Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Little Secret

Warning! This post might border on the personal. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, you might want to click on to the next blog.
I get intimidated easily. Not by annoying telemarketers who call my house despite the no-call list—not by rude line-hoppers who barge in front of me at the post office—not by my daughter’s off the cuff remarks about my baggie jeans.

So who makes me feel like hiding under my chair? Who makes me feel like a six-year old child starting her first day of school? Who makes me wonder if I’ll ever measure up?

I’m not sure I have enough space here but for starts—those people who can memorize God’s word(I never ever could), the women who teach ladies groups,(I’d faint) all the people who are just more spiritual than I am. Pathetic, I know.

Sometimes if you talk about something or pull that elephant out into the room—it disappears.

I’m going to be 54 years old tomorrow and I wonder when do I start to feel confident? When do I feel all grown-up? Been in church since I was a child (minus a few running around years) and should know my stuff. Ask me to tell you a particular verse and I have to thumb through my Bible to find it. Stand up in front of people?? I’d rather watch a room full of babies for a month.

This whole intimidation thing also runs over into my writing. Now hang on, this is where I get really honest.

I get intimidated by writers who have been published by the big companies. Last summer, I had the opportunity to meet many of these writers and interview them. Picture sweaty palms and squeaky voice. When I sat down with Karen Kingsbury, I called her Karen Kingsley. My favorite writer and I messed her name up. I couldn’t get under that chair fast enough. I hate to even leave comments on websites of those who have several books to their names.

So how did this happen? And when does it all go away? I’m not really sure it does for some of us. I still feel like shaking in my shoes when someone sends me an edit in red. I always hated getting bad grades.

So now I’ve bared my soul—my deepest darkest secret. A good way to start a new year.

Maybe I should hold my breath as I click post.

Happy Day and hope you can throw off all your fears too!


Lin said...

writing about your fears helps...morning pages they are called, check out julia cameron's artist's way books. give voice to the fears and don't listen any more. just a suggestion.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri, I get intimidated really easily, too - it's something I struggle with every day. Online I'm okay; I shine, even, because there's that filter, that protective barrier, we have when communicating through the internet. But in person? Shoot. I can be an awkward, tongue-tied girl who can't look people in the eye very easily. Even just picking up my daughter from school can make me nervous, because I might have to interact with someone. And what do I say?

As for your spiritual intimidations, just remember He gives us different talents, and intends us for different purposes. Maybe yours isn't to recall Scripture easily - maybe it's to be a supportive friend who always offers prayer and loving guidance. Because you're sure excellent with that. *hugs*

Jen said...


Feels better to get that out there, doesn't it? I think a lot of writers (and even people in general) struggle with feelings like you talked about. I know I do, too, anyway.

If it makes you feel a little better, you should know that I gave you a blogging award. :)

Yolanda said...


If you could live on the inside of my skin, you would probably be amazed at how many things I do afraid, just because I truly believe God has nudged me to do this or to do that, all out of my comfort zone.

Happy Birthdy to you!

Thank you for keeping it real....let's step into DO NOT FEAR. ;-)


Jody Hedlund said...

I get intimidated by published authors too as if somehow they're in a different class than me. I know they probably don't feel that way, but I feel like I'm just not a "good" enough writer yet to rub shoulders with them!

It will be interesting to see how we feel someday when we're the published ones and we're talking to the newbies! Hopefully we can stay humble!

Jan Cline said...

Being able to admit your fears and weaknesses is a sign of great spiritual maturity as far as I am concerned! You obviously have great talent and it's God given. That means He will supply your need for courage and confidence. I personally have the opposite problem - great in front of a group but shy in personal settings. Keep invisioning yourself as a leader - you have what it takes! god bless

Carmen Gamble said...

I SO relate! I can't believe you got to interview Karen Kingsbury, how great is that?! I recently joined a writing group and felt intimidated too. I took a big gulp and jumped in, and so far they've been very gracious with me! Personally, I have to remember that I'm doing this for the love of writing, and if something good comes out of it...praise God! Otherwise I'm just a mess!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Thank God we don't all have the same gift! How boring life would be!

Your gift may not be being out there in front, but you have other gifts that I envy...the gift of telling stories that move me to tears, laughter and bless me.

I would trade my gift of being the one out in front, for the one who could be in the background and write personal, real life stories in such an awesome way!

giddymomof6 said...

Terri! Happy Birthday tomorrow! How exciting for you! And guess what... heheheh!

EVERYONE gets scared. Everyone. It's just some of us know how to hide it better than others. Every actor before going on stage gets scared. Every teacher before teaching a class gets scared. Every interviewer gets scared. You just have to realize that we're all people every one of us. And even the most popular author in the world would want to know that their book was loved. So never worry about compliments and comments. LOL! Besides you're so awesome, there are some days I'm surprised you've left a comment for me! Jenni

Cindy said...

They say the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Or at least that's what people tell me when I say I get intimidated by such things as those you mentioned. It truly frightens me to stand up in front of a group, particularly people who I feel are more spiritually mature than me, and speak. It does run over to writing, too, especially when I have to talk about my writing. Last night I met with a group of old friends and they asked me what my book was about. I felt heat in my face at being put on the spot and I blubbered out an answer that probably made my book sound horrible. I don't know how to get over this irrational fear but I sure think it's wonderful and helpful that you're sharing how you feel with everyone else because sometimes we can all feel alone in it. And that you even had the guts in interview Karen Kingsbury is pretty awesome!

jinksy said...

Very Happy Birthday Tomorrow !

If you feel intimidated when speaking to people, have you tried the old trick of simply imagining them in the nuddy? Has to make you braver straight away! x

Ginger said...

Happy Birthday! I am so impressed that you are able to freely express your fears through your writing. We all have things that intimidate us. Speaking in front of adults at one point really bothered me, even just as recent as a couple of years ago.

Though the struggles in my life, God has helped me to better face that fear and share with others. It's all in His time.

Embee said...

Happy Birthday!

If I knew any published authors, I'd probably be intimidated by them too, but hopefully someday we'll be among their ranks and then we'll see they're just like us!

Beth in NC said...

Happy Birthday!

Girl, I don't have a clue who is a published author and who isn't. However, one day I believe I will be (my heart's desire) an author of many books. :o) (Nothing like having a vision, right?)

I'm sure you wanted to climb under your chair when you said her name wrong. I'm sorry! That sounds like something I would do! :-/

I am constantly having to remind myself that we are all JUST people.

Bless you for sharing your heart!


Sassy Granny ... said...

I spent most of my young life being intimidated. I had 3 older sisters (15,13,7 yrs older), and often I felt like I had 4 mothers and could do no right. What a drag! I also attended parochial schools, and those nuns really did a number on my head (until I became a Protestant and got even with all of 'em). Then I married a bully (he's over it now) and always felt less-than.

So ... somewhere along the way I got guts (aka Godly value). Don't ask me how. I really believe it was a God thing. There are times when I'm intimidated by some people, or some situations ... but I've found a sense of humor really helps. Right now I'm doing my best to get over the intimidation of my bathroom scales. Talk about sweaty palms!

Bless you, friend. I so appreciate your authenticity.


Pat said...

So, our Terri Tif, isn't the cool, calm, collected person we all know leading a writers group and doing hot-shot interviews. Well, well, well ; ) (Karen Kingsley - what a hoot!)

I have come to firmly believe in the Ministry of One. That, "One is as important as ninety nine." This wasn't some great insight I stumbled across, it was something God told me when I was lamenting over the fact that as a writer I wanted to reach the masses! Isn't that what a writer does? And besides, I still haven't figured out my place in this writers world so I thought I'd give God a nudge.

Well, He nudged me back with this 'One' thing.
Sometimes, many of us are called to touch someone's life, one at a time. One person, one prayer, one deed at a time. And that deed might be something we write.

We're not all called to be speakers, or leaders, but to follow the path God has prepared for us each and everyday which will cross someone else's life-path - the person who is important enough to Him to leave the ninety-nine waiting in the auditorium for Beth Moore. ; )

Happy Birthday Miss Terri Tiffany. Hope it's a Princess day for you.


MichaƩle said...


Angie Ledbetter said...

You sweet goober, memorizing Scripture doesn't make you a better servant! Sharing, doing, giving, living it DO!

I'm not much on public speaking either. *shiver* But I don't mind yapping in small groups (have ya noticed?) or with writing. I guess not too much intimidates me...because I just don't care that much. LOL Maybe you fear being judged by others? But you shouldn't...YOU'RE GREAT!


AnooCre8ion said...

Happy birthday Terri. Hope you have a wonderful day.

I can identify with a lot of what you say. I have been a very shy person for almost all my life that I know. I was a person with no social skills at all. If I saw you in the distance and I realize you had not seen me, I would go another direction just so I won't have to talk to you.

I never wanted to go out to events, parties, fairs, nothing of the sort because it meant me having to talk with people and I just couldn't get it done.

I went to church and immediately after church (not exaggerating) I would leave, never stayed around to fellowship.

What changed?

When I started to read and meditate on God's word. Seriously. The more I read it and the more I thought about it, it kept giving me strength, it made me bolder.

Nothing did it for me like the word of God. So now even though I still have fears I'll just do what I feel I have to because of the strength of the word.

Without Him I honestly would crawl under a rock and hide.

You are doing a great job. You have been such an encouragement and an inspiration.

As Joyce Meyer says, 'do it afraid.'


Angie said...

Hi, met you over at Greg's General Store and thought I'd pay a visit. Glad I did. I think we can all relate to what you're saying on some level.

Isn't it wonderful that God chooses people with weaknesses and struggles like you have mentioned? I can't help but think of Moses. It's exhilarating and scary at the same time, I suppose.

Personally, I too am working on surrendering some similar fears to Him.

It's so nice to meet you.


Angie said...

p.s. I would highly recommend a book titled Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I'm reading it right now and it's extremely helpful to me.

Jessica said...

Happy Birthday!!!!
Intimidation stinks, but sometimes I wonder if they feel intimidated by you? You marvelous writer. :-)
Since it's confession time, I'll confess to being intimidated by women who know how to put their make up on, have cool haircuts and nice nails.
Hope you're having a wonderful Birthday!

Pat's Place said...

Happy Birthday to you! And I like you just the way you are!!

Stina Rose said...

I understand 100%! I'm not afraid of getting up and talking to a group of people, if I have a reason to be doing it - but make me talk one on one with someone I don't know and I am completely intimidated!

I just dropped by to let you know that I have enjoyed following your blog, and have given you a blog award! :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Wow - guess what? you are...are you ready for this, for this honest from are...Human! *gasp* yes, ...I'm sorry to relay that to you...but, are Human....

*smiling* and a very nice wonderful Human, to boot...

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh my stars at the comments, you really touched on something!!!!

I have to tell ya, one of my favorite thing about our walk with Christ is that is a process, we don't have to get it all at once and we are not all be gifted with the same things either.

When I first began to feel this pull to write I would not even share with anyone that I was doing it, talk about being a fraidy cat!!! I simply had this view of writer as being really smart highly educated people. I do not have a collage degree and I am just a normal regular mom type person, why would anyone care what I had to say???

However the more God pushed me and the more I began to get my feet wet, I noticed the less and less fear I had. I still have a huge stumbling block regarding submitting anything (well I have only done it on a very limited basis, so maybe I really am a scardy cat) I am still working on several things but they are all in various stages of completion.

One of the things I have learned is that the only way to over come your fears is to simply bite the bullet and do them. I have been in several leadership positions for many large functions and forced to speak in front of semi large groups as well as lead workshops for various things in our church as well. This type of thing comes naturally to only a very small amount of people, and if they are honest they will share that they all get the jitters before stepping up to the mike.

The scripture thing, well I have to tell you my favorite solution to that one is I can give the the heart of the verse and I will get back to you with the specifics, perimenapause and scripture memorization at times do not mix. God does give me the occasional glimpse of clarity to be able to pull one out of my brain. I will say that I see a very real need for scripture memorization in that it does give you the tools to have at you disposal during those time of trial. When lightning strike in my personal life it is amazing at how just the right piece of scripture will pop into my brain, God is good!

Happy Birthday Girlfriend!

Your questions and sharing keep us on out toes!

Me, I will do just about anything to prevent a conflict and I am horrible at thinking quickly on my feet. I always think of just the right thing to say once I have gotten home and the situation that caused me the discomfort is over.

I had some stuff to say didn't I!

Great post!


sarah said...

Terri, you're awesome. Thank you for sharing your heart here. Sarah

Cheryl Wright said...

Befor I say anything else:

You're not alone.

Write despite of your fears. Write inspite of them.

It's quite all right to bare your fearful soul to us here and other writers you get up close and personal with. When you, when we do that, bare our fearful souls, we connect on a deeper level with one another. We feel as if we really know one another. We become kindred writers.

I highly recommend The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes. You will see yourself on every page beginning on page one, just as I did.

I share your dirty little secret but by writing my way through it and a host of others, I am learning to transcend my fears. Plus as my confidence grows, so does the strength of my voice and the quality of my writing.

When my dirty secret fears threaten to sabotage a conversation, an interview, an assignment, a request, a speech, I ask myself, "Are you going to let them see you sweat or hear you falter?"

I'm learning to answer almost every time, Hell no!

You're not alone Terri Tiffany. I'm right up there(or is it down there) with you. Together we can be the writers we want to be despite and inspite of our fears. Yes, we can do this - you in your corner of the world and I in mine. Plus your readers here and elsewhere, we've got your back girlfriend.

LauraLee Shaw said...

You are so cutE!!!!

If there is one thing I've learned, it's that people would rather hear about your weaknesses than your strengths...sad, but true.

In your vulnerability, I see a sense of humor layered throughout. I think you have it all in good perspective. This weekend, I went to a conference. I met Patsy Clairmont, June Hunt, Stephen Arterburn, Nancy Rue, Colleen Coble, Mary DeMuth, Gary Chapman, the Harris twins, Karol Ladd, and others. It was Intimidation Central as a writer/author. I felt small in the sense of my talent, but God brought me around to reminding me that HE is the One behind their gifts. Took awhile, though.

Anyway, I get what you're saying, and though I don't know you that well, I think you are wonderful. YOur comments of encouragement alone have made a huge difference in my writing. You have very special insight into situations, and you write about them as only you can. Uniquely and Specially created by the Lord.

Love you, friend.

KelliGirl said...

you're preaching to the choir, sister! I would rather bathe cats than speak in front of a large group.

That said, in the past several years God has pushed me way out of my comfort zone and I've followed. Since then I lead a women's study, delivered a breakout workshop at a women's retreat, I've read things I've written in front of 70 prison inmates and recently I led them in prayer during worship (twice). Wow! Just recalling these steps now I praise God. Let me tell you, if a scaredy-cat like me can do it, so can you! And I didn't say I think I'm good at it or enjoy it, but I've said YES and God has definitely blessed me!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A beautiful post on the threshold of another year's worth of living! I think we all feel this way at certain times in our lives. I have felt this way a thousand times over; No matter where we look, we can always find someone who seems to have "more" of what we "don't", thus, leaving us feeling somehow "less than." I couldn't write those words if I hadn't experienced them.

I've always found that in my most "vulnerable" posts, I receive the most feedback. Why?

Because it's relatable (is that a word?).

With every day that we live, if we're living it in obedience to the what we believe to be God's calling upon our lives (really, that can be boiled down to one be HIS), then our confidence will grow as we go. When I consider some things I'm doing today that I wasn't even doing last year, well, shudder the thought! It makes me hopeful for what awaits.

This will be a good year for you, Terri. Keep to it, dear one. I love your passion and heart and the woman that you are!!!


Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, I am so with you on this. Memorization isn't my thing, either, and confidence is another I have an issue with.

I remember as a teenager coming home from a particularly bad day at school and saying to my mother, "It must be nice to finally know it all, be able to live in confidence."

I was blown away by her response. Mom said something like this: "Eileen, there is no such thing, at least not for me. I'm constantly regretting and correcting myself, and wishing I knew more, too."

And so the cycle continues, but I find strength to go on in knowing that God made me just as I am. As long as I thirst for his knowledge and seek it, then I know I'm on the right track. Memorization skills He did not give me, however, I'm a mean study of the concordance in the back of my Bible. Maybe that's why He inspired someone to create such a marvelous appendix to books, for those He chose not to bestow that gift on.

He made us all different for a reason, I'm sure of it.