There’s a thing you’re responsible for, a presentation or a product of some kind, and every time you think of it you get a shot of discomfort in your stomach and you spend a couple seconds wishing it were finished or even gone altogether. There is a momentary certainty that you will fail and that this failure will furnish definitive proof to all who see it that you’re over your head and unqualified, that you’ve been faking it.

Let’s just call this feeling dread.

I’ve been responsible for certain types of work regularly over the past 15 years, and I still dread them every time. Sermons. Retreats. Weddings. Funerals. The approach of every one of these commitments features this kind of dread. It doesn’t go away. And yet the spectacular disqualifying failure the dread portends has not yet materialized.

I’m starting to accept that dread will always be a part of work. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s even good. Maybe dread is an indicator that we’re working on something meaningful.

2 thoughts on “Dread

  1. I think you’ve got it. I don’t dread messing up something that doesn’t mean anything, like cooking something just for myself compared to cooking that anyone else is going to know about. Yet not many people know about my book yet, and I still dread not getting it finished and interesting. That means a lot, so there’s the dread. (And I dread not getting comments on my own blog, so I’m happy to dispel that dread for you. Hey, I’m just happy to get to use the word ‘dispel.’)

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