Be Not Afraid

31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 27 Doing what I Have to Do

I love to sing.  And, I do so, often.  Sometimes I sing in public at church or in nursing homes.  Sometimes I sing in private in the car along with my iPod or while putting John Paul to sleep.  And sometimes, I even sing while falling asleep at night.  The words are quiet, barely more audible than my breath, but still, I sing.  Sometimes I sing songs I wrote, and sometimes I sing songs others have courageously written.  And sometimes, I even sing nonsense “songs,” which are really just words strung together at a moments notice to entertain John Paul.

When someone asks me if I’m a singer, I immediately say “Yes!”  But the thing is, I don’t sing for money or for my career.  No one pays me to sing in concert, or pays to buy my albums.  I’ll never be known as Allison like Mariah or Celine.  And I’ll never know what it’s like to open my mouth and hear a completely perfect sound come out.

But I still open my mouth and pour out melodic words, because I have to.  Because I can’t imagine not doing so.  And so, I am a singer.

My favorite person to sing to, whether in the NICU:
Mother Singing to Baby

or in church:
Woman Singing in Church

I am scared to call myself a writer.  I’m willing to call many other people writers, whether they write books or blog posts or articles or pages and pages of words that no one else ever reads.  But I fear calling myself a writer.  I don’t feel worthy of the title.

And yet, I’ve always written.  When I was six, I wrote journal entries of my first major trip, a ski trip to Colorado.  My journal entries weren’t much more than detailed lists of every move I made each day, but I still wrote.  When I was eleven, I wrote stories about pretty twin girls who time traveled from Wisconsin of the 1990’s to Wisconsin of the Victorian Era.  My stories included no dialogue and I had never heard that in writing one should “show” and not “tell,” but I still wrote.  When I was in high school, I wrote pages and pages of poetry after my first real heartbreak.  My poems were overly emotive and full of overused, unoriginal metaphors such as “tears fall like raindrops,” but I still wrote.  When I was a house-wife for the last few months Mike and I lived in Colorado, I filled much of my time by writing songs.  Musically, my songs often sounded alike, and the lyrics often bordered on extreme cheesiness, but I still wrote.

Despite all of my flaws as a write, I still put pen to paper, and pour out the words of my heart (see that cheesiness?  I have a real gift for it, I tell you!).  Because I have to.  Because I can’t imagine not doing so.  And so, I am a writer.

For months, I have been considering writing down the story of the last two years of my life: living in Colorado and growing in my faith like never before, living in pain and struggling in my faith like never before, and living in a cancer-ridden body and rejoicing in my faith like never before.  In my time of need, so many incredible and amazing things happened, and I feel called to share my story.

But I am scared.  I think to myself, “Allison, you’re not a writer!”  And I wonder how I can even consider that the words I have in my heart and in my head might mean anything to someone else, that they might be worthy of being put on paper.  But I am beginning to write my story because I have to.  Because I can’t imagine not doing so.

Even if no one ever reads my words except for me, and even if no one ever finds my story remarkable, I am writing.  Even if no one ever heard my voice, and even if no one ever found my song remarkable, I would still sing.  For, in writing my story and in singing my song, I pour myself out.  I pour out all of me, even the ugly, the shameful, and the weak parts.  I pour out myself in thanksgiving, for all who love me, for all the beauty in the world, and for a God who created me and delights in me.  And I’m learning that it’s only when I live in a state of thankfulness, when I notice the small gifts of everyday, that I can ever be truly at peace, and truly happy.

My prayer for you today is that you face your fear of sharing all of yourself, whether through words or actions.  Become what you want to be by taking the first step and doing it.  Ask God for the wisdom to know where your gifts would be best used to grow the Kingdom of God here on Earth, and for the strength to put your dreams into action.

My question for you today is this:  if you were being truly honest and speaking without fear, what in your heart do you know you have to do, because you can’t imagine not doing it?  If you would be so kind as to share, I would so love to hear your answers in the comments below!

Thank you for joining me on my 31 day challenge!

Previous days:

Day 1: Be Not Afraid
Day 2: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Day 3 Keeping a Faithful Heart in Light of Suffering
Day 4: Facing Fears with Laughter
Day 5: Listening to My Heart
Day 6: Daring to Love Myself in Order to Love Others
Day 7: Opening Up My Idea of a Remarkable Life
Day 8: Giving Voice to My Fears
Day 9: Being a Bearer of Joy
Day 10 & 11: Give Everything
Day 12: Switching My Focus
Day 13: Reaching Out
Day 14 & 15: Letting Go
Day 16: Giving Voice to My Dreams
Day 17: Putting Fear into Action
Day 18: Clear Eyes, Full Heart
Day 19: Strength, Wisdom, Courage, and Clarity
Day 20-22: Facing the End of Things
Day 23: Showing Delight in Others
Day 24: Embracing the Dawn
Day 25: Saying No and Letting Go of the Guilt
Day 26: Find Love, then Give it All Away


  1. Gayle Engelstad

    Allison, you are MOST DEFINITELY a gifted writer. You have so inspired me. I now look forward to your daily posts and hate for day 31 to arrive! With all you have already written, you are well on the way to telling your “story” in book form. Before we leave for our own church each Sunday, my husband and I always watch a short time of “Hour of Power” mostly to hear the guest speaker, who is always very inspirational and has written a book or song to tell their story. Each time I watch it I now think of you, and how your gifts of writing and song are such an inspiration to others. Think how many others you could help! I say GO FOR IT, and don’t be afraid. Gayle

    • Gayle, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! It means so much to me!
      And I can’t tell you how humbled and happy I am to hear that you’ve been enjoying my blog! You give me motivation to keep writing. Thank you.
      I’ve never seen “Hour of Power,” but it sounds like something I need to check out!! And thanks for reminding me to not be afraid. 🙂

      Love and prayers,

  2. You arev a wonderful writer, i love your blog ! If there is one thing i know i have to do, it is that i know i HAVE to go out in the car today, I am agoraphobic and have been stuck inside for the 12th day in a row, so i have to out today, even for 5 minutes. Kepp up the wonderful blogging xx

    • Fiona, first of all, thank you for your kind words. Secondly, I am so moved by your courage. I am praying for you right now-that you feel God’s presence with you, so that you might have the strength to go in your car today, even if just for a minute. THANK YOU for sharing your struggles…you have no idea how much you’ve moved me. I am so glad that you write about your daily struggles and triumphs, and I look forward to reading about them. Thank you for sharing.

      • I just had to write again and thank you so much for your kind words. You helped me so much today, I went out for an hour and went to two different places and when it got too hard I though about you, your strength and your kind words. I cant thank you enough, you are just wonderful xxxx

      • Oh Fiona.. You just brought me to tears. Truly, I am crying. In sadness, for your struggle and your suffering. But also in amazement and awe of your strength and courage. I am so happy for the progress you made today, and I am thanking God for filling you with strength and making you brave. God was surely with you as you ventured outside….did you feel it? Thank you again for inspiring me. YOU are wonderful, and I will continue to pray for your healing.

  3. It took me forEVER to call myself an artist, Allison. And I like to write music and sing, too.

    You ARE a writer. You’ve written some wonderfully poignant things here on this blog that show your writer’s heart. And you have done this in the midst of some great struggles. I’m so glad you wrote this series so I could discover your blog.

    Your question is a good one for me to ponder, too. Thanks for putting these heart questions out there.

  4. Bethany

    This reminds me of Robert Fulghum’s (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten) piece about how if you ask a 5 year old if they can sing, dance, paint, play ball, etc. they will all say yes. Fast forward 10 years and ask the same question. They’ll all say no.

    That’s how I am with singing. I’ll sing my babies to sleep, I’ll sing my husband a love song, but I won’t sing in public unless I’m surrounded by others who will drown out my stray notes and random key changes.

    I remember my first “prayer night” at L’Arche. I get anxious going to new churches and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was blown away. People were singing, clapping, and drumming – but none of them seemed to be on the same note or beat as the person next to them. And no one cared!

    So … write as if you are writing only for yourself without a care in the world what the person next to you thinks. And then share it with us so we can affirm you! 🙂

    • Bethany, I’m sorry I didn’t see your lovely comment until just now. I know exactly what you mean about your first prayer night at L’Arche. I felt the same way!! How beautiful it is to see so many people expressing themselves without reservation! Thank you for reminding me of that great example of bravery and courage! I will for sure be keeping that mind as I begin writing more of my story.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement!! I am so grateful for your kind words!!

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  9. Love that I was thinking about this very topic (and wrote on it) this morning and read your entry now reinforcing what I am learning. Book recommendation for you: “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. You are a writer and a singer, and you owe it to yourself, your loved ones, the world, and most of all, to God to keep writing and singing! Thanks for living in bravery 🙂

  10. Hello – My name is Jonnie. I bumped into your site trying to Google my own blog. Thank you. You are a writer. I have Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage 4B. I am not cancer, just have it. God helps us to find each other and it is a comfort to be with people who walk a similar path.

    Christ is the “BIG C” in my life. cancer is the small case word.

    Sing your songs,
    Jonnie Hickman

    • Jonnie, I am so glad you stumbled upon my blog. And thank you for affirming my writing and singing-I can’t tell you how much that means to me!!! I love your words-yes, we may have cancer, but we are not cancer. So true, even if in the midst of treatment it can be hard to remember.

      It is so wonderful to hear from someone else who has experience with NHL-thank you so much for commenting and please know that I will be praying for you, Jonnie.

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