and all i want to do is live my life honestly

I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. My specialization was in Professional Writing. According to the university's website, a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list or an Academy Award for Best Screenplay could be in the future of a Professional Writing student. The Professional Writing program in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication prepares students for a variety of employment options. Along with careers as novelists and screenwriters, they may also work as publications specialists, assuming responsibility for various publications of a company or organization; as editors, reading and recommending manuscripts for a publishing house; or as columnists, writing critiques, reviews and columns.

I have always dreamed of a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. I still dream of a spot on the list. I will likely always dream of a spot on the list. But the truth is that I have been afraid to even attempt to make the dream come true. At least, I have been too afraid to truly attempt to make the dream come true.

I have purchased several books on writing the next best seller. I have also purchased books on how to get published. I've even read most of those books. But I have not had the discipline sit down daily and write the novel that might actually make it onto the list.

Fear has kept me from pursuing my dream. It is a fear of failure and of rejection. It is a fear that my professors tried to take away from us. My professors told us to expect rejection and to wait for rejection and then to use that rejection as fuel to our fire. But I have never been good with rejection, and so after college (and after I had to write for a grade and for my degree), I allowed the fear to win.

But fear is a lie. Fear is a lie because fear tells us we are not good enough. Fear tells us that someone else is better. Fear tells us that we will fail. Fear tells us that it's not even worth trying. Fear tells us that it is better to just blend in rather than stand out. And none of those things are true.

My husband and I attend Frontline Church in Oklahoma City, OK. It is a church whose mission is to Love God, Love People, and Push Back Darkness. It is a church that preaches the truth, a church that reaches out to others, and a church that does not let fear win. It is a church that loves the arts and prays for passion. It is a church that believes everyone has talents and gifts.

And it is a church that tells people to use their talents and their gifts. Every time they speak of talents and gifts, writing is listed as a talent, and every time, I feel God calling to me and asking me to push away the fear and write. Every time, I want to listen, but most of the time, I remind myself there are better writers than I and that I am busy with work and my family.

Last Sunday, our lead pastor did not speak. Instead, he asked someone else to speak. The message was powerful, honest, and inspiring. In it, the speaker said that we should always try and trust God to help us. He said that just because someone else has done something (and done it well) does not mean we should not do it as well. He used the gospel of Luke as an example as Luke was written after other gospels had been written.

Needless to say, I was convicted. I felt as though I were wasting my talents and gifts. And I hated how powerful the fear was, hated how I felt as though I were not good enough to even attempt writing. 

I'm not over the fear, yet. I'm still fighting it. And I didn't start writing again until this afternoon, until after returning from watching Dear John with a close friend of mine. It was Dear John that made me want to write, made me want to tell a compelling story of love, family, redemption, life, and everything else. 

And so I am. I am back to working on my novel, and this time, I am going to finish it.

Maybe I'll even end up on the New York Time's Best Sellers List.

(title from "days like this" by kim taylor)

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