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Just Do It Scared

Just Do It Scared

| Katherine Teague

I think most of us are willing for change when we see something that we know deep down would be valuable to our lives—but unless you’re a real go-getter (which sometimes I wish I was)--making the first step is often the most challenging. The thing is nothing will be any different unless we take that first step. Why is it so dang hard? I think it can be any combination of factors—fear (a big one), feeling frazzled, lack of discipline, insecurity, not wanting to face the unknown, busyness crowding out life, and simply being too tired—to name a few. (And conversely, if you're a go-getter and love a fast pace, it may prove overwhelming to try to stop, to do less things, to allow time and space for rest over production.)


I have some encouragement, or perhaps they'll seem like agitating words you may not want to hear, regarding whatever combination of factors you may be facing. Borrowing from Nike, who may just have the best tagline ever: "Just do it."


Just do it anyways. Just do it scared. Just do it insecure. Just do it (fill in the blank with whatever is your current roadblock), and take that first step.


Now what I'm not encouraging is just doing any whim or impulsivity. Don't be foolish.


What I am encouraging is paying real attention to that desire or nudge you’ve been feeling at your core for a while. Yep, that one that just crept to your mind and perhaps you’re trying to stuff back down.


Or perhaps it's that nagging thought that you feel pressing you with a good sort of urgency to lay down the fluff, the distractions, the noise and busy that’s keeping you from what you really want—but that also feels too hard to accomplish. Or, perhaps like me, you get tangled up in the core lie of not feeling valuable enough, which leads to all sorts of insecurity. Your head and your heart cannot agree on value (a much deeper issue to write about later).


I've had an emerging, persistent desire deep down lately. Quite honestly I’ve been scared of it. I feel a fresh insecurity within this desire—like I’ve discovered a new layer of that icky, sticky reality inside of me. I have been weary to really put myself out there in this area. Scared of what others will think in many ways—what a fatal, life-draining thought. 


Sharing these emerging thoughts with close friends recently, one wise friend offered these helpful words: “I wonder if sometimes you just have to do it scared.”


I came home later that night, sitting on my overstuffed couch in our dark, quiet kitchen allowing my mind to unwind before retreating to bed, and it was those words that resonated deep within me.


I’ve considered them for a few weeks now and have decided that’s exactly what I need to do: Do it scared. It also feels, interestingly, a bit like an invitation to trust.


And secondly, do it with discipline—something that I’d prefer not to admit that I lack at times. But sometimes it's just making a simple decision that actually simplifies so much about life and relieves the frenzied feelings we try to tack on to the things we're drawn to.


There’s another valuable part of my decision making process that’s vital to consider first if you chose to parse through some of your own persistent desires, thoughts or feelings—whether they are surface level ones that are a bit easier to accomplish (like planning a trip you've left on the back burner)--or whether it’s something more complicated like tackling some deeper, inner work. Here it is:


Take time to consider what is most important. And why.


I did not come up with this. I'm sure I've read and heard it from multiple sources. But it's such a helpful question to consider in all areas of life. When it comes to something a bit more layered like this growing desire within me, I am taking a moment to consider: What’s important to me in this? It's helping me to identify the weeds choking out the life-giving piece within it. In this scenario, I think what's important is simply honoring the desire and nudge I feel to pursue it. Something or nothing may come from it. Honestly, that’s ok with me either way, though I’d prefer the something.  


So what is my growing desire? It's pretty basic but also feels vulnerable. I want to write. I want to share what I write. I've been doing that some for a while, but I would like to do it with more intention. In this stage, in Anne Lamott’s words, it will always be that "shitty first draft"—because it is literally going to be stream of consciousness, what pops in my mind, and I don't have an editor nor the time to worry about if I've stayed in the same point of view all the way through a piece (which I surely have not!). But even if I feel entirely regretful later (it could go either way)...


I am going to practice just doing it scared.


Care to join me in doing something you've been putting off for a while?  I don’t feel “capable.” I am perhaps most scared of time and my lack of discipline and not having enough of either; but how will I grow and wrestle through these fears if I don’t just do it? 


So, it’s ok if you’re scared too. It allows the opportunity to navigate through (and not around) the emotions that come along with it.


I feel sure at times my toes will skim the waters of embarrassment and insecurity and all the things. It will require utmost honesty with myself (and with God—the one who seems to welcome my candid processing). It will require giving myself permission to be present with the feelings of actual enjoyment as I practice the art I’ve been created to love. It’s so strange—but I could hole up in a beautiful setting (or just the chair in my bedroom/office) and write contentedly for hours on end. When I read other writers' pages about writing, I feel the blood pumping more quickly through my veins. It brings life to me. It’s something that has value simply because I enjoy it. And I want to learn and grow. If I hide from all the above, that’s where I will stay stuck. 

In the most freeing way possible, "Just doing it scared--or whatever it is," may be the most honest and genuine and therefore best place to start.  

Tags: Life

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Streams That Flow

The tension of good and hard is always present, but by these winding 'Streams that Flow,' I have found more life, love and kindness than I ever knew was possible. This blog is a stream-of-consciousness style record of the people, places, and even animals that have imprinted goodness and love on my life. Stories that I hope will inspire rituals of beauty, rest and belonging for you too within the flow of everyday life.