“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” ― William G.T. Shedd
I was never one of the “cool” kids in elementary school. It wasn’t that I lacked friends, but I didn’t quite fit in either. After all, I wasn’t born in this country. My name sounded foreign at a time when every girl seemed to be named Debbie, Terry, or Joan. No one had the name Anneliese. I also grew faster than most students and stood at 5’6″ (my current height) by the age of twelve. Add to that the fact that my church considered slacks for women a sin since it was men’s clothing, so I wore dresses or skirts until the fourth grade when my church became more lenient on that issue. The first time I wore long pants to school, I thought my friends’ eyes were going to pop out. I wanted to crawl under a rock and be as inconspicuous as possible. It felt safest to be unnoticed by the crowd.
I’m glad I outgrew my fears — for the most part. Forcing myself out of my comfort zone to experience life, I stood on a platform and played my recorder solo at school. I stood on several platforms over the years for various reasons. With my young family, I moved to Germany for four years and integrated quite nicely. I faced each fear and overcame it. Interestingly enough, the things that caused the most fear, gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment afterwards.
I love the above quote by William G.T. Shedd. We were not created to simply exist. God gave each of us gifts, talents, interests, and passions to be used. It’s our responsibility to look for ways to develop them in order to better the lives of others.
I’ve written a historical romance that will soon be published. You may be asking, how can anyone benefit from a romance? If you don’t know the answer, you obviously are not a Christian romance reader. And that’s okay. We’re all different. Our interests vary. If reading Christian historical romances is not for you, you won’t like my book. And that doesn’t hurt my feelings. There are books I don’t like reading either. But to answer the question, when you pick up a romance, or any fiction, and begin to get lost in its pages, you enter another person’s world. You feel their pain and their triumphs, and you learn lessons along the way. I read a story once where the main character always saw the positive side to everything. She consistently believed for the best in people. I want to be like her. Books inspire me to become a better person. By writing a novel, I’ve once again stepped out of my comfort zone to embrace life, and I hope to encourage someone in some way.
Dear reader, what are you afraid of trying? Is there a gift you haven’t allowed yourself to develop because of your fears? Or perhaps you have faced your fears and are already reaping the benefits. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.