Whenever I start painting walls, my family and close friends all ask the same question: “What are you avoiding writing?” It’s really annoying! Especially since they’re always spot on — I paint as a form of procrastination. And everybody who knows me, knows it.
“Why,” you ask, “would a writer not want to write so badly that she would pick up a paint brush?” My obvious answer would be that writing is hard work. “And painting walls isn’t?” you wonder. Good point. So “hard work” isn’t the issue is it? The real barrier that comes between me and my writing is something else entirely. Honestly, it’s fear.
“Fear?! You’re scared to write? What could you possibly be afraid of?”
Everything. I’m afraid I won’t have something worth saying. I’m scared the publisher will reject it. I’m worried that if it gets published nobody will buy it. And much more. My fear throws up a big barrier between where I am and where I could be and the next thing you know, I’m headed for the Benjamin Moore store.
“At least your procrastination is productive!” my friend Barb comments. True, it is that. But there’s a big difference between working hard and working smart. Investing more energy in my writing and less in everything I do to avoid writing would result in greater professional productivity and perhaps take me to a whole new level that my fear is denying me access to.
This morning, before leaving for work, Gerry looked at my assembled paint supplies sitting beside the new peninsula fireplace we installed last month and asked me if I was planning to paint today. I hesitated before responding. His next question was, “So how’s that book proposal coming?”
After he left, I took my tea pot into my office and picked up my Bible. It fell open to one of my favourite passages and Jesus began to speak to my fearful heart in a voice so full of compassion and healing and hope that I almost wept.
Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us… “Connie, what about the thousands of people who have read your other books, many of whom have sent you emails telling you how God spoke to their need through your words? They are your witnesses.”
Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us… “How long are you going to let fear hang around your neck like a millstone? It’s holding you back. Lay it down.”
And run with endurance the race that lies before us… “Writing and speaking, this is your race Connie. This is My dream for your life. Don’t lose heart. You have a long road ahead but you can do it!”
Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith... “Look at Me! All you have to do is say yes to Me — the One who loves you enough to die for you and live with you! You can trust Me. Remember what I told you — you follow Me one yes at a time.”
Who for the joy that lay before Him, endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. “Sit here beside Me. Remember, you’re not running this race alone. I’m with you and you are here with Me, right next to God. Together. Forever. Let’s go.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)
One good thing about paint, it keeps.
How do you procrastinate? What keeps you from doing what you should? What helps you get going in the right direction.