Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Take the Next Step, Even if it's Scary

My bestie left my house late last night. She was here making the final edits to a project we’ve been working on together for over a year now. I asked her to make it beautiful because I don’t have those skills. And she has been putting in unpaid late night hours for such a long time now.

When we finally finished the latest version of the project last night, she was so excited. She wanted to celebrate. I wanted to puke.

“Why aren’t you more excited?!” She said, “We’ve been working on it for so long, and now it’s ready for you to take the next step!”

“Um… because now I have to take the next step.”

Because, you see, taking the next step is putting it out there in the world. And that means people will see this thing I’ve been working on, and they will either say, “This is amazing! Do more!” or “This is garbage. Why did you make it?” or even, “Meh.”

And I don’t know which gives me the most anxiety. The pressure of another person saying something is great and trying to live up to those standards with everything else I create, the shame of others’ criticism, or working hard to create something I believe in, only to have it met with indifference.

It’s almost as if I’m doomed if I base my success or failure on other people’s opinions. Weird.

So when we finished the edits, she sent me the file in an email with the subject line, “The Big Fat Scary Thing.” We took a selfie commemorating the occasion, and she left.

This morning, The Big Fat Scary Thing greeted me from my inbox. So I resolved to stop checking my email first thing in the morning. It just isn’t healthy. At least not until you’ve had coffee. In fact, I think I read a study about how not checking email first thing in the morning adds years to your life. Not checking email is linked to higher income, less chance of your kids winding up in jail, and all sorts of health benefits… Right? I mean, I’m pretty sure there have been like a million studies on that…

But now, I’ve had my coffee. And The Big Fat Scary Thing is still in my inbox unopened, while I type up this very important blog post. It’s going to be detrimental to everyone’s lives later that I do all of the laundry and sweep the floors and wipe down the baseboards and play games with my kids later today too. In fact, I’ve just realized I’m not equipped to do The Big Fat Scary Thing.

Except, you see, God called me to make The Big Fat Scary Thing. I know I sound like a weirdo, but I literally heard a voice in my head that was not like the regular voice in my head, and it said, “Don’t you see what I made you for?” And memories of me doing all of the things that make my soul come alive flashed through my brain. And then came the vision for The Big Fat Scary Thing.

But for years, I said, “Dear God, it’s too hard and I don’t know where to start. And I can’t do this because I have kids. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For years, he said, “tap, tap, tap… I still made you for that thing I told you about.”
And at times, I’ve acted like my kids do when I ask them to complete a task. I did weird things that were in no way connected to what was asked of me. I whined and pouted and said,“I don’t believe you. Why do I have to do this anyway? This is never going to work.” But my own voice brought me back to reality, saying, “Dude, you know what you heard. Just keep showing up. Just trust Him. He is the God of the Universe after all.”

I am certain The Big Fat Scary Thing isn’t yet the way God wants it in the end. It’s not perfect. It’s not by any means finished, either. But all I know is that God called me to do The Big Fat Scary Thing, and if the God of the Universe, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am says to do The Big Fat Scary Thing, then I have to keep doing that Big Fat Scary Thing He told me to… even though it’s hard. Even though it’s scary. Even though the process will probably hurt. Even though I’ll mess it up… Because if God is the very best Father, I will do that Big Fat Scary Thing because I love Him, I know He wants what’s best for me, and because He said so.

Emily Donehoo is the only female in a family of five. She is a former High School English Teacher and National Trainer for the College Board. These days, when she isn’t scrubbing toilets, administering timeouts, working at book fairs, attempting to tackle dinner, laundry, homework help, dishes, and a preschooler’s incessant questions, she writes authentically about the hard stuff that really matters, hoping to uncover the truth that God has for us whether it makes us cry from laughter, pain or both at the same time.


  1. What a great topic. Sometimes "The Big Fat Scary Thing" is just deciding to have a great day. Thank you Emily God bless you.

    1. Love that - so good to live moment by moment, day by day!

  2. It’s so true! Way to face your fears!

    1. Yes!! Thanks Emily for the encouragement to face our fears and see what God will do.