Five Minute Friday: Afraid

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Every week I write with a gang of courageous storytellers who gather time and again to share lives, and burdens, and blessings, and the everyday ordinary that pulses just beneath each word prompt. And every week it’s different. But we all share one thing in common. We are all there to write, from the novice hobby blogger to the aspiring author to the published.

We know words mean something.

We know that we want ours to matter. And any writer who is honest will admit this can leave you paralyzed cold because the unsubscribe notice in your email with no reason checked will leave you with a thousand guesses to where you words faltered. Where did they fail? If you let it, it will plague you with insecurity and you will be afraid to push publish again, because you know you could never please everyone. And deep in your heart you want to. Please people. And when you feel your words don’t matter, it hurts. A writer’s words are a part of them as surely as a limb, and just as easily afflicted.

But you, you are brave. You have stepped up again this week and risked being misunderstood or ignored, for the chance to be heard and seen and grafted in.

We are all here to step into a small part of our dream of sharing words and tentatively advancing into community where words reveal not just a little more about us each week but all of us. That we can be seen and accepted, just as we are. No matter the eloquence of phrase or the simplicity of concepts, we are all crafting a divine message. He in us, the hope of Glory.

It really is the most extraordinary community. We are more than a mutual admiration society where we flounce from blog to blog sprinkling nice comments and fairy dust. We occupy twitter with our hashtag every Thursday and Friday but what happens is more than the sum of retweets or comment count or likes. It is the building up of a body.

We bend knees in prayer, lift sick bodies and troubles, confess the messy broken and find laughter in talk of Tastycakes, and how to order a good Cheesteak in Philly, and of course our hatred and unbridled fear of Spanx which may or may not be related to the aforementioned snack talk.

We may come tentative but we leave unafraid. Because we find the more we give of ourselves in this community, the more we see that His promises are true. Perfect love, that selfless love that only God provides, casts out all fear. We may enter afraid of our talent, our dreams too tentative and fragile to say in more than a whisper but we leave with resolve. We leave with our hearts bolstered because this is how the daughters of God get things done. We speak life. We gather broken. We tell truth.

This is my love letter to you beautiful ladies who gather each week and make me love being a writer. I love you all to pieces! You know who you are.

A flash mob of writers, a community of sisters, a glorious chorus of voices knit together in fellowship. Join us? This weeks word: Afraid

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


  1. says

    BAM! You’ve done it again. Wonderful words strung together to portray oooooo sooo much.
    Thank You for speaking life and for telling truth.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks Fiona. I loved yours as well. I used to listen to a worship cd my father had all in Hindi and it was so beautiful. I really wish I spoke another language. It’s on my bucket list. I should probably get to that someday. 😉

      • says

        Woah……I sang in Nepalese…….very close to Hindi…..
        I need to get cracking on my ‘afraid’ post….I haven’t had any brain space today….
        Enjoy your weekend.

        • Alia Joy says

          What!? That’s where I lived as a girl. In Nepal. Crazy! I subscribed to your blog so I’ll have to catch up with your story.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Jacque, love you so much, friend. Sometimes I watch the inRL video and just smile. You are such a gift.

  2. says

    Oh, your words made me smile. I wasn’t feeling all that brave when I wrote and when I hit publish but as I read your words… I feel shimmers of courage moving up and down my spine.

    THANK YOU for writing such a heartful piece and sharing it for all of us. Happy Five Minute Friday!

    • Alia Joy says

      I’m so glad Julie. When I get freaked out, I go back and read these posts to remind myself that I did feel brave once and that I can again. I’m glad you posted anyway! Happy Five Minute Friday to you too!

  3. says

    I am not sure why this still gets me… “the unsubscribe notice in your email with no reason checked will leave you with a thousand guesses to where you words faltered. Where did they fail?” But I unchecked the email notification box, because it would knock the wind from these sails each time.

    And this, all of this IS the building up of the Body. I so agree. My heart is agreeing with you and praising God at the same time. Beautiful write.

    • Alia Joy says

      Ugggh, I know. I really need to change my feedblitz settings because it just wrecks me. And then I think, why do I care so much? That shouldn’t be how it is. And then I go round and round about whether I should be writing or just quit the whole thing. Really, it’s such a bother. And this is what it is about right here, not the people who don’t read this blog. Ok. going to change my settings right now before I forget. Thanks, friend.

  4. says

    It IS an extraordinary community! And I so appreciated your comment on my blog tonight after sharing about panic attacks! :) You blessed my heart! And my daughter who has had the 3 open heart surgeries – her middle name is JOY! :) Like yours!

    • Alia Joy says

      Loni, I am so glad you felt loved on and encouraged. I see so much strength in you. And you obviously have great taste in names. 😉

  5. says

    So glad to be a part of this community, even though I miss the conversations involving spanx (which I’m probably totally okay with) :) . Thanks for writing, reading, and inviting others to join you…

  6. says

    Wow, Alia!
    You, and those in your “Five-Minute-Friday” bunch are really BLESSED!!
    I long for times of fellowship, fellow-sharing, and community…
    I Do enjoy solitude.
    I also enjoy being with other believers!
    When I was young, I never lacked for an activity or time to share. I was always participating, active, and regularly hanging out with others, supporting each other, praying, crying, sharing the Word, and laughing together.

    To many, now I ‘m ‘old’– going on 59. I don’t realize ‘they’ see me that way sometimes.
    I would love to be a ‘gramma’ figure to the kids and little ones, but their parents don’t know me, and don’t see me.
    I sang for many years and lead worship in my “old” ‘home-church, but that doesn’t seem to be where the Lord wants to use me now.
    When I was young, I taught Sunday School to 4-5 yr olds, twenty-four!–by myself!! I helped in the nursery.
    I volunteered in public schools when my boys were in elementary, and it was so Fun and rewarding! I Worked in public schools, too, and held a good position until I crashed-and-burned with a depression that hospitalized me.
    Then I went back to part-time jobs in schools.
    Then, life. Then volunteer work.
    I’ve been able to help people in a computer lab, just with how-to-basics when they never even graduated high school. I was completely self taught until I took one class a couple of yrs ago. I enjoy figuring things out!

    My kids and their friends always wanted me around, and I felt useful and loved. Times change!
    They are all grown and live in different states from each other.
    I was recently remembering how I did or didn’t keep in touch with my Mom at their ages, and I made the painful realization that the reciprocal loving feelings I had THEN in holding them, teaching them, providing for them, playing with them, hanging out with them…and that LooK of love they gave me, so long ago, is something I STILL hope for when I talk with them or even see them. The connection is there, yes. But they have their own lives, their own families,
    AND they don’t necessarily want to share their feelings or thoughts about everything with me, now.
    So what I thought was ’empty-nest’ before, keeps getting emptier. Sometimes my day is brightened by a text message from one of them and I MISS those times when we were TOGETHER.
    Hah! I know they Love me, and I love THEM!
    AH, so Much. But it’s a lifetime of letting go!!
    I don’t remember signing up for that!! [wry smile]

    Time and experiences, mistakes, choices/consequences, medication, growing older, having to move many miles away…all changed Everything.
    Sometimes my heart has ached because I don’t feel like I FIT anywhere… not anymore.

    In this alone-time I have cried, laughed, slept in, and stayed up late. I have come to a place where I make my OWN decisions, once again, without ;’supervision’.
    God healed me from so much past. Wayyyyy Past. Wounded, withdrawn, isolated and walking on a path not His, but He brought me back.
    I can bead, do crafts, do a little painting and drawing, and now am trying to sew a thing or two. It’s really HARD to be motivated.
    I give these things I make to people. Well, I DID. My grandkids are growing up and it’s hard to keep up with what they think is ‘cool’, and so I have a few little collections of beaded bracelets, macrame, crafts… learning to let go of That, too.

    He’s given me this alone-time to read His Word and ponder it; to pray for others; to even not ‘do’ anything. On occasion the praying has started to become ‘works’–this I noticed because I started getting anxious and feeling guilty if I didn’t PRAY for people that day. I understand that now, having gone through the cycle a few times.
    He’s also given me time to be present with a couple of different friends who were dying, and I knew that it was HIS Grace that I had anything to give them…His Love, His acceptance, His mercy, His kindness.
    So, maybe I finally know I am still useful? I still have a ‘place’ in the Body? Maybe no one else but God knows, and now–
    well, anyone who reads this!
    Except, there’s so much more.
    Sometimes I just really MISS being able to be with MY grandkids, my TWO friends that live far, people that I know– who know me, too; singing with others and practicing music!
    I used to be a sort-of perfectionist and–Wow!– was it a ‘high’ when the music came together, and the Lord MOVED!! I knew that it would be no ministry at all, to anyone, or pleasing to God, unless He gave us the ability and His anointing. [Kinda like Those Were The Days, huh?!]
    I miss being involved with other believers.
    Yet, things just don’t come together the way they did back-in-the-day. So I let go of that.
    A lot. Often.
    And I enjoy the Day. The Moment.
    The gift of time that God has given me. I KNOW it has a purpose, whether it’s working things ‘out’ in me, or just that my ‘purpose’ has changed and I am learning to function in it while abiding In Him. That’s the Best part.
    That’s the Gift: abiding in him! ♥
    I’m learning to be content in this older place, this different cycle of life, even though it can be lonely and painful at times.
    I depend on the bus, and sometimes even excuse myself from church on Sunday morning because the bus I need to take comes early, then I dread asking someone for a ride home or, the alternative, waiting an hour and 40 minutes for the next bus, because there is a lunch break.
    So now and then I feel sad, and sorry for myself. Hah. :)

    I think I just really want to say…
    ENJOY this time with your sister-believers, every moment!
    Enjoy this time when your children are young… you will treasure the moments long after they have forgotten them. (If the Lord tarries.)
    Even enjoy sometimes feeling overwhelmed!!
    Cuz feeling unable, not useful or helpful is Not a good feeling.
    I am thankful that you, and others, write so that I can read and ponder… God teaches me through what you say.

    So even though I sometimes don’t LIKE the moment I’m in, I am trusting God is with me, walking me through and IN.

    God be with you and lead you, sister.

    [oh, I hope I’m not sorry I wrote all of this!! I have written before, then just deleted and cancelled, cuz I thought it wouldn’t be helpful or encouraging to anyone else, and I didn’t want to Look Bad, either! :- ]…]
    Oh well. This time, I’ll risk it, and let the words fall where they may! :)

    • says

      Nothing to be ashamed of here. Your honesty is moving. Plus, it was amusing, which is just all super delicious gravy over your substantive mashed potatoes.

    • Alia Joy says

      Pam, My heart goes out to you in this place. I know that you are trying to be faithful and to be content and that is admirable and good but I am still so saddened that you feel out of place or that you are not useful anymore. I think this is a tragedy of our times in many ways. I have thought about our culture and the value we put or don’t put on the older generations. I am half Asian which comes with a weighty concern and value for our elderly, especially our parents. I think we have a lot to learn from each other in all ages and stages and I hope you always feel welcome to share here.
      That is my biggest hope for this space. That we can just be. Sisters, friends, family in Christ.

      I don’t always do it well or right but I am trying to learn to be content as well. To trust where God has me in the process and to seek Him during those times when I feel my use has run out. Even at my age, I feel that way sometimes.

      Don’t believe that ridiculousness. We all have worth, we all have purpose. I don’t know what yours is in terms of community and impacting those around you but I know you have infinite value to God and that everything else comes second to that.
      Praying for your heart tonight, Pam. Thank you for sharing and risking it here.

      • says

        Thank you, Alia,
        for understanding and Hearing me, and accepting me!
        Thank you, very much, for the prayer. ♥ [God always knows what the answer is!]
        Today, that answer was a hike down the trail to the beach, and a walk…singing and rejoicing in Him! ~and beautiful photos I took of the sunset! (with my 3yr old phone-camera!)
        Cynthia, thanks– you are funny! :)
        GOD is Faithful, and He will lead me where I need to be, of that I am certain!
        Thanks for letting me share “here”…♥

  7. says

    “this is how the daughters of God get things done.” – yes Lord, may it be so. Love you girl – these words were like a hug this morning. So glad to be in this community with you!

  8. says

    Hi Alia-Joy
    You are so right, my friend, FMF is sort of a beacon of light every week. Just that feeling of being accepted is beyond words. It doesn’t matter where you are, how you have slipped up of what fears are lurking around the corner of the coming week, we know we can let our hair down and just be ourselves amongst the King’s daughters on a Friday at FMF. I remember my first time when you left such an encouraging comment on my blog! I was sooooo…. grateful! Thanks again.
    Much love

    • Alia Joy says

      Oh, that’s awesome. It’s my favorite part of Friday nights. I do love to write but I really love when I have time to go see what everyone else is up to. I’m glad you felt encouraged by that comment. Crystal Stine was one of my very first comments on my blog ever. I was so excited that I didn’t know her, because all of the other comments were from family and friends. 😉 I love to see it all circle round.

  9. says

    Oh my stars! I’m blubbering and I’m laughing out loud and I’m at work and my co-workers are thinking that I have fianlly and truly gone right round the bend! This —> “we are all crafting a divine message. He in us, the hope of Glory.” – That’s how I feel every Thursday night- that I have entered into His presence and I’m being ushered in by the beauty of all of the Five Minute Friday girls! Words cannot express friend how truly and deeply you have impacted my life, my faith and my love for God.
    P.S. Crystal Stine says she’ll hold our hand if we’re ever in Philly ordering a Whiz With :-) And if we ever meet in real life? – Which I think we will :-) Let’s burn some Spanx!

    • Alia Joy says

      Now you’re trying to make me cry! That means so much to me Tonya. So much. I am so blessed to be a part of this community each week and I love to see what God does through everyone’s words and faithfulness. Yes, Spanx bonfire…. But wait. They might be toxic. Horrible toxic Spanx chemicals coming out in the fire. Hmmm, maybe we’ll stick to the Tastycakes and Whiz withs. 😉

  10. says

    I’m looking for words… I’m looking for words to respond to the incredible words scripted in front of me.

    My hear connects because my heart connected to this community, a community which embraced me, loved me, accepted me and continues to inspire and encourage me. You are such a beautiful addition to my life.

  11. says

    Oh yes! Snack talk smack talk and leaving blessed every time! Waking up to the faces of ones you missed because you had to go to bed because it’s later here on the east cost. Then the joy of being filled with each others words that come out of 5 minutes instead of 140 characters. Then you know it’s the doing as others are doing that gives the reward, not the recognition. Thank you for constantly encouraging to push through and keep going. You bless me always.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you, Amy. I can’t imagine doing it on the east coast because I’m usually really tired by the time the prompt goes up here and it’s only 9pm. Glad you got some rest, and yes, I think all moms of little boys could certainly use a bit more.

    • Alia Joy says

      Glad to have met you also, Jennifer. We do have an amazing gift we’ve been blessed with. Proclaiming the truth. Love to do it with you, friend.

    • Alia Joy says

      Yes, I can’t imagine ever being all the way to unafraid. At least not this side of Heaven but I’m closer each week. Especially righting brave with you guys.

  12. says

    I, in all honesty, do not know how you do it. You are the only writer I enjoy reading that regularly makes me cry (in a good way). You are gifted in a marvelous way by God and I have found so much encouragement in your work. You rock. You roll. You rule. Thanks.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for your loyalty as a reader. I am so glad you find encouragement here and I hope you continue to see encouragement in other ways as well. Hang in there.

  13. says

    Wow! Just this: “we flounce from blog to blog sprinkling nice comments and fairy dust. We occupy twitter with our hashtag every Thursday and Friday but what happens is more than the sum of retweets or comment count or likes. It is the building up of a body.” YES!!! (and I SO missed you all last night… but at least this week, I was not hiding… just busy!) I am oh so thankful for this body – this Body – that is being built up!

  14. says

    And I accept this letter with joy & love in my heart for you! Thank you, Alia Joy, for answering your call; for living your purpose, for showing God’s beauty & grace as only you can do! Un-afraid!!!

  15. says

    You bless my socks off friend, my toes are wiggling and I am smiling happy. I am glad beyond glad, what a weak word for a writer, that I know you and getting to know you better and that I am in community with you. Peace on you this weekend. You are a treasure. You are a jewel.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks friend. I have been wrapped up with busyness this week and all day today so I’m just settling in to see everyone’s comments and read everyone’s posts that I didn’t get to last night. I’m blessed.

  16. says

    I’m so blessed to know you…you give me that nudge we all long for, friend. A nudge of encouragement. To keep trying, to keep seeking, to keep on. But mostly, you give me the nudge of “I know. you’re not alone.”

    I just cherish you.

    “we find the more we give of ourselves in this community, the more we see that His promises are true.”….amen. {HUGS}

    • Alia Joy says

      I was just thinking the same thing about you. I read the foreword you wrote in Kris’s book Holey, Wholly, Holy, and I loved every word. I haven’t had time to read it yet because I know I’m not going to want to put it down. But I just loved going around tonight and seeing all of the support for her and I was just so happy and excited for all God is going to do. This community just blessed me immensely.

  17. says

    Alia Joy! Your words just seep into my bones and strengthen me. Every time. What a gift to “get things done” side by side with all of you. Beautiful words that carry us all along in a mightier current.

    • Alia Joy says

      I love that we are in tandem as well. Really such a beautiful week for me to celebrate all of you amazing writers.

  18. says

    You are SO right in all you wrote about this community. I have only posted 2 Fridays now, and 1st FMF party last night, but talk about feeling welcome! It’s just an unwritten connection that writers have; they share such a powerful passion. Great post!

    • Alia Joy says

      Yay! Well welcome! How’d you like the party? My first twitter party, I thought I was going to have a stroke, the tweets were flying so fast but I do love the people and you get used to just catching what you can and trying to make sure everyone is welcomed in. I agree, I have amazing friends in real life but there’s something about another writer soul that just gets that part of me. So glad to have ‘met’ you!

  19. says

    Okay, now I see where the Spanx came in…what an amazing and encouraging write…Thanks, Alia Joy, for how you build up the body of Christ :) what a gift you have…thanks for sharing :)

    • Alia Joy says

      Ummm, I’m still blaming Lisa Jo. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉 Thanks for coming by Dolly, I appreciate it.

  20. says

    Who could ‘unsubscribe’ to your blog?? They must be CRAZY.
    I mean, you are a wordsmith unlike any other I’ve ever known.
    I love reading your #FMF and getting to know you through your words here.
    I love how FEARLESS your writing is and it inspires me to bare it all a little more too.
    You are a blessing to my heart, friend.

    • Alia Joy says

      You tell ’em Nicole! lol Awww, you’re good for my poor wounded writer self. 😉 I got three in one week. Kind of stank. Oh well. What’re you going to do. I changed my settings like Michele-Lyn said so I won’t be traumatized anymore if they keep dropping like flies. 😉 I’m glad you’re still here, though. You are a blessing.

  21. says

    I LOVE this Alia…”We may enter afraid of our talent, our dreams too tentative and fragile to say in more than a whisper but we leave with resolve.” Thank you for your encouragement, for speaking truth to us today.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you for always being a voice of encouragement in this community. I love your new avatar. It is new right? My contacts aren’t just failing me?

  22. says

    You my sweet friend are such a gift. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for you. Your words touch my heart and give me courage. What a blessing to call you friend. Love you much.

    • Alia Joy says

      I feel the exact same. I am storing a massive, almost embarrassing hug for when we meet someday in real life. I just love you, dear one.

    • Alia Joy says

      Hey, who couldn’t use a little redundancy from time to time? I feel like all I can say is how much you all bless me in this community and how much I love writing with all of you, but even that never really gets old to me because there are new faces each week. Thanks for taking the time to comment Jacqui. It blesses.

  23. Tara says

    Hi Alia, I found this post from saved sisters twitter, beautifully written, a blessing to read. Have a joy filled day. Tara (The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary)

    • Alia Joy says

      Thank you Tara. Your comment was hanging out at the bottom all lonely and I just came across it today. I’m so glad you visited and I’m glad you’re a part of this beautiful community!


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