Tag Archive for fear and faith

Fear and Faith

Senseless violence and killing. Islamic Terrorists. Scenes I never imagined I’d see in my lifetime playing out on the lovely streets of Paris.

I spent my Friday night watching my Twitter feed, nervously awaiting news of the hostages in the theatre. I heard that they were killing them one by one. My heart sank and my legs felt weak.

Peter and I were out shopping with the kids, trying to go about our night like it was a normal one, walking the mall, eating Thai food with chop sticks, oohing and ahhing over toddler clothes for Brayden, trying to shield my youngest from the fact that the situation was deadly serious because she’s so very afraid of ISIS and already has nightmares about it.

Friday night, I didn’t fall asleep until 2 am, half watching the news, half praying, trying to make sense of the absolutely senseless.

God, in His perfect timing, reminded me of a book I’d read but never reviewed on the blog, by the lovely Trillia Newbell, the author of the book Fear and Faith.

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She asked me to share a little bit about my experiences with fear and that post will be published on her on  her blog on Tuesday. Tuesday, here, I’ll also share some of my favorite quotes from her book, because as I’ve told you before, I am the world’s worst book reviewer. I just love sharing the quotes that especially spoke to me.

I think fear comes naturally for me. I come from a long line of worriers, all the way back to my Italian great grandmother. I can hear her words in her broken English now:

“ma-Sarah, put on your coat. You’re going to catch a cold!” or “Get down! You’re going to break your leg.” or “ma-Eat! You’re going to get sick if you don’t eat the broth.”

Fear is something I had to deal with when my kids were young, and mercifully, God has opened my eyes to my own specific “brand” of fear which was control, especially when it came to my kids. I tell more about that in my article for Trillia’s blog, and after you read it you’ll think I’m a certified crazy woman but suffice it to say, I was living my life as though I was solely responsible for the safety of my children and it was a heavy burden to bear, because I am not God.  It wasn’t until I embraced the idea of God’s sovereignty and goodness in all areas that I was able to relinquish the reins (and my children!) to Him.

Fear manifests itself in so many ways: anxiety, anger, restlessness, indecisiveness, irrationality, stubbornness, etc…

(Side note: the terms fear and worry are such “acceptable” words in Christian circles. We should call it what it is: unbelief, lack of trust, doubting God. It’s that serious and ugly.)

Are you a control freak? Do you get angry when things don’t go your way? Do you have a hard time trusting men or women? Do you find yourself doing and saying things for the approval of others? Do you assume the worst about everyone’s motives? Do you fear the future?

Bottom line: fear issues are trust issues. We don’t think God’s big enough. We don’t think He cares enough about us. We believe He’s shortchanged us and we doubt His love.

We live like orphans when we are the most beloved children of a good God. We live like beggars when we have all the resources we need in Christ. We live like outsiders when God’s invited us into His inner circle to dine and live with Him forever.

Trillia covers so many common fears in this book: fear of man, the future, tragedy, not measuring up, and, hello, other women! 

She then brilliantly unfolds how God’s sovereignty, wisdom, love, and goodness all play out in His plans for our good. She then instructs us to turn all of this truth that we know about God into action as we worship and fear Him.

If you’re struggling to break the grip of fear in your life so that you can walk a life of faith and freedom, I highly recommend this book.

*Post contains affiliate links. I received this book at no cost to review. All opinions are my own.

Facing Worry and Breaking the Cycle

The last three weeks feel like the rug of life has been pulled out from under us. We’ve had our share of trials to say the least. We are still waiting for things to right themselves.

We’ve experienced run of the mill trials, we’ve hurt with friends who’ve had life altering trials, we’ve experienced our own heart aches, and we’ve seen God orchestrating our lives in an unexpected manner.

God has brought a situations into our lives out of the blue and we are anticipating the outcome. All we can do is wait and try not to freak out. The Lord seems to be placing an opportunity into our laps that we’d never considered or sought. The situation is so overwhelming that I had no appetite for a week. (I lost 3 lbs.)

Then I realize that my old friend fear has surfaced.

 

Worry has a way of making me feel at home and productive in a deceptive way  and choosing faith is one of those basics of the Christian life that I find I am having to go back and address all over again.

I was recently asked to write an article for Trillia Newbell’s new book launch Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (available April 1st!).  I recounted the many fears I had as a new mother. I felt like a crazy lady submitting it because writing down irrational fears and submitting it for the world to read is terrifying and humbling, and in hindsight, I think fear was the controlling motivator in my life FOR YEARS.

But writing the article had two other benefits. I saw the grace of God, from where I used to be to what He’s done in my life to date. But it was also a rebuke to myself for today, because I realized that old habits die hard and though I’ve made progress over the 22 years I’ve been a mom in the “worry department”, fighting for faith is a life long pursuit. Isn’t God so patient and kind with us?

One thing that has helped me over the years is reading the Psalms. I’ve always noticed “patterns” and reading David helped me see his thought patterns and helped me get a grip on my own worry.

When you read the Psalms you notice that David::

  • gets his eyes off the Lord and onto problems>>
  • which leads him to fear, despair, hide, complain, compare>>
  • and then he remembers God and his faithfulness and covenants (read:: meditates on the right things)> >
  • and then David rejoices and hopes.

I’m preaching to my own heart a lot lately in the midst of all this uncertainty about where I’ve set my gaze. And the Lord was so good to me to send me Trillia’s book free of charge to encourage me to keep trusting Him.

Worry needs to be faced head on, friends. It’s not something to toy with or ignore. It can’t grow unchallenged deep in the recessed of your mind because it’s an assault on the goodness of God. At its core, it’s unbelief. Unbelief!

It’s doubt. It’s a control issue. It’s all bad things–really bad things–and it’s an assault on our faith from within ourselves that needs to be challenged.

Sometimes to live a life of faith, you have to do battle with your own mind. You realign your rogue thoughts. You take captive the God-offending, God-accusing junk of your own mind and call it what it is: unbelief. I’m not believing God’s word today. Sometimes admitting the problem is the first step to fixing it.

If I continue to focus on my problems, they GROW to larger than life. If I mediated on the FUTURE and don’t see God in the picture anywhere, fear freezes and paralyzes me. I’m living like God doesn’t exist when my thinking goes off like that.

It’s only as I set my hope in God and understand that

  • he leads
  • he protects
  • he knows
  • he sees
  • he ordains
  • he loves
  • he cares
  • he is there in my future

that I find confidence to drop the worry and run to Jesus for rest.

When I forget God, I’m pretty much relying on my own reserves which are piddly at best.

Today, my encouragement is for you to look away from your problems to your God who is bigger than any of them. Then “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.” And no backsies. If you find yourself worrying, give it back to the Lord again. He’s faithful and by faith, you can trust Him!