What Scares You? (feel the fear, do it anyway)


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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin

In the series mentioned in my last blog post, Finish Your Book in 2016, Jerry B. Jenkins said, “List your fears so you can move on.”

I’m fortunate that blogging is part of my moving on. Even when I’m writing about fear, I am getting my own life. That is, until I start throwing up scary roadblocks.

I’m afraid I may share too much and embarrass others and myself.

I’m afraid my blog posts will sound like I’m whining instead of sharing wisdom. I’m anxious that getting my own life will be interpreted as selfish instead of self-care. Anxious that sorrow will be misconstrued as self-pity and telling my story will sound melodramatic.

I’m afraid I’ll sound human instead of holy, which means my writing may fall short of helping you find the real source of comfort, which is God. However, I can’t help that I hear and share God most often by way of quotes, songs, and movies instead of religious writing. When Christian magazines published my articles, I was baffled until a fellow writer explained, “You don’t write Christianese (clichéd Christian terms, catchphrases and theological jargon), which is good because Christian publishers don’t want it.” I hope you don’t either.

I’m afraid in the throes of marital disagreements, I won’t be able to write. I can tell our stories when we’re in a good place, but I shut down when we’re arguing. When I’m hurting, I hide.

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I’m afraid people won’t like, agree with, or understand what and why I’m writing. In fact, I know some won’t. When I wrote about not wanting a granddaughter (Girls Aren’t Safe Here (the post I was afraid to write about the granddaughter I was afraid to have)), I received a comment within 30 minutes of hitting the publish button. The reader let me know she felt sorry for my daughter and granddaughter, that I should be ashamed of myself, and then ended with something like, “If you have time to write about your broken family, you have time to fix it.”

I’m afraid of having no readers. I am afraid of becoming popular. I’m afraid of not living up to expectations, not following through with commitments, and looking foolish. I’m afraid of reeling from people’s anger and judgment.

Even with my long list of fears and a few experiences that prove writing isn’t 100 percent safe, I told a friend, “I have to write because it’s too painful not to.”

What fears keep you from getting on with your life?

In This Together,

Thank you to my talented friend and photographer, Joel Carter, for permission to use his pictures on my blog. The contrast of open flowers and a haunted house seemed fitting for this post. Joel’s also been a big supporter since my blog’s inception.


17 responses »

  1. Kim, You put into words what many of us feel about life on a daily basis. We may not fear the same things you fear, but life is full of what ifs and maybe i should not. Keep writing to us and the naysayers just do not have to read it!

  2. You are so brave and fearless in your writing about fear and life. Congratulations. Happy you were able to use some photos. Thank you for the mention

  3. We’re all afraid of something. As a painter I worry that people won’t like my work and won’t want to hang it in their homes. I worry that other artists will think my work is childish and might laugh at my attempts. But I continue to paint and draw and work on my skills – because it’s what I do and who I am. Learning to “BE” is hard, but important. Thanks Kim for getting the conversation going.

    • Niki, I appreciate your honesty more than you know. It’s funny how I can convince myself that it’s easy for everyone else to be creative. In reality, most of us are struggling. I’m recognizing this more and more, so I’m more comfortable sharing my own struggles.

      I meant to include this in the post, but it didn’t really fit. I heard Rocky Fretz play a benefit concert a few weeks ago. He shared how he used to play the piano in a dark corner at Howard Johnson’s. He talked about how hard it was to muster the courage to play one of his songs a night for fear customers wouldn’t like it. Hard to believe since he’s such an accomplished pianist. ❤

  4. Kim, I share many of your fears and have other fears in addition. Most of us put on a mask in the hope that people will want us, like us and not be angry with us. At some point, though, the real person is revealed and it’s actually a relief. It’s exhausting to pretend we’re holy, fearless, perfect. For years I was afraid to play the organ publicly because I knew I wasn’t perfect and was afraid people would laugh and wonder what I was doing sitting on that bench. Please keep writing despite the fear! Your cheerleaders far outnumber the naysayers.

    • It is a relief, Mary! I can finally breathe. The mask part reminds me of a dream a friend shared. She said she dreamed I had on a mask and it really bothered her. That made such an impact even though I felt incapable of changing at the time. I thought it was very brave of her to tell me. We’re still friends and she now says she loves that I’m honest. Wonder if she remembers the dream as vividly as I remember her telling me about it. Thanks for being one of my loudest (in a good way) cheerleaders! ❤

  5. From Facebook ~

    Christy Young and Eileen White Cyrus like this.

    Kim Henson Awww, Katrina D Owen. Thanks so much. I love having you as a friend and a reader. heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 10 hrs

  6. From Facebook ~

    Mary McKerihan Wilson, Wanda Doyal, Joel Carter and 8 others like this.

    Summer Turner Your honesty connects with a deep and real part of me. It’s probably a universal human thing. Some people might feel to uncomfortable being in that place, so they’d try to shut you down. Keep being real and having compassion for those you scare.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 12:00pm

    Kim Henson Oh, wow, Summer Turner. I love “Keep being real and having compassion for those you scare.” heart emoticon That’s really beautiful and thoughtful and thought-provoking. I probably scare myself more than I scare anyone else. I’ve been in that shut down place … can’t afford to go back there.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs · Edited

    Summer Turner Kim Henson, actually you’re not responsible for their reaction. Their fear is about them. So maybe I shouldn’t have said that you are scaring them. The main thing is having compassion for them because they’re too scared to look in the places where you’re shining a light.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson Summer Turner, that’s the way I read it. I knew what you meant. smile emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Kim Henson
    Write a reply…

    Christy Young You are so real Kim, and that is what makes you such a great person and writer. Very relatable message!!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Christy Young. Our special group helps me feel safe enough to share. I know I can run back to y’all if I feel like I’m five. We’ll put on squirrel earrings and take pic. smile emoticon Love you! heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs · Edited

    Christy Young Always friend, always! I feel the same way! Love you back! heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Kim Henson

    Ruby Sessions Hart The older I get, I am letting go of a lot of fears and just going for it. Fearlessly trying to accomplish all the things I haven’t yet.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson I’m trying to do that same thing, Ruby Sessions Hart. You, your bike, and your flippers are inspirations. grin emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs

    Ruby Sessions Hart Thank you! I aim to inspire.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson Ruby Sessions Hart, the flippers REALLY did it!
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Ruby Sessions Hart Ha ha! The flippers are lots of fun! I can swim much faster.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Gail Altman Ruby Sessions Hart. My maiden name is Sessions. Are you related to Elwood Sessions? He died in the 70s.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 53 mins

    Kim Henson Ruby Sessions Hart, did you see this comment? Hi, Gail Altman. smile emoticon
    Like · Reply · Just now · Edited

    Pia Savage I have massive problems commenting on wp(dot)com. Anyway, you can never come across as whiney. It gets easier to share without oversharing with practice. Lots of practice. Then somedays–like today–watching the raining is absolutely fascinating.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Pia Savage, you write like I want to, so practice, practice, practice it is. like emoticon I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about you saying “I’d like to hear you unchained.” One of these days …

    Thanks for your encouragement, as always. heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs

    Pia Savage Kim wow. I was feeling very down and…wow….Thank you! Today’s one of those days I’m not sure I can write but you might have just changed my direction to a way more positive one!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 57 mins

    Kim Henson Pia Savage, I just responded to your private message. You need to write for me and for others. Who am I going to follow if you don’t? I mean that.
    Like · Reply · 3 mins
    Kim Henson

    Barbara Hilgeman I understand, I so understand! Thank you.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 4 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks for reading and commenting, Barbara Hilgeman. heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Mary McKerihan Wilson Kim, this whole series of blogs just blows me away. I agree with Summer about the connection. Also left a comment at your blog site.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson Thanks, Mary McKerihan Wilson. Your comment means a lot coming from someone whose writing I admire. Your comment on my blog inspired one of my next posts. I’m excited and humbled that it’s working to be “in this together.” heart emoticon Connect (connection) = our word for WIN.
    Like · Reply · 19 mins

  7. You are real. I realized several years ago I was craving real. Not picture perfect, all cleaned up & glossed over life. Life is messy. It’s full of ugly cries, temper tantrums, bad decisions & worse actions. For a Christian is is also full of grace, mercy, forgiveness and never ending love.
    I know this is hard and oh so scary! You are putting your heart & soul on view to the public. But we need real. We need messy. We need brave souls who are willing to share what this looks like. I get so tired of hearing the stories after everything is said and done and the messy & ugly parts have faded. I need to see what this looks & feels like in the process. To know that I am not alone and someone else is ploughing through the messy, ugly parts with me. It makes the celebrations and joy so much more meaningfull when you know someone else really gets it. You get it & I am so happy to slog through it all with you and celebrate the beautiful moments together.

    • This is the part I’m most of afraid of, “I get so tired of hearing the stories after everything is said and done and the messy & ugly parts have faded. I need to see what this looks & feels like in the process.”

      I was talking to a friend years ago and for the millionth time, I said, “I used to …,” not “I’m going through this now.” I only shared what I had already cleaned up. She said, “Do you have anything going on right now or is everything in the past.” She recognized it in me because she did the same thing, so we couldn’t really help each other. She also wasn’t safe to share with, so there was no way I was opening up to her.

      I’m grateful to know what does help now and I’m praying for the courage to keep the conversation open. Thanks for your help. This is a beautiful comment. ❤

  8. From Facebook ~

    Katrina D Owen
    February 4 at 12:49pm ·
    I love reading Kim Henson blogs

    Christy Young and Eileen White Cyrus like this.

    Kim Henson Awww, Katrina D Owen. Thanks so much. I love having you as a friend and a reader. heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · February 5 at 1:50am

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