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Author, Jeanette Hanscome

Hello from Jeanette. Today I spent 20 minutes in the backseat of our car with a trembling 50-lb dog. Car rides turn our pit mix, Belle, into a spineless mutt. They trigger memories of shots and other unpleasant vet visits. I assured Belle that we were only going to PetSmart to get her nails trimmed but she continued to squeal and pace, starring helplessly out the window, silently pleading to passersby, “Help me! I’m on my way to the manicurist. It’s so scary there.” I teased Belle about being a big baby, reminded her of her bread, but nothing worked. We dragged her into PetSmart, handed her over to the torturers  . . . I mean the guy with the clippers, and waited for the wails. Of course we heard none. Like a two-year-old who only cries long enough to make Mom feel guilty for leaving her in the church nursery, she was fine as soon as we walked away with our receipt. We returned in ten minutes to a relaxed dog. The clipping was over. And it wasn’t so bad. In fact, judging from the look on her face, it felt good to have those claws out of the way. All that whimpering for nothing.

So what does this have to do with writing, speaking, and book promotion? A lot, actually.

As I reassured our terrified dog, I reflected on how often I freak out at the thought of facing something that seems scary. When my first book came out and a friend reminded me that I should visit our local Christian bookstores and introduce myself as a local author, I learned the true meaning of “with fear and trembling.” She offered to go with me and I still walked into each store with my hands shaking, sure that I knew what a heart attack felt like and that I was having one. But as we debriefed over lunch, I looked back on the experience as a wonderful time. I was a local author! And the bookstore owners in Reno and Sparks were carrying my book!

A couple of years later, I accepted an opportunity to speak to the girls in our church youth group about the importance of treating their bodies well, based on my experience with an eating disorder and other self-destructive behavior. Then it hit me that I would be talking to girls that I’d known since they were eight. I would tell them things that they did not know about me, and they would go home and tell their moms and dads what Jeanette Hanscome used to do. I’d written articles about these things and spoken to other groups. Many of my friends knew what God had freed me from. But something about telling those girls from church made me rethink my choice. Until I started sharing and sensed them listening intently. Suddenly the idea of them going home and giving a full report didn’t make me wonder if I should skip services that Sunday. As a speaker I needed to learn to open up to strangers and familiar faces, and with God’s strength I really could do it.

The writing life calls us to some uncomfortable places. We must step out of our shyness to promote our books, drop our pride to speak or write about our darkest secrets, and send our work to publishers knowing it might be rejected. How often do we whine like a dog going to get her nails clipped, only to bounce back into the car with a big smile saying, “That wasn’t so bad. In fact, when can I do it again?”

So what frightening adventure is on your schedule? Ask God to give you His courage, even in your fear and trembling.

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About Jeanette Hanscome

Jeanette Hanscome is the author of four books and over 400 articles, devotionals, and stories for both teens and adults. Her recent work includes a story for Guideposts magazine, a chapter in Rescue Dogs, Firefighting Heroes and Science Facts, and the short story Gifts, Volume 12 in the 12 Days of Christmas series. Her newest book, Running with Roselle, was co-written with blind 9/11 survivor and New York Times Bestselling author Michael Hingson. When she isn’t writing, Jeanette offers services as a freelance content editor and writing coach, and enjoys teaching writers. Jeanette lives in the Bay Area and feels blessed to be the mom of two amazing sons.

2 Thoughts on “With Fear and Trembling

  1. LOL, perhaps (she says smiling) there is truth to God’s command to not worry and fear – it doesn’t add a day to our lives. And so many of the things that I have worried about never came to pass.
    This reminds me of the time my son, when he was five, needed immunizations. In the doctor’s office he screamed so loud people were probably wondering about the fatal injury victim. He got his injection, the doctor told him, “It’s done.” He immediately stopped crying – he hadn’t felt the shot at all.
    You are right, once we are clipped by God it always feels better and we have a testimony!
    Have a blessed day!!!

  2. Your post comes at a perfect time for me. For some reason, it appears that God is moving me more and more in the direction of teaching–about writing and other things. I love to teach but have always had stage fright. But now I am in over my head, with a loaded schedule of teaching local workshops and, in March, at the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference. No turning back now! But He has also given me total peace about it all, and once, when I would have normally been terrified, I am actually really looking forward to it!

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