(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Adventure of a Lifetime
Overcoming Your Fears in Facing Your Dreams
By Sarah Komisky
I walked into my college newsroom with a simple dream: to write. I didn’t know what it looked like, but as I registered for the class and took a seat at the conference table, I knew I just wanted to do what I loved. However, a few minutes into class, the consensus was clear; I was the only non-journalism major. A few days into class, the odds were against me. I was in an advanced course trying my best to absorb two years’ worth of media law, ethics, history, and theory all in the span of two weeks. Hmmm….a little too much? Rationally, one would think so, but I was not one to give up.
Some say A+B = C but while that is good for some, it’s not for all. I once got hired for an ABC type of job thinking it was what I needed. I was wrong. The job was not for me. God knew I probably would have been quite miserable in a 9-5 routine and saw it fitting that I should rather wear various hats instead, although it might be unconventional to some. I was much happier, and I was living out my dreams.
Some might say the ABC pattern for success is right because it’s safe and secure, but safety doesn’t bring the exciting, abundant life God promised when we are willing to not play it safe.Only the ones willing to take the risk with God on the course He designs for our dreams experience the greatest adventures and the greatest growth spurts in faith.
Dreams don’t have a “one size fits all” label. Dreams are rather custom-designed for each individual and God uses a unique path for each individual to get us there. Each time I took a step on the path of my dreams, it was through the most unusual places like a doctor’s office (offered a job to write medical newsletters), at a Zumba class (offered an English teaching position) or eating at Sizzler (offered by a family friend to write for a lifestyle luxury magazine). Yes, all quite out out-of-the-box, but that what happens when you’re willing to say yes to God and His leading.
Life becomes actually quite exciting and although it takes faith, I’d have it no other way. So, when people often ask me how to start something like Marked Ministry, my answer is always the same: take the path God gives you.
Back in the Old Testament, two guys named Caleb and Joshua were called to do the same thing.In order to get to the abundant land God promised, they had to slay giants that were occupying the territory one battle at a time. Numbers 13 tells us that after scouting the land and “seeing” the giants, the Israelite guys they were originally with them peaced out. Yet, it was Caleb who said,“let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30). When the Israelites chose fear over faith, they reverted to desiring to go back to Egypt where they felt a synthetic safety. Numbers 14 tells us in verses 5-9 that Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who were willing to go because they knew God was with them and they didn’t have to fear.
Fast forward to the end of the story and the only two originals who get to enter into this land are none other than Joshua and Caleb. Lesson learned: God can only accomplish our dreams if we are willing to go after them in faith, not fear.
My pathway to my dreams has had several giants on it, but God has been strong in my weaknesses; I could lean on His strength to conquer them and accomplish what I could not on my own. And when I overcame each fear, I felt like Rocky Balboa at the top of a staircase throwing my hands in the air in sheer bliss with God by my side. There is something absolutely thrilling about accomplishing something that is difficult.
Years ago, when I decided to not drop my newspaper class, the first fear I had to face was rejection. As a perfectionist, that was tough when I wanted to do so well and cared deeply what others thought.But when I was handed my first piece swimming in a sea of copy edits, I had to choose to take the opportunity to grow instead. Therefore, I unconventionally learned news writing through experience verses theoretically. I put myself out there, learned from my peers, and asked a ton of questions. As an introvert there were also challenges. My professor made the staff distribute weekly papers on campus by approaching random people and asking for feedback. Not the easiest thing for me at the time.
When I began writing for a magazine, my insecurity was buffeted. I was terrified of making a mistake with phone interviews and felt vulnerable (even though I was ambitious). At the time I would call professionals from companies like Tiffany’s and The Knot Bridal Magazine, and as a newbie that was super scary, but something I did in obedience with God’s help. When I began writing medical newsletters, I learned from Google how to do formatting and found research. Writing for a doctor could be intimidating when you’re young, but I chose to walk into another opportunity with God’s help to guide me.
In the next few years I would try submitting my own short fiction and got published. Then I took a playwriting class and with the help of my professor-mentor submitted an original play for a showcase. I didn’t make the final cut, but got close and I got to stage the same play for a final. But probably my greatest giant came when I applied to work at a sports publication.
One look at me and people laugh at the idea of me writing sports. I am no expert, but I do like watching them. So, again, I thought I could learn. I botched my first writing sample coupled with a condescending offer to try again by my male editor. So, I did. I took in the few tips my editor gave and learned from my dad everything there was to know about sports…at least in the next three days. I read newspapers, watched ESPN like nobody’s business and got to work.Guess what? I got the job! I was Rocky Balboa-ing it until I experienced a verbal form of sexual harassment from a co-worker that triggered me. Scratch the music. I started crying, asking God why He brought me here? I felt like self-protecting and getting out.
You see, I was deeply afraid of the interaction because I was carrying unresolved guy wounds from my past. My trust issues were still intact, and I cried out to God that I wanted out. Instead, He gently came by my side and told me that He would be my protector and I would be okay. Again, I said yes and miraculously, I began being respected and taken seriously. Even a head coach called our company to commend me. It was so God! When it was easy to quit, God wanted me to remain and not only did I live the dream, but I also conquered some serious fears in the process.
Being a journalist does have its challenges. Feedback can mold or break a person depending how you take it. Not everyone is nice to you. The field is a competitive, so rejection is frequent. There is also opposition for your faith when you’re willing to take a stand for Christ, but overshadowing all of this by far has been the blessings that have come with trusting God. I’ve seen hearts changed. I’ve had opportunities to talk to new people and see new places. I’ve tried new things and discovered I really like them!
Today, even though I am a dreamer who is a free spirit, loves people, and enjoys adventure, I’m still an introvert. While the shy part that comes with fear has been healed by God, I still can experience discomfort with things that don’t necessarily come naturally to me. Yet, these are the things I absolutely love like speaking at events, doing interviews, and meeting new people. In these places, God stretches me and allows me to lean on His ability verses my own in order to make a difference. Ironic that an incredibly shy girl could one day grow up to be transformed to walk in faith instead of fear, and the pathway to my dreams would be the vehicle God used.
Remember our Bible friends, Caleb and Joshua? They only saw blessings when they went into the land instead of retreating from it. The scared Israelites stayed stagnant and unbelief kept them out of the biggest adventure of their lives. Don’t let that be you! God has incredible things in store so why not go for it and go exploring? There might be giants in the path of your dreams, but God is bigger than all of them and will help you defeat them. “Adventure of a lifetime” is not just a Coldplay song, but the mantra God is writing for your life when it comes to your dreams. Let him lead. Let Him cast out your fears and enjoy the ride.