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.