April 28, 2013

START. PUNCHING FEAR IN THE FACE, Confessions after starting Jon Acuff’s new book

I thought I was doing pretty good on the whole life thing until I got invited to speak at Catalyst Conference last week.  The gift basket from Brad Lomenick and his team contained a book that I'd like to kindly refer to as the wrecking ball.  It's a book I never would have chosen on my own, mainly because it's probably found in the highly intimidating business section of my local bookstore (making slow puke noises).  But as I looked through my generous Catalyst gift basket and the books it contained, I knew Jon Acuff's newest hardback was the one I needed to start reading first.


And not just because it's entitled START.


Let me give you a little back story.


Ever since GOD LOVES UGLY graced book shelves all over the world last September, I've been plagued with fear.  Yep, that's right, I said it.  FEAR.  Nasty, black tar, ugly, flesh-ripping fear.  But the funniest thing about that confession is that I've been very genuinely calling it super-Chrish things like ‘faith' and ‘rest.'  I've been referring to my apathy as ‘confidence' and ‘trust.'  Let me explain how this deception crept its way into the corridors of my heart.


If you've read my book or any of my past blogs, you know I struggled for most of my life with performance and perfectionism–mainly to make up for the fact that I absolutely hated every part of my existence and worked overtime to make sure no one saw how disgusting I really was.  Lies, lies, lies, but my truth for decades, nonetheless.   In fighting for freedom from the ‘performance queen' who always strived to be the best, the fastest, the most successful, and the most productive in ministry (I'm hearing Bon Qui Qui shout out I will cut you to anyone who got in my way!), the performance queen had unfortunately swung ridiculously far the other way.  Like, into the ‘Que, Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be'  category.


When my editor would bring up book sales, I'd quickly remind her, “I don't ever want to know how many books I've sold.  It's about the people!  Not about the book sales!”


Sounds noble, doesn't it?  Sounds caring and loving–like someone who has their ministry-to-money priories in check, right?


Unfortunately, what I'm realizing is that part of my response actually meant, “I'm too petrified to find out how many books I've actually sold.  What if it's awful?  What if it's embarrassing?  What if you made a mistake publishing little ole me?  What if I bore my soul for the world in this book and only a handful of people care about it?”


Here's where START helped me realize my disfunction.  I got to page 27 and began reading about how fear is schizophrenic: 


“Fear tends to argue both sides of the coin, leaving you absolutely no room to stand.  Here are two of the complete opposite things it will tell you:  “Don't chase your dream at all.”  And, “If you do chase your dream, you have to do it all at once.”  


If fear kept me from chasing my dreams, then surely my website bio proved that I didn't struggle with this.  In the past year, I've released a book with the second largest publisher in the world, squeezed a baby out without any drugs, have been a keynote speaker for Women of Faith's Revolve Tour, and saw a song I helped write hit number one on the Billboard charts.  Twice.  In years past, I've toured in arenas with some of the biggest artists in the world and graced the stage with legends.  Yep….I officially look awesome on paper.  (Cheers, people)


But the flip side of fear–the side that argues that if you chase your dreams, you have to do it all at once–now that's the one I'm realizing has taken its teeth and chomped on my brain.


CONFESSION.   And an example of this.  When I start reading a book, most of the time, I can't even enjoy the chapter I'm reading because I want so badly to be finished.  Yep.  That's a problem.


So God Loves Ugly is released and sitting on bookstore shelves.  An amazing feat!  But how do I get it to hit the NYTimes Best Seller list?

So One Thing Remains is a huge hit.  Awesome! How do I write another one every time I sit down with a guitar?

So I'm speaking to 2-3,000 girls every weekend with Revolve.  So cool!  How do I continue booking those kinds of gigs when it ends?

What happens when you reach your dream and you realize you didn't actually arrive….you just hit higher ground to discover there's always more to do and always another dream ahead?


Here's what my head has looked like the past few months:


Now that the book is out, I need to make curriculum.  People keep asking for it.

We have a nice camera to film with, but do we know what we're doing to make curriculum?  Most authors are church leaders who have a staff for this. We don't.

And who is going to keep Moses while we're filming?  A chatty baby in the background is less than professional.

Do I have time to write curriculum, travel every weekend, and be a full-time wife and mom?

I need a PA.

I need a manager.

I need a nanny who I trust for a few hours a week.

That costs money–do we have enough money for that?

And would you just look at all this laundry, these dishes, and this empty fridge? 

Where do I have time to clean house and make sure we're all fed while traveling, creating, and mothering?

(Throws hands in the air with glazed look on face)

I might as well just sit back, tell God I'm willing to walk through any doors He's willing to open, and in the meantime, I'll just watch other people's dreams come true on Shark Tank while playing with my kid.


Anyone know what I'm talking about?  Asking too many questions where your head begins to spin and you have no idea where to start?


My Studhub said the number one word I've used in the past few months to describe my circumstances has been ‘overwhelmed.'  Eeeeeeew.  Nasty little word–especially when my inheritance in Christ is peace.  I'm learning that nasty word is always rooted in fear.  Always.  If I feel overwhelmed at the task that lies before me, it's because I've bought into the side of the fear coin that says that I have to have it all done at once.  If I start the dishes, I must finish them.  If I start the laundry, I must finish it.  If I start curriculum, it must be done at record speed and at a sprinter pace.


So I don't start.  At all.


The past few days, after beginning Jon's brilliant book, I'm starting to take baby steps.  I'm starting things that don't need to be finished immediately. I'm starting things with purpose.  I'm starting days because the journey is the destination…the process we're in is the goal.

I've written ‘Some Beats None' on a post-it note on my mirror.

Now, there's a start.



If that's true, and SOME BEATS NONE, then what's the ‘some' you could start today?  What's a baby step you could take moving towards your dream?  Ok, maybe not even your dream, what about a baby step in getting your house cleaned?


Start something.  Even if it's small.


Take a moment and punch fear in the face.





8 Responses to “START. PUNCHING FEAR IN THE FACE, Confessions after starting Jon Acuff’s new book”

  1. It sounds as if you’ve already STARTED and you aren’t enjoying it. Makes me realize that as I ponder my success, am I enjoying the opportunities? Love Jon Acuff and glad he was able to speak into your heart.

    • Christa

      Hey Wendy!

      Yeah, definitely. But I start a lot of things and get crippled by fear and don’t START the road to finishing them. Isn’t fear a nasty little bugger? It keeps you from enjoying the journey!

      But I’m into smashing nasty little buggers. (:

  2. Wow Christa! You are speaking straight to my heart today. I have been feeling overwhelmed more and more lately… Not starting anything because it isn’t likely to get finished right away. And even if it did, would it make a difference? Never really tied my all or nothing attitude to fear until just now… Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I knew I started reading Jon’s book for some reason. Blessings~ Jenn

  3. Taiia Smart Young

    This was a dope post. I have asked myself the same questions and each time I feel myself talking me out of doing “it.”Just because I’m not sure of the starting point or how long it’s going to take me to get it done, or the cost of doing X or if I am doing it right. Thanks for the reminder that I am not alone and that I have to start, somewhere, anywhere and just get moving. Once you have momentum, it’s harder to slow down.

  4. So thankful for your honesty. When I saw your instagram pic of you on the beach with your son and husband (and amazing body ;)) jealousy came over me … not proud of it, but it did. It seemed like your life was perfect, and I got jealous. (I do wish you allll the happiness in the world though!). Just thankful that you give us a glimpse into your behind the scenes and let us know everything is always a work in progress. And that God is faithful.

    • Christa Black

      Girl, my life IS perfect….for me! (: I still fight with my hubby, my son gets cranky, and yep, I still have cellulite! The great thing is….I’m working with purpose towards health in my relationships….so everything falls in alignment after that priority. The reason why my life looks awesome is because I live with that as the goal….and my relationships are rich, stretching, growing, and life-giving! Everything else is just details. (: Thanks so much for your comment girl!

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