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.