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I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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We live according to many laws in our lives. As Christians, we adhere to a set of standards.

When you’re in school, things like red pen and raising your hand to go to the bathroom are normal – the laws of the land. But those laws are no match for the harshest laws of all…

The laws of the playground.

Do you remember the games you used to play? The names people would call each other? There’s a whole new way of speaking on the playground. ‘Groundies’ and ‘tap taps’ and ‘zaps’ and ‘cooties’ are all legitimate cultural norms. You either play by the rules or the rules play you. Those are your choices.

But to my recollection, there is one thing on the playground that you can never, ever be:

A scardie cat.

Kids do all kinds of wild things to prove that they’re not afraid. They’ll eat glue, talk back to the teacher, or touch the Bunsen burner in science class. They’ll talk to the girl, look like an idiot, or jump off the highest point on the playground – because no matter the consequences, having people see your fear would be far worse.

There are a million things that change when we get older, but one thing rises above the rest these days.

Somewhere along the line it became cool to be afraid.

We live our lives to avoid risk. We stay close to home—avoiding anything that we’re not sure of on the front end. We hate unknowns and shutter at uncertainty. We buy insurance policies and research everything—protecting ourselves and our families in every way possible. We put leashes on our kids, wont let them touch or eat anything, and I’m waiting for the day that we put railings on our big kid beds, just to be safe.

We do so much, spend so much time and energy (not to mention money), and avoid some of the best things in life, all in the name of ‘responsibility’—which on most days I think is just nicer way to say ‘fear.’

We love our ‘what ifs.’

We ask questions like …

“What if we fall short?”

“What if I’m rejected?”

“What if I don’t have enough money?”

“What if I fail?”

“What if he doesn’t love me?”

“What if we get hurt?” 

… sitting paralyzed and bored out of our minds because we’re too afraid to do anything – heaven forbid something goes wrong.

Now, I would love to tell you that I’ve been parked primarily on the playground, that I’ve been reaching out for the best of life with hands wide open, palms up—ready. But that would be a lie.

For the last several months I’ve been camped out with a blanket over my head, in the company of the naysayers, the critics, and the pessimists.  

I lost track of the wild, appreciative woman that God made me to be—the woman who sees beauty everywhere she looks and walks through every day to a soundtrack that only she seems to be able to hear. I’ve been transformed into a creature wholly other.

I’ve been shaky and tense—easily startled and often upset. I’ve been filled with fears, ignoring everything lovely around me and only focusing on the most terrifying of scenarios.

What if I heard God wrong?

What if I mess up his plan for me?

What if life isn't the beautiful, miraculous thing I always believed it to be? 

Instead of choosing a life of risk and courage, I chose a life of closed off, fear-filled safety.

I thought that being cautious and hidden would protect the beating, tender thing within me.

But instead, it isolated me. It felt like the sun had gone out and joy had been wiped away completely.

Blood was no longer coursing through my veins – lifeblood replaced by fear. I had myself locked up, hidden away, and protected – protected from any connection to love, or life, or joy.

But what I’m discovering as I punch in the code to the panic room is this: we don’t have to protect ourselves. God will.

We don’t have to build up a fortress around ourselves, because he’s there. We don’t need to protect ourselves from heartbreak or pain or even death, because even in the worst circumstances, he’s there comforting us and taking care of us.

In scripture, God tells us over and over to be strong and courageous – not to be afraid, that we haven't been given a spirit of timidity. Perfect love casts out fear, and our God is defined by the perfection of his love.

Worst case scenarios don't worry God. We don’t have to be afraid.

And it's only when we unclench our jaws and release our death-grip, that we get to ride the most beautiful and wild ride with the God of freedom.

And I think that's what faith looks like.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Isn't it time that we replace our fearful “what ifs” with “what ifs” of possibility?

What if this worked out?

What if I succeeded?

What if the world was actually full of beauty?

And what if, no matter what, God is with me and I can trust him?

What if there was actually nothing to fear?

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  1. Kadi says:

    God has brought me to a place where I’m completely and totally dependent on Him to bring to pass the dreams in my heart. There is absolutely no way that I can make it happen… all of my hope is in Him.
    And even in this place of surrender, Fear asked me, “‘What if’ you die hoping?” My reply was, “Then I die hoping. Maybe that’s what matters – trusting Him to the end” (Sorry if this is really deep 🙂 )

    Thanks for reminding me about the “What ifs” of possibility! I truly needed to hear (read) that this morning!!

    • Stephanie says:

      “There’s absolutely no way that I can make it happen… all of my hope is on him.” I love this Kadi. I need to hear THAT this afternoon. That’s the way I’ve always lived my life and I want to be back there. We really have nothing to lose… you’re absolutely right. Thank you!!

  2. Rebecca says:

    This is what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you for continuing of putting yourself out so vulnerably and honestly. Your words and those of God’s are special cherished by me.

  3. Janie giebelhaus says:

    Steph- this is one of my favorite things I have ever read!

  4. Lauren Haney says:

    Sometimes I wonder if you and are I running parallel lives, with you maybe a half-step ahead. I read your posts and I’m pretty sure I know exactly where you’re going and what you’re going through. It’s a strange thing. Thanks for giving me truths to think on – and a bit of an assurance that someone is walking it ahead of me and making it 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      Lauren – that is literally my heart in writing. You summarized it perfectly. Thank you so much for assuring me that I’m right where I want to be. If you’re anywhere like where I am, then I pray that this season is filled with extra grace, extra joy, and extra faith that the Lord has you fully taken care of. 🙂 All my love!

  5. Perfectly beautiful and oh so right. Thanks for saying it! What if I am great? Whew….perspective changing, life affirming, hope inspiring stuff there girl! Love it!

  6. Wesley says:

    This really struck a chord as I prepare to make the major transition from college to “life after college” which for me includes an international move.

    My what ifs used to be obscured by plans and rigidity – as you said those of “responsibility” thinly disguising the fear. And somewhere in the past two years, God changed those into “What if I dream…” and now as he fulfills those desires this piece is just the reminder I needed to keep pushing the fears back.

    God speaks through you into where I am at – thanks for being attentive to him and sharing!

    • Stephanie says:

      Wesley! I love that. And thank you so much for reading! Moving and graduating are incredibly stressful things. I think that I’m just now understanding some of the weight of being an adult. I pray that you really will continue to dream with him all the way through this crazy life change.

  7. Amazing! So inspiring! I love how REAL you are in your writing. I can definitely relate!

  8. Nancy says:

    Steph, I love this blog! How did you know that I needed to read it so much? I have been struggling with fear a lot recently because of chronic pain. I’m afraid of committing to do things that might make things worse rather than trusting in God that He will take care of me. Thanks for the encouraging words and for letting all of us know that you have been struggling with the same issues.

    • Stephanie says:

      I totally understand. It’s so hard, especially when you’re afraid that things are going to get worse. I have to remind myself every single day that he’s taking care of me. Every single day. I’m praying for relief from your pain!

  9. Erika says:

    So great, thank you! Love the example about kids on the playground… I forgot about that sense of fearlessness of a child.

    It’s so true — we often thing about the worst case scenario without believing in the best case scenario.

    I think many parts of becoming an adult are learning how to see life like a child again. Weird. But beautiful, too.

    • Stephanie says:

      “We often think about the worst case scenario without believing in the best case scenario.” That describes my life lately Lady. Here’s to seeing life as a child again!!

  10. Last summer I went on a grand hunt through my Bible and put a small sticky note on every “Do not be afraid” that I found. There were nearly 100. Now, even just seeing my Bible with all the pink tabs poking out, reminds me to trust and enjoy. Boy it can be hard sometimes. Thank you so so so much for this post.

  11. Toni-Lyn says:

    Yes! I’ve begun asking myself “What is the best that could happen?” in all situations. Learning to embrace the process of both beauty and terror in order to experience the present fully and feel God’s gifts of the moment. Y’know, grace for self and all that jazz.

    • Stephanie says:

      “Learning to embrace the process of both beauty and terror in order to experience the present fully.” That’s so fantastic. I’m definitely learning grace for self the hard way. haha. Thank you so much for reading, lovely lady! I want to come visit you soon!!

  12. Chantell says:


  13. Kelly says:

    I love this! So well put, and definitely what I needed to hear.

  14. Yes! I love this so, so much!

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