This week, I was surprised and excited to learn I am a finalist in the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) First Impressions contest. For me, writing fiction is like writing with my non-dominant hand, or perhaps the non-dominant side of my brain is more accurate. I think and write nonfiction, which is my “native tongue,” so attempting fiction is definitely a step out of my comfort zone. Why am I pushing beyond what comes naturally for me?
Following are some reasons to risk stepping out of your comfort zone:
Learning Fuels Forward Motion
When we cease learning, we stop growing. Learning should be a lifelong endeavor, fueled by curiosity that in turn sparks creativity. We have more opportunities than ever to learn in this age of online information and training. Don’t allow yourself to drift, to settle for mind-numbing pursuits that add nothing to your knowledge. Follow your interests and challenge yourself beyond what is easy.
Something New Challenges
I have been singing in my church choir since I was seventeen, but this year’s Christmas music challenged me beyond my comfort zone. At one point, I thought about not making the commitment to sing in the presentation. I came up with lots of reasons (read excuses here) why I didn’t have the necessary time or skill. But then, an internal voice told me to push beyond, to risk, to work hard, and put perfectionism aside.
As weeks went by, I became more confident and began to enjoy the challenge of mastering complicated rhythms and note progressions. The challenge inspired me to keep learning the new music.
When we work toward mastering that which initially seems impossible, the sense of accomplishment is the reward for tackling the challenge.
I have been dabbling with writing fiction for over 20 years, but I find it difficult. I’ve read countless books and attended classes, but what finally pushed me to move forward was a yearlong mastermind group. Those teaching and critiquing encouraged and supported me. They were kind to this nonfiction writer, yet challenged me to attempt more than I felt capable of. Their affirmation, and that of making the finals in the contest, encourages me to continue writing fiction.
We all need affirmation. Life is hard and we all struggle with challenges unique to us. Is there someone you can affirm today?
We are Created for More
Often, we handicap ourselves by allowing fear, uncertainty, and comparisons to prevent us from stepping out in faith and attempting that which seems beyond our capabilities. We forget that God is the One who empowers, inspires, motivates, and works in ways we cannot see.
What are you hesitant to attempt? Have you backburnered a dream too long because fear of failure holds you captive? Has comparing your abilities to that of others stopped you? Are you fearful of criticism?
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. God is your source and greatest resource. Tap into his power and step forward, beyond what is comfortable, with confidence.
“Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).
Often, we handicap ourselves by allowing fear, uncertainty, and comparisons to prevent us from stepping out in faith and attempting that which seems beyond our capabilities.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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