In Others’ Words: Tug of War (Guest post)


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer & humorist

There are times I struggle with discouragement. Desiring to write a story that will speak to peoples’ hearts, I pressure myself to excel in this endeavor. Instead of achieving, however, I battle dismay. Analyzing why I am where I am, I realized something. Fear and courage both strive to be the dominant voice in my thoughts. Which one am I validating?

Fear tells me if I complete my story it won’t be one that touches peoples’ hearts.

Courage enables me to keep writing, knowing the story will need work after the first draft is completed.

Fear says, “You’ll never be good enough.”

Courage says, “With God you’re the right person to achieve these plans.”

Fear directs my eyes toward others’ accomplishments and then compares them to my weaknesses.

Courage focuses my eyes on others to encourage them, and to learn from them.

I can’t erase the lies fear whispers into my thoughts and heart. But I don’t have to listen to them.

I can move forward, thinking on the truths I know. For me, those include that God is for me. When He calls me to do something, He equips me to complete it, and walks alongside me. With Him I can step out in courage rather than fear.

In Your Words: Writers and Readers: In what situations have you chosen to listen to courage rather than fear? How have you made the choice?

My writing friend and critique partner, Jeanne Takenaka, is today’s guest blogger. Jeanne lives near the Colorado mountains with her husband and two exuberant boys. Her heart is to create stories that draw women closer to God and to those around them. Follow Jeanne on Twitter: JeanneTakenaka.

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  1. Patti Mallett
    October 3, 2012, 5:36 am   /  Reply

    Thanks for this, Jeanne. You have already touched one heart with your openness. These are struggles many of us face, but also forget that others battle the same things!!

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 7:17 am   /  Reply

      It’s so good to remember we are not alone on the writing journey and the life-journey, isn’t it Patti?

  2. October 3, 2012, 6:13 am   /  Reply

    When God closes a door, He opens another. I always look for that other door in the face of dissappointment. Great post, Jeanne!

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 7:19 am   /  Reply

      I love your thoughts, Pat. Looking for that other door. That’s a deliberate choice Good words. 🙂

  3. Beth Vogt
    October 3, 2012, 7:52 am   /  Reply

    Thanks for joining us today, Jeanne! I appreciate the insights you share — and I always love a good Mark Twain quote.

    Hhhhhmmm. Is there a “bad” Mark Twain quote?


    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 8:21 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for having me, Beth. I think I’ve loved every Mark Twain quote I’ve heard–pithy truths. 🙂

  4. October 3, 2012, 8:35 am   /  Reply

    Yay, Jeanne! Now to put posts up on your own blog…hehe. 😉

    I’m a worrier. I deal with doubt all the time. Courage reminds me that God will finish what He started in me. I have to work hard, yes, but He is ultimately in control.

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 9:48 am   /  Reply

      Love your thoughts, Lindsay. God will finsh what’s He’s started in all of us. What a great truth to hold onto. 🙂

  5. October 3, 2012, 9:16 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Jeanne, one that really speaks to me. Fear is one of my biggest foes. I battle it and its cousin, doubt, far more than I care to admit. I love the reminder that courage isn’t the opposite of fear. It’s a response to fear, one I want to embrace.

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 1:05 pm   /  Reply

      Fear and doubt often do walk together in the writing life, don’t they? I agree with you, Keli, it’s an active battle to keep them from gaining the upper hand in our thought life.

  6. Bernadette DesChamps
    October 3, 2012, 10:21 am   /  Reply

    Wow. What a timely post! I used to be defined by my fears. They were the rigid walls that kept me boxed and stole my air. Over a decade ago I spent one spring desperately searching God’s word for what He had to say about fear, courage, and trust, and in the end I decided to go all in with His promises to me. It did not mean that my knees stopped knocking or that the lies stopped coming, but it did give me a rock of truth to stand on and assurance that, when I needed Him, He would be right there lifting me up with His righteous right hand. (Is 41:10)

    I so appreciate your post today as I am embarking on another leap of faith and doing something I’ve never done before. I will be the main speaker at our women’s retreat in just 10 days from now and I am battling all the expected dragons. But God’s call is way more compelling and, despite my fears, I know that following Him is always the only – and best – choice.

    Grace to you as you pursue courage,

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 1:11 pm   /  Reply

      Bernadette, thank you for sharing how you worked through your struggle with fear. Clinging to the truths in God’s word is the absolute best way to gain the right perspective. Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorite verses too. 🙂

      I will be praying for you as you speak at the women’s retreat. God has given a message He wants YOU to share. He’ll make you able. 🙂

      • Bernadette DesChamps
        October 3, 2012, 5:22 pm   /  Reply

        Thank you, Jeanne. He is good…all the time.

  7. October 3, 2012, 10:49 am   /  Reply

    Good post, Jeanne–and your profile pic is gorgeous. I decided long ago when seeing people plowed over by fear that it was worth taking the risk, doing it afraid as Joyce Meyer says, than being immobilized and wondering what would have been possible if I had just made the effort. Fear usually yields and our muscles grow.

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 1:12 pm   /  Reply

      Oh I agree, Dee. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back at a bunch of “What if’s” and regrets. I like the idea of taking the risk “afraid.” I, too, am learning how to live that out day to day. Thanks for sharing that thought.

  8. October 3, 2012, 11:42 am   /  Reply

    Wonderful, inspiring thoughts today. Even if we doubt ourselves, we should never doubt God.

    • Jeanne
      October 3, 2012, 1:13 pm   /  Reply

      Our God is trustworthy, isn’t he? Thanks for joining in the conversation today, Holly.

  9. October 3, 2012, 4:29 pm   /  Reply

    Jeanne! How awesome to see you here. Such truth in your words. I struggle with the comparison monster on a regular (make that *daily*) basis, but I love how God continually reminds me to stay grounded in Him.

    (I love your photo, btw. Is it new?)

    • Jeanne
      October 4, 2012, 8:57 pm   /  Reply

      I loved meeting you at ACFW, Sarah! Comparison is a monster, isn’t it? I’m getting better about not doing it, but it still manages to take over my thoughts on a more regular basis than I care to admit. It sounds bad, but it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in my struggle to slay it.

      The pic is relatively new, taken this summer. 🙂

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