My Mr. Miyagi

A year ago I read Start by Jon Acuff. It completely changed my thinking, and my writing.

“Punch fear in the face.” He said. It resonated with me. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. Fear and insecurities were keeping me from sharing my story with others. I was holding back. I wasn’t writing with raw and beautiful honesty. I knew I was capable of more, but fear was getting the best of me.

Fear shut my mouth for eight months after my son, Elias, was born. I stayed in the dark, hiding under the covers. Hiding my son’s eyes that told people he had Down syndrome. Hiding my guilt about the things I felt and thought about my son.

“Be honest.” He said. I felt like he was writing just for me. I could physically feel my stomach turning.

But there’s so much, I thought. I wiped my tears and closed the book. It was too much to think about. If I tell my story, then people would read it! What would they say? Would they think of me as an unloving mother if I shared how I really feel sometimes? This was a defining moment in my life. I could either let fear hold me back forever, or I could break free and be transformed. 

I continued to read Start and struggled with how I was being challenged. But I felt a new freedom. It felt good to punch fear in the face, instead of it punching me! It felt good to ask God to give me strength to write with honesty, no matter how difficult it would be. I felt empowered to not worry what other people thought about my honesty, because I knew that God’s plan for my story was bigger than me. 

It has been a year since I read Start. Jon has inspired me to be brave, write with honesty, and not let fear motivate how I live. I guess you could say Jon has been my Mr. Miyagi of writing and punching fear in the face…and for that, I am grateful.

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© 2014 Natalie Falls