Facing the Unfamiliar With Confidence

We’re into a brand new year – a pristine wilderness awaiting our exploration.

Among the comments on one of my recent posts was one that has stuck in my mind. A writing friend admitted that she faces the publication of her second novel with a degree of fear…. something she recognizes as mimicking an earlier fear that “if I didn’t somehow [fulfill the dream], life would be incomplete and I would be a failure.”

Did you ever see the 1981 movie, On Golden Pond? I’ve been remembering the part where Henry Fonda goes hiking in the woods behind his cottage – I think it was in search of wild strawberries.  His memory fails him and what was once well-known terrain becomes terrifyingly unfamiliar. Lost in the trees he eventually finds his way back to the safety of the cottage. When he tells Katharine Hepburn why he came running back he says, it’s where “I could feel safe. I was still me.”

Not everyone faces this New Year with eagerness. For some of us who have spent the past year(s) writing in the secluded comfort of our homes and offices, the unfamiliar now looms out there on the horizon. The focus changes from putting words on a page to approaching agents, submitting manuscripts, sending our work out into the public eye. No longer are we just writing for ourselves, but marketing our creation to the world.

When we find ourselves faltering in unfamiliar terrain, and in need of finding a safe place where we are “still me”, instead of hesitating, procrastinating, or running back to the familiar, we need to seek that glimmer of light beyond the fear – to be reassured by God’s promises that he is the light, he is our refuge, and he goes before us into every situation.

It’s a new year. Step out boldly and explore with confidence.


Is there anything upcoming that is causing you distress or fear? How do you plan to deal with it?


Light arises in the darkness for the upright. [Psalm 112:4]

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. [Psalm 119:105]


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

11 thoughts on “Facing the Unfamiliar With Confidence

  1. Well, it probably goes without saying, Carol, but facing the unfamiliar is exactly what I’ll be doing. I’ve been dragging my butt about finishing the edits/rewrites of my WIP, even though I’ve had agents express interest. And now I’ll be facing it without the shelter of a pen name. Scary stuff, indeed.

    Then again … I’m starting to get the message that maybe this was meant to be. 🙂

    1. I think you’ve made it over the biggest hurdle when it comes to becoming visible without the shield of your pen name. Now you just need to find the impetus to move ahead with those revisions. It’s a good goal for 2011.

  2. Your words left me teary. I’ve become an old sentimental fool. But you summed it up nicely. I was just telling Jaxpop that I’m stepping cautiously into 2011, one day at a time. Far less frightening that way.

    It’s been a honour sharing 2010 with you, Carol. Happy New Year.

    1. One day at a time is a good approach for a lot of difficult things. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [Matthew 6:34 NASB] I don’t doubt you’ll figure out a way to cope with life’s demands when they crop up. 🙂

  3. Thank you for an uplifting post, Carol. Your posts are always full of inspiration and truth. This is another one full of gracious words pointing to our God and His promises. Blessings to you…

  4. There are certainly things out there that could cause me fear and stress, but right now I am not allowing them to bother me.( This is not to say it won’t bother me somewhere down the road.) I am proceeding with faith at the moment, uncertain of what will happen but knowing that, after all is said and done, the outcome will in some way be to my benefit. Sometimes we just have to wait to see what will happen and not worry about it not happening when we want or expect it. I’ve learned over time that life doesn’t work that way.

    1. If I speculate on the possibilities that are way in the future, I can become very anxious. I like your approach. Faith says we may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1 NASB]

  5. What a great post!

    I am facing foot surgery this year. I’m not sure I’ll need it, but if I do, I will put myself in the Lord’s hands, believing that He will help the surgeon do an excellent job, so I can walk without pain and exercise once again.

    May your year be bright with the Lord’s love,

  6. This post moved me, Carol. I like how you move the needle on fear from the “putting words on the page” to each of the subsequent steps in the process. One challenge at a time, right? Thank you for the uplifting message. Really looking forward to your future articles.

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