Fear is a powerful force. You only have to look through the annals of history to find example on example of how fear can drive people to desperate measures. It can also inspire otherwise sane and normal people to do some crazy things. I know, because I am one of those aforementioned otherwise sane and normal people. (Sane and normal may be pushing it a little, but hear me out.)
I consider it a relatively harmless form of OCD when I have to drive back by my house in the morning after I drop my daughter off at school because I am afraid that I left the garage door up. (That drive-by happens more times than I care to mention, and all because one day I did leave the garage door up all day.) I hold my daughter’s hand when we cross a parking lot because I’m afraid she could get hit by a car. I wash my hands whenever I’ve touched shopping carts and bathroom doors in public places because I’m afraid of getting some infectious disease. That’s not the kind of fear I’m talking about.
I mean the fear that robs me of blessings. The fear that keeps me quiet when I should be speaking up. The fear that tells me not to pick up the phone and call that person who just crossed my mind. The fear that reminds me of all the times I’ve reached out and been rejected. The fear that says I shouldn’t bother writing because no one really cares what I have to say.
It’s vicious, the voice that whispers in my ear sometimes. Don’t write about that – people will think you’re judgmental. Look at your stats – no one reads your blog. Why bother? Why go through all this effort for nothing? It’s that fear – the fear that all of this is pointless and that I’m destined to fail – that makes me want to curl up in a ball and disappear. What if I write my heart out, pour out my bare-souled self on these pages, and no one notices? More than that, what if people DO read it and decide that I’m untalented, delusional and unworthy, and they turn away? What if I toil away for years and never get any better at this than I am right now?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and maybe if I repeat it enough times I’ll finally absorb it: I believe that my job is to write out of obedience to what I feel God has called me to do. My job is to write, and I’m to leave the rest of it – the results – to Him. I don’t believe I’m meant to spend my time perusing my stats and trying to plot ways to make my numbers “better”. I don’t really think blogging success is measured by the number of followers I have or viral posts I’ve launched. And yet there’s a nagging feeling that if I don’t reach a certain size audience I must be a failure, and such an attitude will sink my writing ship faster than the iceberg sank the Titanic.