About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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  1. Yes, I can relate. I find the more I stay home the more I feel so “safe” that I just don’t want to leave. This summer, I vowed that I would get out of the house very day, if only for a quick errand or drive. Last year I had a major anxiety…episode. God showed me a lot about myself and my fears…my distrust of Him…my suspicion of His intentions for my life. Hang in there. I tried to write about it on my blog, but you know how anxiety is…it rears its ugly head when you talk about it! LOL! HATE IT!!! Fear is really the only thing the enemy can do to us. You are not alone Sister!
    Liz

  2. This post, these words… profound. Piercing. True.
    I’m afraid of failing. Of leading poorly. Pride makes me think that leadership is somehow about me- when it’s really all about Him. But I’m in my current role after watching someone fall- hard. And I feel like there’s an enemy’s target on my back now too. A war is waging. I need courage to face the fiery arrows of temptation and of sin… and say, by grace alone. No. To live honorably and to lead honorably.

  3. There is so much freedom in humility, the possibilities of what can truly be accomplished for Him are limitless…because then it becomes about Him and the pressure is off us.

  4. Ann- this post is profound and incredibly beautiful. I have had many “red badge” moments. I am a perfectionist terrified of failing or bringing shame to my family, even the slightest “perceived” embarrassment. This makes me a very testy and ugly person sometimes. I hear the ugliness in my voice when something happens to distort my plan and I know that can’t be me…yet it is. I must humble myself to God’s plan for that moment or that day and remove my pride. It’s just so stinkin hard…that’s where the enemy gets me every single time.
    Thank you for exposing your humility with such eloquence and grace. I pray that our days will belong to God and that I will humbly serve His plan.
    Blessings and Peace ~

  5. Ann, you again write the words of so many hearts.
    “Who dares explore, risk, attempt, when terrified to play the fool? It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear.”
    This is me with four kids in tow. I dare not leave the house without my husband, for fear of disciplinary issues and stares. For second thoughts on how I’ve been taught by the Book to train and nurture His children whom are in my care. It seems that when we step foot out of the house is when the real training begins. So I don’t.
    I was just thinking of this very thing yesterday and how truly pitiful of me it is. My children, overall, are not ill-behaved. They are children and do childish things. But they are not purposefully disobedient or disrespectful. It’s just that sometimes they can be overly-dramatic and things appear “worse” then they are to those on the outside looking in.
    But why do I care so much? I don’t need to impress anyone, least of all man. Being a Christian and raising my children in the Lord and by the Book is going to be different anyhow. I may as well get used to that. But, I am tired of hiding and my children deserve better.
    Thank you for the nudge and for sharing your story Ann. We know that prayer works, so prayer it is.
    ((Hugs going out to you today!))

  6. Ann, I’m not sure I can even answer your thoughtful questions as I am still taking in your honest words. Thank you for writing them. I will think on these things today.

  7. Humility births courage and is brother to the brave.
    I love that. I have been fighting and wrestling with my health. My fear concerns blindness. The anxiety that even comes with the word is horrifying at times. I keep telling myself God has a plan. But not seeing and another disease stealing my vision is rocking my world big time.
    I have to accept it pushing through the fear to a better place..with my soul screaming I can do this with Gods help.
    Thanks for giving me a new perspective today and sharing your story.

  8. I keep returning here, as I often do with your words, your soul.
    I think I’ve touched on my fears on my blog, yet I still wish for everyday to just be a soft blanket of comfort… but know this isn’t right.
    When you share your world, it changes others. I hope the geography of yours changes, as your fears become comforted in Love.
    love to you

  9. Wow, Ann. This line pierced my soul: Just bow in humility to rise up in courage. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
    Hm. To answer your pertinent questions…
    Humility is definitely my next step to intentional expansion in specific areas of my life. Taunted by the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decisions in the strategy realm I have a tendency to procrastinate, hesitate and eventually retreat. The pride pops up in when I think I have to go it alone. I pray that I hear that whisper you did in order to just bow in humility to rise up in courage.

  10. Sisters …
    today the Lord is asking us to trust in His grace unto new and greater freedom and He has used Ann’s obedience to do it.
    do not marvel at her truth-telling for there is no other life for her but this one … she is learning that there is nothing of her humanity to protect.
    silence before God and man is the great dis-courage-r and it is a fruit of pride.
    a door has been opened … step through.
    Your story is your freedom untold. Go. Tell.

  11. my brave friend.
    your words conjure a picture in my mind today of a busy farmers’ market, back roads – “commit!” – and two much-afraids learning to leap into God’s gifts.
    i remember when we couldn’t imagine…and now, by His grace, we are dangerous women, on a mission.
    such a privilege to grow with you.
    all my love.
    t

  12. Beautiful, profound words, Ann, as always!
    Platforms and staring audiences terrify me. Am I teaching or singing to my audience of One or to the audience of many?
    I’d like to find the courage to do both the teaching and singing without having my heart beating profusely, palms perspiring and voice shaking until unrecognizable. To just do it without any of the physical ramifications.
    Humility would alleviate so much of the trepidation. Going to bow down in humility so He can raise me up in courage!

  13. So profound and a beautifully written post! I love this. We were just teaching our youth this weekend about how the “God Zone” means living upside down. What courage you have to talk about what you are going through! I know it takes humility, but your courage shines through- and that’s how God works.

  14. “If I wear humility, I’m not afraid of the falling…”
    Thank you, Ann…I can see Jesus in you…

  15. Ann, this is lovely. Deeply and profoundly so. I so, so needed to think about this today. The shaking off, the letting go, the running into … you showed me how this morning. Thank you so much.

  16. You touched my heart this morning, on a rough day I will also wear humility. Thank You.

  17. Ann,
    Once again God has used you to minister to me. I, too, suffer from a mere trip to town and into a market. And my husband has asked me to pack my bags and our son into the pick-up and drive across a couple of state lines tomorrow to see him. It’s been 8 months since he transferred and folks around here cannot understand why we haven’t made the trip yet. After all, he makes it home a couple times a month and we have chores and animals and a garden and…and excuses galore.
    But now he has asked me straight-out to do it. And I feel Him telling me to follow. I do know that this (stubborn and tough) simple country girl only can loosen anxiety’s grip only when I replace it with His hand.
    Oh, thank you Lord for speaking to me today and using Ann’s words to calm the crashing waves of anxiety’s sea as it churns and threatens to swallow me whole. Pray. Calm-Peace-Strength-Courage.
    Breathe. And pray.

  18. Ann,
    Your writing undoes me. Not just that you are astoundingly talented with words, but the profound thoughts that ride on your words simultaneously lay me bare and clothe my nakedness.
    I read this after pouring my heart out to God this morning, begging Him to help me stop feeling so dead and dull and weary inside from the long trial my family is in. First He made me laugh, and then He lead me here.
    Fear has long been the enemy’s favorite way to trip me up.
    “Pride is fear’s father and is kin to all cowards.”
    What a mouthful! Pride’s best disguise is fear, because fear feels like the opposite of pride. It feels like if I had any pride at all I wouldn’t be such a scaredy-cat–constantly afraid to fail, but crippled by my fear into the abject failure of not trying.
    “Humility births courage and is brother to the brave.”
    Thank you for reminding me to think upside down! Thank you for sharing your gift.

  19. Such beautiful honesty, thank you! The Lord brought this very topic to mind yesterday. As I was pondering the many verses of scripture that clearly show that we are not to fear…
    He so gently spoke to my heart, telling me that my fears are a result of pride; and until I deal with that sin, by bowing low in humility as you said dear lady, Fear will continue to win the battle.
    Your words- pride and appearances that box up our lives small and afraid…Pride is fear’s father and kin to all cowards…so very true in my life.
    Thank you for the (in)couragement to bow humbly before Him and take courage in Him!
    Many Blessings,
    Catherine

  20. Our son, Ethan, was born still in April and it completely rocked my world. I have wanted to be a mom as long as I can remember, and was completely naive to all the things that could go wrong. My husband and I want more children, but are struggling with the knowledge that we could come home without a baby again. We have been praying that our faith would be strengthened, and I think this post is a reminder to me to trust Him.

  21. I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid His spirit isn’t stronger than the one who is in the world. I know better, but this is how I act.
    Sometimes, I take the reigns because I’m afraid I won’t grow if I don’t. It causes me to not rest.
    Pride is my greatest sin.
    Thank you, Ann, brave one. You are so pleasing to us and to Him.

  22. I am afraid of success ~ because if I succeed I will be expected to keep that level of success and won’t be able to stop ~ and then, might have to admit that I can’t, and then I will fail. Crazy, isn’t it?
    I also had a major anxiety problem, very close to agorophobic. I prayed through it, fought it, found ways to escape it, and now help others when I hear they struggle as well. Things like finding a most calming CD to listen to about the Lord while en-route EVERY time ; having an “emergency kit” addressing all the possibilities and what-if’s in a bag I carried with me everywhere ; not making any appts. until after noon because that way I can actually sleep the night before ; making sure I park my car where I can “escape” easily if needed (which rarely happened anyway) ; telling the host or guests or whomever that I can only stay for a short while ; when I feel the creepy feeling come on, I used to quietly make a list on paper or in my mind of exactly what I was going to do when I got home ~ in a few minutes or an hour or whatever. Just seeing the present situation as NOT permanent helped to kick the anxiety ; and always knowing where the bathroom was really helped, too.
    Telling people I had this problem was almost as scary as just having it in the first place. Most people I told just didn’t understand. Be careful who you give your fears to. However, I’m SO grateful you shared here, Ann. You are brave and mightily used by the Lord!

  23. I love how this website is enabling us to open up, to confront our own fears and giving us a vehicle to face them, with the loving support of others and with God’s help.
    Life is sooooo not to be done alone. Thank you for sharing Ann.

  24. I read this, sweet Ann…
    It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart…
    and I swallowed hard. Where does the ache for perfection come from? Is it really pride? You and I know what it is to be left behind by a family that was once mom-n-dad but then was no longer. Do you know what this does to a person? It instills a deep fear of abandonment. And we straighten our little girl skirts and paint on our perfect little girl smiles. And we become afraid of anything that will dishevel what we needed to put together… hoping, wishing, fearing… because of our loss.
    This is what I thought when I swallowed hard.

  25. Oh Ann.
    I am so glad you are one of the writers here. I have followed your blog for a while and am constantly sending your link on one article or another to friends and family….. What you write so often touches me. I started my 1000 gifts just a few days ago.
    blessings to you.

  26. I want to write and am so afraid to even try. I think I have to read everything about writing, and every good writer and then take a bunch of classes and then…..
    Because I am too prideful to write poorly. There I said it.
    So in humility, I am going to sign up for this course where they critique your work…..gulp.
    (what “work”? I have no work.) (Jesus write in me.)

  27. thank you!
    what am i afraid of? i am afraid of never being healed. i am afraid that my family will never be whole again. and sometimes i am afraid that HE does not hear me (even though i know HE does)

  28. ((((((Ann))))))))
    I think you have a Warrior’s heart. You empty your heart of self and put on His armor – and humility – and you face your fears.
    Perhaps it is truth too? Just being humble and truthful enough to say – this is me. I am absolutely dependent on Him for everything and sometimes I make mistakes. But then there is grace. I am well equipped to face whatever He allows into my life – spilled tea, getting lost, and so much more.
    You know how you bless my heart with your words. They touch us with truth and beauty.

  29. I’m afraid of criticism I’ll receive when I’m any less than perfect. I’m afraid to actually commit to the thing I truly love doing, writing.
    I think I truly need to humble myself and admit that it’s never been about me. God is in control, if he wants me to succeed, he’ll bless these hands that type away on the keyboard. If I don’t succeed, it’s only because there’s a lesson to be learned somewhere.
    Thank you for the encouragement. I needed your words today.

  30. Through you, I see His strength and courage. Your example makes me stronger. Humility, a red badge? Yes, and so much more.
    Your beautiful heart illuminates…

  31. So I go to the pool and watch girls cajoling Little One… she will not jump…not yet… they work together… bit by bit Little One makes her way. Two hours later, she is jumping off the board and girls are smiling, waving at me.
    And while I sit I remember these words about *never leaving home.* And I find a poem. And I think, yes, I will bring it back for you…
    “Girl”
    Why do we not
    leave home?
    Is it really for fear
    of what lies
    beyond, or rather
    for fear that the
    roof will abscond
    with the doors
    and the shutters
    we’ve always known.
    And who would they
    blame if it happened
    just so? If the whole
    curtained place simply
    picked up its stakes,
    disappeared on the wind
    in our absence. What
    are we really afraid
    of? Why do we not
    leave home?

  32. Beautiful woman of words, you bring blessings to us phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, line by line…and we gratefully receive–thank you.

  33. I’m praising God with tears after reading this. Lord, please do this work in me also that you are doing in Ann. I want to learn to “wear” and “take” prayer today and every day.
    Thank you again, Ann. I save, forward, print and revisit your blog posts all the time.
    God bless every sister here xoxo

  34. This –
    “It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear.”
    is my problem. I have things I want to do but the perfectionist in me leads me to inaction and paralysis. I want to write, create, live but afraid of rejection and failure.
    This week God has been showing me how prideful I am. What right have I to be so proud? Pride’s ultimate goal is to destroy and separate us from God.
    Thank you for the wakeup call. Thank you for being a courageous woman.

  35. Thank you for that. It took humility for me to be courageous to apologize to a friend and fellow blogger. :O) Glad to know someone else sees it this way. Humility is not a weakness, it is a strength, His strength to us.

  36. I LOVE THIS POST! And I love the way that God works! I just got back from a date with my husband on which we were having a conversation about contentment (something I majorly struggle with), and he was confronting me on some of the ways that I could grow in this area. And as he was talking I was realizing that pride is so often the culprit of my discontent. We live in a house with another family and our combined total of five children under four. And I will totally confess that it is often so much easier for me to complain about the trails of it all rather than to accept and soak up the many blessings that come with it. Why? P-R-I-D-E! That’s right my lovely friends… BIG FAT PRIDE in my life… bummer! I don’t want to enjoy the help that my roommate so generously gives because I am to busy trying to prove that I don’t need the help. I don’t want her (or anyone else for that matter) to ever see my faults because I am afraid that they will no longer think that I am “godly.” What a lie from down under, but sadly, it is a lie that I constantly find myself believing.
    Thanks for sharing Ann… I have been reading your Holy experience blog for sometime now and I have been working on my list of 1000 gifts. Thanks for that great idea too! Hope you have a blessed day!

  37. Friendship–real, live, person-to-person friendship terrifies me. I have a few dear friends, but very few, and the thought of opening myself up to new people, how I would have to in order to have anything beyond casual acquaintances, is almost paralyzing. I find refuge in blogging and my internet friends, but even there … I often hide, lurk on others’ blogs, leave only simple comments, for fear of opening myself up too deeply.
    Why? Fear of being hurt, of being ridiculed, of people finding I’m not what they thought when they really see me … that they won’t like me, to use playground language.
    Humility, though, would dictate that I think less about what others might think of me, of how I might be hurt, and more about how I can be of service to others.
    Thank you for the challenging words, for your willingness to open your struggles to us, that we might be encouraged and reminded of grace.

  38. I will have to remember these words. I am afraid in certain situations, that I now see are pride. My friend leads a bible study, and I volunteer my home. However, I do not ever want to help her lead – because I am uncomfortable in the spotlight. I am afraid of saying/doing something wrong. That I may not know how to answer a question – or that I am not “spiritual” enough. I see it is all pride. Terrible pride. Oh that I would go to Him, weak and lowly. That I would not seek to build myself up, that I would be vulnerable enough to make mistakes in front of others. To be seen as weak. To be humble.

  39. Ann, this post really spoke to me, especially this:
    “Isn’t it pride and appearances that box our lives up small and afraid? Who dares explore, risk, attempt, when terrified to play the fool? It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear.”
    I feel paralyzed about starting a photography business. I see other people who are just doing it, and I wonder what my problem is. You nailed it. I think the fear is rooted in that hunger for perfection, and you’re right: that’s a pride issue.

  40. I have had “sundowners” for over 20 years. I fight it every single, solitary day. Solitary is the key word here. I am so afraid to be alone. Thank you for the discovery of your site. I cling to it every day.

  41. Ann, I have read your blog for over a year. In that place I have found truth, inspiration, and courage…to face the mess and struggle and anxiety of the day-to-day. Thank you for this. And as for “only the lowly,” I needed this very one today.

  42. ann i have known you for 21 years and i have watched you grow from a young girl to a great mother and supportive wife. you are doing for your family what most of us dare not attempt. keep pressing on. take care sister. dale

  43. Thank you Ann. I too suffer from crippling anxiety. Was diagosised with depression/anxiety many years ago, however got leaps and bounds worse when I add my first child. A beautiful daughter, an amazing child of God who is now two. I battle anxiety on a daily basis and only recently have come to tell people about my story. I really enjoy reading other stories about women/mothers suffering from anxiety and turning to other methods to deal than medication (I have been off medication for almost a year.). It gives me strength to relay on God and His love and Grace.
    Thank you again.

  44. Oh Ann, What a WONDERFUL post. How I adore your writing, your blog, the profound way God is using you in my life. Thank you for your obedience, transparency, and service to Him. What an encouragement and thought provoker you are. I love the way He is using you to stretch me in so many area’s. Even though we will probably never meet, it is a privledge to be your friend.

  45. There it is again: humility.
    For me, the old fear of losing friends.
    But really, they are not my “possessions” to lose. I hold them loosely. And yes, humility is a big part of that.
    I love to learn from you, Ann.
    Love,
    Monica

  46. I fear failure and rejection. My pride has been rearing its ugly head in my life lately. I strive for perfection (something I understand in my head is unattainable). Sometimes I’m afraid it is all going to crush me. It feels so heavy. Working through breaking through the chains. Thank you for these words and writing straight into my heart.

  47. What do I fear?
    I fear being misunderstood — to look the part of a fool despite this glass facade I create of one who “has it all together.”
    I lay it down yesterday, at His feet, and I’ll do it again today. I don’t know a day when I haven’t had to lay it down, bow low and ask that it be enough that He understands me and loves me. And I beg of Him: Lord, when I look the part of a fool, then let me be a fool for Christ.

  48. I’m fearful that people who read or hear the slanderous words spread about me might believe it is true…. and I’m fearful of how to receive their disdainful looks…. I want to tell them that the things they have heard are not who I really am… but instead I don’t know what to say at all… and I can only pray for the Lord to defend me… but I feel so small and full of anguish. How could a self-expressed “sister in Christ” hurt me this way? What did I really do to deserve this? I have been asking the Lord to examine my heart. I know that I am far from perfect, I have never tried to be so… or maybe I have. Maybe the pride in this for me is in the feeling like I failed at saving a friendship… A friendship that was obviously borne out of another’s desire to grasp and claw and when I pulled away to establish boundaries and breathe a bit.. to lash out in anger that I would dare to desire the Lord to be glorified in correct priorities…
    I’m not sure if anyone will read this… or if this is even understandable. But I think I see what I need to let go of. I need to find the courage to release the outcome. I need to find the courage to be brave and to hold my head level and not be backed into a corner of false guilt and shame. I can trust that the Lord is in control and that he will defend my name. I need to only humbly lay it once and for all at His feet.
    Yes, humility is the next step. I can humbly trust the Lord to use all of this for my good and His glory. I can trust that he is shaping and forming my character and he is helping me let go of my perfectionistic ways of the past and to release responsibility for others actions. I am only responsible for myself and my conscience before the Lord. Praise him for his faithfulness… pray for my continued humility before him.

  49. Wow. this is really good what you wrote here. I need courage. I’ve gotten out of so many things because I’ve been afraid to be seen, afraid to be wrong, afraid of tripping up, I fear speaking in front of people; I fear being seen. I know God wants me to share what I went through but….. I say He is my strength so what’s the problem. Sarah

  50. Your heart whispers to mine. Each and every time. Agoraphobia? Really? I praise God that you have opened the blinds and let us peek inside your world…this part of your world in particular, today.
    I suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety. Not often. Not as much as I once did. But enough to be ever mindful of the warning signs and the triggers. Enough to be constantly aware of my moods. For over fifteen years I was medicated – one combination of antidepressants and antianxiety meds after another. Until last year when I decided that I didn’t want to be numb anymore.
    It’s been hard. But not impossible. One thing is certain…I could not have let go of the meds without holding onto Christ for dear life.
    Some day, I may share my heart as eloquently as you so easily do each and every time your fingers rest upon the keyboard. Perhaps my journey will soothe and comfort, remind of Christ’s love and mercy and renewal as much as your journey continually does for me.

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