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]