the choice

And so I decided I want to make art that means something to me. I don’t want to let Fear muddy up the clear waters of faith. So I say yes, and for exactly two and a half minutes, it feels good to take a risk.

But then Fear’s besties show up: Panic and Anxiety. They stand breathing heavy right over my shoulder, and it has been my habit to turn around and hold their hands, rocking to their rhythm, crying with them in the dark. But there has been a rescue. Jesus came to give me the option to make a different choice.

This art is so much bigger than me, my influence, my insecurities, my stories. I’m speaking this weekend at a retreat in the North Carolina mountains. I don’t normally say yes to speaking. I’m a writer, you see. Writers like to have the space to weigh the words we say and take them back, if need be. But this message is burning holes, and it’s time to get up from the writing of it and step in to speaking it – to look into the eyes of women like me and see if we have anything in common.

Fear and his friends still stand behind me, but I am choosing not to turn around.


  1. says

    Oh Emily! Be free! It’s just what I wrote about this morning …

    I am praying for you. I know you’ll be exhilarated.

    Can’t wait to hear all about it.


  2. Lorraine says

    Emily, I know exactly how you feel!!!! I pray that you continue to look ahead and don’t turn back!!! Fear, panic and anxiety have absolutely nothing to offer us – only the sweet face of Jesus does!!! Keep your eyes on Him and live in His freedom!!!! You can do it!!! I know you will be so abundantly blessed by your speaking engagement and you will touch so many hearts!!!!!

    Keep up the Good Work!!!!!

  3. says

    Oh! I wish I could go and hear you speak! Believe me…you will be great. The message God has given you will penetrate hearts, wether on paper, on a computer screen, or in the air. It carries the same weight.

  4. says

    Saying a prayer for you today as you journey on with fear and anxiety nipping at your heels. You have a message that needs to be heard! I know it has been encouragement for my weary heart, I’ve started taking a few risks again because of your words.

  5. says

    Good girl! Pull up them boots…go get em. Wish we could web cam the whole thing! Remember, it is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Be bold. Be blessed. Be free.

    • says

      thanks, Robyn! The closer it gets to me leaving the smaller I feel. But small is a good thing, isn’t it? Thanks for your words, friends!

  6. says

    I’d love to hear you speak! But I completely understand how you feel. I was asked to speak at a women’s meeting in May and I’m shaking just thinking about it. I like my place behind my computer! I did hear Beth Moore (I think) say that if you’re not reaching, you’re probably not doing what God wants you to do. Interesting thought. I’ve been thinking on it a lot lately.

    Saying a prayer for you. You’ll be wonderful!

  7. says

    I’ll be thinking of you and sending wishes for strength, clarity, and great success. You may not be able to take your words back this time, but you’re still a word girl. Use them to do you thing! :-)

  8. says

    Sending up a prayer for clarity and peace and that the message He has for your listeners will be heard. So exciting Emily, one more way you get to be a pencil in His hand!

  9. says

    I’m SO with you on writing and speaking! I like time for my words to sit and think. I so admire you stepping out of comfort, and into joy.

  10. says

    So proud of you Emily. I promise to be praying for you throughout the weekend. Jesus will be standing right over you shoulder – and beside you – and in front of you.

  11. says

    writers like to have the space to weigh the words and take them back, if need be.

    YEAH! I feel that way. I HATE talking, because then I rewind what I said and I want to melt into the pavement. I’m so impulsive. IS this helping you with your speaking anxiety? Probably not. So, good luck and I’m not worried. You seem to have a natural talent for it.

  12. says

    I hear you. That is wonderful! Press on!

    I’m a writer. But, sometimes I have to face people – people who may or may not have the same things in common with me. And it’s scary. Yet, somehow it bolsters my faith. Recently I’m standing on 1 Chronicles 20:17 (take your position, stand firm, and watch Him deliver you!).

    Blessings this weekend!

  13. says

    Here’s to a wonderful conference with lots of truth, soul contecting, and refreshment.

    Scary art finds me. I always think who am I to take this on, to speak as some sort of authority through a voice/culture/experience I can’t claim? I try to remember I am human, and that is enough to tie me to the rest of humanity, but I will confess I continue to doubt.

  14. says

    Yes, much easier to write than to speak; changes can be made with a gentle pat on the “Delete” button when writing; words can be rearranged and prettied-up. In real life… sometimes not even apologies erase off-the-cuff words. However… God is faithful. When He calls, He equips. He will use you to bless and set free many hearts that belong to Him that grieve under shame, guilt, not being perfect or measuring up.

    And those two besties? They are brats! But on each arm of God are the muscles of His power. One swipe of His word and we can send them scurrying. But they sure like to visit often, don’t they?

  15. Brooke Phillips says

    Wow!!! I love this, soooo reminds me of my life story…a little book called “Hind’s Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard!! :)

  16. LaPriel says

    I just started reading a book by Celia Thaxter (An Island Garden). She has this to say about having a passion for flowers :

    “… I do not mean a light or shallow affection; no butterfly interest, but a real love which is worthy of the name, which is capable of

    the dignity of sacrifice, great enough to bear discomfort of body and disappointment of spirit, strong enough to fight a thousand

    enemies for the thing beloved, with power, with judgment, with endless patience…”

    This helped me to understand having a passion for something.

  17. says

    there’s such a warmth and realness to you, emily.. i’m sure those women were blessed hearing your heart and found connection in what you had to say~

    i like the point you brought out about fear still being there, but forging ahead regardless. sometimes i feel “less than” .. not brave enough. confident enough. spiritual enough to live life fear-less. but i was reminded hearing your words here that it’s our fears that cause us to cling tighter to Him… and in some ways, i wonder if it doesn’t make us more “tangible” to those around us. being able to admit we’re nervous and scared. like reading how you felt to speak at the retreat i thought, “wow. she’s so normal! i think i could be friends with this girl!” :) and when people feel that understanding from someone i think the message God’s given them to share just becomes that much more powerful!

  18. says

    This is how I felt when I signed up for Blissdom…so elated and excited for the adventure, oh, the possibilities! That didn’t last long, and I quickly began to wonder whatever was I thinking! Have I lost my mind?!

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