be accountable to courage

It’s finally autumn in Austin. The trees are gradually giving up their summery leaves, relinquishing them slowly as they fall yellow and brown on the deck outside my door. I’m sitting on the sofa at our family lake house. The sofa faces a stark, empty fireplace that’s waiting for winter but I’m sitting perpendicular on the sofa so I can see the lake through the open patio door. Lake Austin is full of olive-green sparkles this morning, calling me ditch this laptop and sit on the shore. She’s a beautiful distraction.

Four days ago this little lake cottage held fifteen artists between the age of twenty-five and fifty-two. Women who drove in from all over the state to find encouragement concerning their art. It was our first Confetti Guide LIVE, an event Lauren and I created to help women find faith to live their ‘big God dreams from Concept to Confetti.’


In the middle of second session, I addressed the subject of how it takes courage to share art. Fear is something every artist struggles with in one way or another. The writer wonders if what she’s writing really matters. The painter questions if her anyone will like what she makes. The songwriter wrestles in realizing there are already a million songs out there. The designer thinks she shouldn’t share her work unless it’s perfect. I have discovered over and over:

The artist is afraid to share her work.

She feels insecure about what she’s doing and then she compares her work to others. And she’s paralyzed, unable to think, create and share. Fear is the root.

It takes great courage to share art.

I told the Confetti Guide creatives about my panic attacks at sixteen. About how I sat frozen under our bar counter until my parents came home because I couldn’t stay home alone because I was terrified. I remember what it’s like to feel afraid. But God rescued me from those fears. Miraculously freed me. I wrote all about it in my book, Unafraid: Trusting God in an Unsafe World.

I am a former fear-er by His grace.

And now I’m something of an evangelist about living free from fear. Because I recognize fear is a tool the Enemy uses to make you immobile and impotent, hiding from imaginary things that aren’t even happening. The problem with that kind of fear is that it’s based on anxiety, not reality.  And honestly, it just makes me sick to see so many people trapped in it.

Fear is a monster. It whispers things. To the artist, the mom, the sixteen-year-old kid.


For all the things the Enemy whispers in your ear, Jesus is there to reach under the counter … He says,

Stand up! Speak up, my love ~ you are free!

He died for our freedom. A holistic freedom of heart and mind. So we must be accountable to one another to live out the courage He died to give us. Accountable to courage.

Here are a few ways to live accountable to courage:

    1. Tell a friend. Talk to a friend about your fears. The Enemy uses shame to isolate you from other people. Break off the shame by being vulnerable with a safe person.
    2. Find an affinity group. Look for people who can strengthen courage in your life. The Confetti Guide is a group of creatives who long to live out their artistic big God dreams.
    3. Steep yourself in Truth. God’s Word is living and active, able to literally break off the Enemy’s hold on your heart and mind. This verse is the one that grounded me in bravery when fear threatened to shut me down.
    4. Make an appointment and see a Christian therapist. You might be bracing when you read this because you think that fear is not that big of a problem but fear is a problem for everyone and it invades life in weird ways. Last week, I met with a therapist to unlock why I was feeling shame (a by-product of fear) about some relational issues … and you know what? She helped me tremendously. Just do it.
    5. Engage in a study. Get some schooling on why fear is an issue in your life. The Unafraid Book Club To-Go is a 4 week tool to do just that. I want to sit down on your sofa and help you untangle these issues. Grab a few friends and let’s go!


Be brave today.

Take the steps.

Jesus is there for the fearful.

And I’m praying for you, too.

images 1 & 2: kate stafford photography     image 3: hilliary elizabeth creatives