, and go forward anyway, despite our fears. His words rang true to me. Perhaps, they will for you too.

My hope for you is that in whatever dream or calling from the Lord you are pursuing, you will take these words to heart and persevere. Opposition only comes when we are making a difference and doing something good. So persist. Look to the Lord and He will guide you. And like Nephi’s ship of old, your work will not be built after the manner of the world, but after the manner of God.

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