Starting When You're Terrified of Mistakes or Feeling Insecure

I had been staring at my new journal for more than fifteen minutes holding my colored pencil in hand and positioned over the blank dotted page. It was time and I just couldn’t do it. 

How do you see trials?
I've learned that God sees trials differently than we do. He sees them as a gift to help us grow.


God Promises to Fulfill His Plans for Us

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Journal Categories

After talking with a friend a few weeks ago about balance in life, she suggested I needed to make time to be creative. After sharing how journaling had helped her, she gave me a list of basic supplies I would need to get started. As soon as we got off our call, I ordered the supplies.

I was sitting there staring at the brand-new journal, full of empty dotted pages. Overcome with fear, I couldn’t make myself draw that first line. I decided to lean into my emotions and ask myself the question, “What am I afraid of?” I discovered multiple answers.

#1 - Comparison!

My friend had shown me pages from her journal. They were beautiful. I found myself not wanting to draw my first line, because I knew it wouldn’t look like hers. She was more talented than I was, and way more creative.

#2 - Fear of failure.

I’ve never done anything like this before. What if it looks like a three-year-old drew it? What if I mess up the very first page? What if I discover that I’m not creative?  

#3 - I might embarrass myself.

Sunday morning in church, a woman I knew but didn’t know she journaled was sitting in front of me. She opened her journal, and I saw her pages were filled with beautiful writings and colorful drawings. I decided if I ever started, I would leave my journal at home. I couldn’t risk opening it and someone looking over to see my pages. I would be so embarrassed.

#4 - I don't know what I'm doing.

I had all the supplies I wanted to try, yet I still sat staring, waiting. I had no idea what I was doing, and that paralyzed me from even trying. 

I knew I needed help to deal with my fears, so I laid down my colored pencil and closed my journal. I opened my bible and decided to sit with Jesus for a few moments. I began to read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 in The Message, and I found answers jumping off the pages. 

#1 - Verse 20-21

“I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.”

“I was comparing incorrectly. Comparison is something that is rarely done effectively.”

I needed to look at my friend’s journal and be inspired. I’m not trying to become the artist my friend is, I’m trying to find the creative inside of me. I could look at her beautiful pages and find the inspiration to discover my creativity. It is so important that I surround myself, whether I am writing or drawing with people who show me themselves and encourage me to be me. Which is exactly what my friend was doing. 

#2 - Verse 23

“I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”

“I had to figure out the why!”

I was terrified because I was stuck in the “What If’s.” I was asking myself the wrong question. I needed to ask, “Why is this important to me?” The answer? “I’m trying to find balance in my life and exploring something new in journaling.” As soon as I changed the question, my fear of failure went away. The only failure is in not trying. I may discover I love bullet journaling, or that it’s not for me. Trying something new always brings a discovery and that is growth. 

#3 - Verse 24

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athlete’s race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win.”

“I needed to run my own race!”

When an athlete is running a race, the only thing that matters is how they run. The only way to win is to run. When I looked at my friend’s beautiful journal in church, I started trying to run her race and almost quit running mine. My race, my journal is not supposed to look like hers or anyone else’s, it needs to look like mine. There is no embarrassment when I run my own race. 

#3 - Verse 25-26

“All good athletes train hard…I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”

“Confidence comes from training!”

I had all the supplies, and I was motivated. The problem? I was expecting perfection without training. The solution? I Googled bullet journaling on my computer. I began to read articles and watch videos. I printed out pages of pictures and letters I wanted to draw. I was setting myself up to succeed because now I felt like I could start. 

As I sat thinking about the conversation with my friend that started it all, I remembered something she said. At one point in our conversation, she said, “I gave myself permission to make a mistake.” So, I did just that. 

I told myself, “You have permission to mess up.” My new journal has 200 pages in it. I have named it my training journal. I have 200 pages to train and learn.

So, did I ever draw the first line? “YES, I DID!”

I love the feel of the paper, the smell of the markers and the joy of looking at how my drawings and writing change every time. 

I am finding balance in doing something fun and creative. 

I put the journal and supplies in my bag when I leave the house. I want to have them close in case I’m inspired, or I need to write something down

I am so thankful I finally drew my first line and started. I have come a long way in training for my race in a very short time. Now, I even proudly open my journal in church. 


I want to challenge you to go through your catalogs, those in your house, and especially the ones in your mind. Ask yourself questions like,

“Am I living in the past?”
“Am I living in isolation thinking that will protect me?”
“Where is my focus when it comes to those painful memories?”

So what am I going to do with all my catalogs in the basket in my office today? I am going to toss them all. 

While the photos are fun and the thought of buying something new can feel good, I want to live in this moment, enjoying what I have. 

How about the catalogs in my mind? I’m going to live in this moment as well, putting my focus on “BECAUSE OF,” and celebrate who I have become.