Is Fear of Criticism Keeping You From Pursuing Your Dreams?

building your dreams - pursuing your dreams

Do you sometimes feel like the main reason you don’t get busy pursuing some of your dreams is the fear of criticism?

If so, I get it. I’m with you.

Most of my life I had a passion for writing, but what kept me from really pursuing it was the fear that if I was successful, people might criticize me. What if I couldn’t handle that?

That fear is a huge one, and it will hold you back big time. Trust me, I know. I’m 46 years old and just finding the confidence to let the world hear my voice.

But I’m doing it now. I finally stopped worrying about what people think of me.

“So what changed?” you might wonder. Here are some insights I have developed over the past few years as I have ever-so-cautiously cut loose and begun to make my voice heard. 

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Light and Darkness

What of the horrific shootings today in CT and the stabbings in China? My heart breaks, along with the hearts of all decent people. These are a few sentences I wrote for this week’s sermon, yesterday. I am reading them today with new eyes and will not deliver them Sunday in the same way I had originally planned.

The story of the birth of Jesus is not that the light comes and extinguishes all the darkness and we all live happily ever after. For now, we live in a world filled with both realities. It is a world of incredible darkness and light. A world filled with death and life. Life is always there with death. Light is always shining in darkness. There is always hope. And the darkness can never extinguish the light. No amount of evil, or suffering, or violence, can extinguish the light. That is the message. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Re-post: Bring It On!

One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago. He’s supposed to get information on how serious it is tomorrow. He is scared and in that dreadful waiting place. I don’t know what to tell him. I try to listen a lot. I did come across this article I wrote a while back that I’m encouraging him to read when he feels like it. I hope it encourages him. For now, feeling broken and powerless with my friend. This is for everyone feeling that way today.

Bring it On! (via

Last week I went into an eye surgeon for a consultation. I have a cyst in the corner of each of my eyes. It doesn’t hurt, and isn’t even very obvious, but it bugs me. They needed to check to see if removing the cysts will interfere with my tear ducts. Apparently the way they learn this is by taking…read the rest


Update on the book: Fear, prt. Infinity

Expect to bury something. You’ll either bury your fear in faith or bury your talents in fear. — Ann Voscamp

Thanks to the large number of you who have continued checking out the blog regularly. I realize the frequency of posts has been way down, even since I returned from my sabbatical. I was not able to finish the whole book while I was gone and so most of my available time has been spent trying to get it finished up.

Fear is my constant companion. I sent a “guest post” to a very successful leadership blog today and found fear lapping around my ankles. I keep worrying that something is going to expose me as a fraud, an impostor, a joke. Sounds severe, I know, but every writer has these fears. We can succeed for a while to push them out, but they always come galloping back again, threatening to take us down. No amount of reassurance seems to quell them. That because they live in a place no one can reach — my own sense of value. Let me show you.

  • I know I am a good writer
  • I know I am a better writer than most
  • I know I am a deeper thinker than many, and that I can capture complex ideas in fairly simple writing
  • I know I love people dearly and write in a voice that is compassionate and patient
  • I know I have something to say
  • I know my work could help people live better lives (because I see it all the time)

My fears aren’t about any of this. My fears are about everything I know above going unrecognized, about my work not being seen by anyone in a position to help my dreams materialize. And yet ultimately I cannot write to be published, or simply to be successful, and certainly not to make money.

Speaking of money and success, I have read that the odds of writing a New York Times bestseller are 1 in 220 []. Not bad odds, really. And yet fear is always lurking. It must be brushed back every time I sit down to write. No wonder most people never achieve anything great, and I say that not with criticism but with compassion. It’s hard. Even getting started in earnest has taken me 43 years.

Currently the manuscript that I have finished (all but two chapters) is being read and edited by two close friends and I will start sending out my proposal to publishers in two weeks after I have had a chance to incorporate the edits.

Question: How are you facing your fears? What passion do you have that will require you to brush back fear constantly? What will the world lose if you don’t face that challenge?


A call to read less of the Bible

Many Christian people don’t worship God, they worship the Bible. I assume the same is true of other sacred books such as the Koran, the Torah, and the Bagavhad Gita, although it wouldn’t HAVE to be this way. A particular set of circumstances have risen up in the US to bring about this result. But that’s another post, and one that would be really boring to most of my readers.

The point is that Christians are not to worship the Bible.

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