In the book Start, author Jon Acuff shares how the voices of fear and doubt prevent us from starting on a goal or dream. The voices are very similar for all of us, regardless of the goal, dream or aspiration. The voices in our head get louder and louder as we take on work that matters.
Maybe you’re like me and you want to write; maybe you want to take on a new hobby, like playing guitar or running. But the voices tell you can’t do it. You’re not good enough. Or maybe the voices are telling you it’s too late to work on your marriage. (P.S. It’s never too late).
The lies and voices have plagued me for years – this is what prevented me from starting to write both this blog and my book. The voices in my head tell me I’m not qualified, I’m too sinful (I see myself like Paul does in 1 Timothy 1:15 as the chief of all sinners), I don’t have enough time or that I will inevitably fail if I try something significant.
Acuff lists out three specific voices most, if not all of us encounter when we want to ‘Start’:
1. Who are you to do that?
This is the voice that tells us that we are unqualified to take something big on. It’s a voice that builds our fears and says we do not have the right background, education, or qualifications to pursue a dream. For me, this is the voice that says I am not qualified because others have more years of training, more years of marriage, or more years of ministry. I believe I am disqualified because I am not as brilliant a writer as others out there. This voice is the loudest in my head.
2. You’re too late
This is the voice that tells us that we are late in the game; that if we had more time we could get it all done, or that others are already further ahead so there is no need to even start. I struggle with this one as well. Somehow I believe the lie that says it’s all been written and there is nothing new I can offer, so don’t even start. It’s the voice that tells me later is better than now. Which leads to the third…
3. It has to be perfect.
This is the voice that tells us we shouldn’t even start something unless it is perfect, everything looks great, and you have answers to all of your questions. This is the voice that prevented me from starting this blog years ago, when I didn’t have everything figured out.
According to Acuff, the way to battle the voices is to:
- Document them – write them down and combat the lies with truth. I do this often with lies I believe about my sin. I write down the lie and counter it with truth from God’s Word.
- Share your voices – expose what lies you believe to the world. Share with community, share with your spouse and expose your hidden lies and voices to others. This reminds me of Proverbs 28:13b – ‘He who confesses his sin will find mercy.’ Even if the confession is not a sin, you will find mercy from others when you share the lies you believe.
Overall, I highly recommend the book Start, by Jon Acuff. Check it out if you are looking for a good read this summer and want to “escape average and do work that matters.”
How about you? What are the lies you believe that prevent you from Starting? Which voice is the loudest? Are there other voices that speak even louder than the ones listed above? What are you afraid of sharing or doing out of fear that others will mock or reject you? Are you afraid of being vulnerable?