Faith, Relationships

How to Deal With Big Fat Fear


Sometimes the bestest most exciting opportunities are also the freakiest.  This past week has been all about big fat fear.  And it’s totally related to The Book.  Maybe the sequel to Women Are Scary needs to be Writing Is Scary.

As with the rest of my life, I’m going to be brutally honest about all the feels as I birth my book baby and usher it into the world.  It’s the only way I know how to live, letting my guts about everything plop across the pages of this blog.  So last month, you saw me get my full dork on in my ultimate happy dance, sheer, sloppy joy and I don’t care who sees me celebrate with my Running Man and Roger Rabbit in my faded yoga pants.

And then last week, the fear gripped me.  Like someone twisted the kaleidoscope in my brain, the joy bursts skittered to the edges of the lens and the fear took center stage.  I stared at stats and thumbed through Twitter and let the excitement of sharing my stories and ideas fall away to the fear of one-starred reviews and dead silence and no one giving a rabbit turd about what I have to say.

Have you ever gotten so lost in the social media comparison trap that you wonder why you bother having ideas at all, because everyone else’s are better?  Everyone else has better pictures, more followers, and they don’t feed their children cupcakes for dinner.  Everyone else is funnier or more spiritual or craftier or wiser.

Fear.  No good comes from these forays into the ditch.

And then my blog experienced server problems and I felt like I was in the hospital at its bedside, watching the beeping monitors and hoping it would be okay again soon.  I felt mid-scream all week.  What am I doing?  Why can’t I keep my head down?  Why do I insist on stringing words together?

I’ve had a hard time praying lately.  I mean, really talking to God and listening and getting in His presence.  I’m a terrified animal and my eyes dart back and forth and I can’t concentrate.

Can I be this honest?  Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

I need to ask you for a favor.  (It does not involve helping me move a couch.)

If this is your first time on my blog, feel free to skip this and read one of my posts where I have my crap together and there’s a fluffy bow at the end.  (I’m sure there’s one on here somewhere…possibly.)  But if you’ve been around for awhile, we’re friends, and I need to ask for something.

Would you pray for me as I walk out these next many months leading up to my book?  Honestly, I love this work and the words I’ve spilled out for you.  I can’t wait for you to see them.  I am still the dancing dork and I’m excited.  But sometimes the fear wants to overtake me and I think I’ll probably have to move to Antarctica and live with the penguins.  If you see Unexpected in your Facebook or Twitter feed or randomly think about me over the next few months, please say a prayer for God to just hold me close so I don’t wander away and crumple into a little ‘fraidy cat fur-ball.

I should’ve asked you guys to pray a long time ago, and I’m really sorry I didn’t think to do that until now.  I’m really sorry, because I know how important prayer is.  I pray for you guys all the time.  And when one of you reaches out and asks for prayer, it’s the greatest privilege to get to do that for you.

I love praying for other people, and sometimes we just get in places where it’s hard to pray for ourselves.  Do you know what I mean?  And it can be hard to ask, because we hate feeling needy and we want to pretend like we have it all together.  (Well, actually, I blew past that last part a long time ago.)

Have you ever been really excited and totally scared at the same time?  What did you do?  How did you pray?  What Bible verses kept you from drowning?  Songs to blast in the minivan?  This is not rhetorical, friends.  I really want to hear.  Speak into my life and maybe lots of people need to hear what you have to say.

I wish book contracts came with built-in mentor authors to tell you everything is going to be okay.  I’d also like for someone to stroke my hair, and an on-demand hugging buddy would be fabulous.

It’s going to be awesome, this year.  I’m really looking forward to the whole process.  And I’ll keep blogging all the ups and downs and excitement and freakouts.  It’s my way.

How to deal with big fat fear?  I’m going with ask your friends for prayer and help.  So help.  Gimme what you got.

**UPDATE: I couldn’t post this when I wrote it, because All the Server Probs, but as I finished writing this a few days ago, a friend messaged me to ask if we could pray for each other.  Before I’d even asked.  She lives on the other side of the country and we prayed over the phone.  It was exactly what I needed.  So cool.

**ANOTHER UPDATE: I just got back the edits to my book, and I’m excited, friends.  My editor is helping me make this book even better, and I’m reminded of the sheer joy of getting to do this.  Woo and hoo!

**ONE MORE UPDATE: My Smarty Pants Brother and Hubby talked geek for a little while and fixed my blog.  She’s up and running again, and here come a lot of pent up posts.  I’m sure all of you were on the edge of your lawn chairs wondering if my children had finally eaten me for breakfast.


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  • Ingrid

    It’s rare that I burst out laughing while reading blog posts, that is what makes yours awesome. I will pray for you and pray your book is a HUGE success and draws more people here to laugh at (really with, in a good way) you. – Ingrid

    • Melanie Dale

      Ingrid, thank you so much. I love being laughed at and with. ;)

  • Jennifer Coersmeyer Damron

    I will so pray for you…. Casting Crown’s The Voice of Truth… I love that song, God sent it to me the night before Easter when I was deep in despair. It lifts me up every time I hear it.. Can’t wait to read your book!!!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Jennifer! Good song, thanks for the recommendation.

  • Ashlee

    Praying for you, friend. That this book will speak life and laughter into the hearts of mommas everywhere, and will bless everyone who reads it. That writing it will make you stronger, braver, and more secure in the writer that God created you to be. You’ve got this, girl.

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you, Ashlee! I’m so excited for you to read it, because it’s filled with stories just like the ones you champion on our new site. Lots of crumbs and coffee and love. Thanks for the prayers and the encouragement!

  • naomir5034

    He said I will never leave you nor forsake you, and He is our ever-present help in times of trouble! When fear grips, I internally scream “HELP!” as a straight S.O.S. prayer to God – and He answers every. darn. time. My heart rate slows, my sanity returns, and He equips me to deal with what’s in front of me. Also there is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear. So I just gotta receive a little more of His love in this place of fear – open up my heart and be vulnerable – and He fills it up. I’m sorry I don’t have references for the above verses. Also speaking whatever verse He has been laying on my heart lately, OUT LOUD, and saying aloud, “God, I choose to trust you!” helps allay the fear.

    I also have a prayer-friend who will pray for me the very moment I text or e-mail her, and her prayers have helped me over the hump many times.

    • Melanie Dale

      Oh, these are goooood. Yes yes yes. Thank you for writing these to me. I’m soaking them up! I love hearing how you deal with fear. I find that OUT LOUD helps me, too!

  • Lisa Humphries

    Last summer, June 23, 2013, while we were out of town, our home burned down and we lost EVERYTHING. I had gone to the doctor about a week before this happened to have my IUD removed. My husband and I decided to stick with our plan of trying to conceive #2, though I’m pretty sure neither of us gave it much thought in the following months, as our lives became incredibly difficult. Fast forward to early/mid October, when we found out we were expecting #2 (who is apparently the most stubborn baby, as s/he is currently NINE DAYS LATE). We were living in an RV in front of my in-law’s house (hardly an ideal situation), my husband was finishing up his last semester at our local community college (while working full-time), and we had discovered that, due to an error when he came home from a deployment years before, we had about 3% of the renter’s insurance coverage we thought we did. To say that we felt fear, yet extreme excitement/happiness when we got the positive pregnancy test is a massive understatement. I was numb with fear…numb with exhaustion, grief, sorrow, anger…and I did NOT *want* to pray. I was still kind of mad at God for “letting” our house burn down and I didn’t trust Him enough to turn to Him in my time of need. But I still tried, fumbling through awkward prayers until it started feeling better. I didn’t even know WHAT to pray for, because there was so much we needed. Peace, security, a new home, fall/winter clothes, etc…

    I can’t even begin to tell you how tough the road has been…but I’m currently sitting in a house that we miraculously PURCHASED this past April (after the husband put MONTHS of DIY work into it), surrounded by earthly objects that were so kindly donated to us by our friends and family, both near and far. We are anxiously awaiting the birth of baby #2, and life is good. We are still broken and bruised from last summer’s fire, mostly because we went into survival mode and now need to tend to our own hurts (now that we have a safe, secure home to call our own)…BUT we are still here, smiling in the face of fear.

    I don’t know if it helps, but I guess the main point of all of ^that^ is that when I was most fearful, when I felt most out of control and battered by the world, when I didn’t know what to pray for…I just kept trying. It was weird. A lot of days, it felt wrong…which nearly killed me. But I kept asking God for strength to get through to the next day, and for Him to provide exactly what He knew I needed. I didn’t even know what I needed, but He did. And He provided :)

    • Melanie Dale

      Sometimes I just wish we were sitting at a table together rather than through the computer, although I’m always grateful for the computer bringing us together. Lisa, this story, this road that you’ve been on…I just don’t have the words to type as I bite my lip, stare at the computer screen, and wish I could hug you. What a year. I really like how you say “I just kept trying.” No magic bullet, no pretty bow. You just kept on. And you’re “smiling in the face of fear.” You are brave and beautiful, and your story and faith inspire me.

  • Off The Cuff Cooking

    Verses that have been inspirational for me in waiting for an adopted baby might help you with your book-baby: Isaiah 49:5 “And now the Lord says – he who formed me in the womb to be his servant… (to bring Jacob back to himself,) … for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has been my strength.” I pull a double meaning out of that for myself, and my future child: Not only was I formed in the womb to be God’s servant, but so is my future child. God knew us both before we were born or conceived, and God knew how we would find each other someday. Just like God knew you would rise up to write this book, and how this opportunity would come to you, and he knew every word on the page of your book before you even wrote it. Like a little book-baby waiting to be conceived– he already knew its DNA! (And look, I used “its” correctly as a possessive pronoun.) So take heart, lady!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you so much. I love knowing that nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard. He knows. You are right. :)

  • Mary Elizabeth Moore

    I will pray for you! One of my favorite verses when I’m afraid (which is a lot) is, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). I repeat it over and over again. A lot. Fear of failure is one of my biggest issues, so I understand where you’re coming from!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you! I wrote it down and will remember it often. I like to think that I’m all brave and swashbuckling, but sometimes the fear sneaks up and catches me off guard. Glad I’m not alone, and I’ll pray for your fear of failure, too!

  • Caryl

    I pray for you and your sweet tribe each and every morning! For you specifically I’ve been praying for your strength, creativity, and calm, as you wear so many hats each day. You are a blessing in my life and I thank God for YOU! Psalms 103 is one of my favorites, especially v4 about being redeemed from the pit!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you thank you thank you! Writing it down, looking it up. You know, I was actually unusually calm through the server problem thing, so I guess I have you to thank for that!

  • Mama Wolf

    I laughed out loud when I read your need for an on-demand hugging buddy. If you find out where to order one of those please post for all of us!!! My mom has dementia and does not know who I am, so after each visit with her I really need someone to stroke my hair and give me a hug. If I could sit in their lap and cuddle I think that might even be better.

    • Melanie Dale

      Aww, yes you do need a hugging buddy! If I find one, I’ll let you know. I’ll check etsy. ;) A big online hug to you as you walk this road with your mama.

  • Sarah Thornton

    Melanie…Hi!! God brought you to my mind this am. Totally unexpected…ha see what I did?! Anyway, LOVE this blog but once my twitter got hacked and I lacked the desire to get back on I kind of forgot about it! God is good! For as you battle with fear know you are not alone. God is bringing me through my own battle and as I looks back on my issue I realize how silly it is but it surely doesn’t seem so when you are right smack in the midst! Psalm 34 baby. I will be praying for you!! Love you from NE!!

    • Melanie Dale

      HI, SARAH!!! It’s good to “see” you! I was also thinking about you recently and wondering how you’re doing. Looking up Psalm 34 now. Thanks. (If you want to stay up on the blog without checking social media, you could always subscribe and get posts directly to your email. I promise not to be annoying.:)

  • Rachel Foss

    Melanie, thank you so much for this. I am gripped by fear sooo often, paralyzed by it – when I’m trying new or hard things I’ve talked myself into doing and understand everything about how it’s *supposed* to work, and sometimes even things I’ve done before (maybe my previous success was a fluke!). A friend of mine once told me what she does when she’s challenged by something scary that she has to do and can’t back out of: God gives me strength and makes my way perfect (psalm 18:32). I once chanted this all the long way across a narrow bumpy twisty-turvy ladder bridge I had to ride my bike over… nothing like baring your soul and editing a book, I know, but it still seems appropriate. :)

    • Melanie Dale

      I can’t hardly ride a bike in a straight line, much less over a bridge, oh my goodness! Psalm 18:32 – love it, thank you!

  • Melanie Dale

    Oh wow, this is a treasure trove of encouragement, friend. THANK YOU!!!





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