Category Archives: Fear Factor Friday

When a Pandemic Hits Home (and how to sleep at night anyway)

West Nile Virus…

Swine Flu…


and now introducing…. Ebola.

pandemicThroughout the years, disease threatens our societies, our families, and our sleep at night. To anyone who has lost sleep because of Ebola in the last 6 months, whether because you have nightmares or spend the dark hours under the glare of your iPhone as you watch the news, this Fear Factor Friday is for you!

I am excited to have a guest posting today. I greatly admire Kayla’s perspective on this issue, because she and her beautiful family actually live in Uganda. Please open your heart with me to the truth of our faithful God as you read…

What do I Worship? – The True Themometer of the Heart,

By Kayla Horne, Homemade Imperfection

What are you (as they say in Uganda) fearing today?Ebola or terrorists (I hear these were some of the biggest Halloween costume ideas this year)
Sicknesses that your kids have
An issue in your marriage
What is next for your family
That you are ruining your children

It is so easy for my first response to be an emotional response of fear, worry, or anger instead of pausing to remember what God’s word says.

My kids have had some virus or something on top of a stomach bug. The thermometer read over 101 many times this week as I pulled it out of a squirming child’s mouth, and I lost count of how many times they have thrown up.

We get emotional about things we care about like our children, husbands, homes, and future. I have had one of those weeks where my emotions could have easily gotten the best of me, but in the middle of my week I was trying to read the Bible while sitting on the bed playing with Micah and Julia. I was reading  when Julia stepped on my Bible and I grabbed her hand to help her off without ripping any pages, and purely as a reaction, started singing, “Standing standing standing on the promises of God.”
“again,” she cheered

When I don’t know and believe the promises of God, my emotions lead me far astray. It is only when I put my emotions in their place that I can see clearly, know the truth, and let my emotions be a true blessing. Emotions are a blessing from God but our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

“Our emotions reflect what we worship. They reveal what has captured our hearts. God gave us emotions as he made us in his image; they are intended to help us live in communion with him. They are a key indicator of whether we are living in joyful covenantal communion with him or in the service of something else.” 
– Paul David Tripp

If we allow our heart to lead our emotions we will often “feel” wrongly because we are worshiping the wrong thing. If we allow God’s truth to lead our emotions it may take more work and it may not come easily right away but it will always be better.

To read the rest of Kayla’s post, visit her blog: Homemade Imperfection
I am very grateful for these words of encouragement and challenge. When I begin to lose sleep at night, tempted to find one more article about Ebola in the US, I’ll try instead to search for one more verse about God’s faithfulness. Then I’ll put my phone down and truly R-E-S-T (besides, sleeping hours are few and far between these days with 3 month old twins. I’ve got to take what I can get!)
What helps you get back to sleep at night when worries threaten to keep you up at night?

Fear-Factor Friday: 7 steps to overcome fear of failure

Today’s fear-factor is:


fear of failure

So often, I am crippled by fear of failing. I want to do the right thing so bad, but sometimes I don’t know what that “right thing” is. Days like these, I think if all the college students I’ve ever mentored could gather in a room, sit me down, and tell me everything I’ve ever passed onto them, it would be extremely beneficial.

Case in point: I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked, “what is God’s will for _________.”
  • Should I get a summer job or go on a missions trip?
  • Should I go to this university or that one?
  • What major should I choose?
In college, everyone want’s to know what God’s will is for their life. And you know what? There is honor in that! I am so proud of every young woman who sits down over coffee with me, agonizing over the potential choices in her life. Because she (usually) wants to do the right thing. She just can’t discern between the choices in front of her.
Last month, I felt the exact same way. I needed to make a decision about the birth of our twins: to induce or wait and have a c-section. Neither of these options were a part of the plan for these babies. I visualized going into labor spontaneously during my 37 week. It’s what we prayed for. It’s what the doctors said needed to happen, in order to avoid induction.
It didn’t happen. I wasn’t not surprised, because God isn’t required to answer my prayers. I trusted there was a reason none of my natural induction methods worked.
At that point, I was the one sitting down over coffee asking, “what is God’s will for this birth?”
If my college-ladies were there, they would have told me exactly what I’ve told them for 4 years: “It really doesn’t matter. Just whatever you choose to do, do it for the glory of God.” (Colossians 3:17)
In other words, as long as neither option is an outright sin, you have some freedom to make your own decision. What you choose is not going to thwart the ultimate will of God in your life. I believe God has all power and will, but I also believe He gives us freedom to make choices. In those choices, He works out His best for us: to sanctify us (cleanse and shape us) to look more like His Son. We cannot fail when the main goal is to honor God in the choice, not make the best choice.
So if our decision leads us through an easy, joy-filled route–God will use it. If the choice drags us down a path of exhausting, patience-inducing hardship (unrelated to any personal sin), God will use that too. We don’t know what’s behind door #1 vs. Door #2, but we can know that God will use whatever it is to glorify himself and make us more like Him. (Romans 8:28)
What choices are you facing today? Like the ladies I am so blessed to mentor, are you sorting through life-goals to define your major? Or, like me, are you contemplating your options for parenting, sleep-training, discipline, and to child-care/not to child-care? Do you have 2 job offers, 3 roommate applicants, 4 weeks free in the summer, or a nice guy who charged through your at-last-I’m-content-being-single life?
Let’s commit to honoring God with these potential paths in life by
  1. Not worrying about them (and thus idolizing them) (Phil. 4:6a)
  2. Asking for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance (Phil. 4:6b)
  3. Making the choice (Col. 3:23)
  4. Following through with all we’ve got, to God’s glory. (Col. 3:17)
  5. Being flexible: 1/2 way down the road, the Holy Spirit could still lead us down a different road (Rom. 8:26-27)
  6. Guarding against bitterness about “wasted time,” failures, or regrets. Remember: God will use the time/effort/money spent on said choice to shape us if we keep our focus on worshipping Him through it. (Phil 4:4)
  7. Being grateful for the blessing of choices. Many people don’t even get the luxury of choosing what shoes they will wear each day. (Colossians 3:17)
What choice have you made or will make that you can wholeheartedly do to the glory of God?

Fear Factor Friday: Worship leaves No room for Worry

My beautiful little sister is getting married tonight. Fear has the potential to encircle this day as a great enemy of joy. The bride could freak out over little details or all the coming changes. The mother of the bride might worry things won’t go as planned. The groom may be scared of the father-of-the-bride (just kidding). The wedding singers might fear losing their voice (that would be my husband and I).

We are all facing a “fear factor” this week. Your factor might be a subtle flutter in the back of your mind. Others might be a convincing ache in the pit of her stomach.

I have explored a lot on the subject of fear here on my blog,

God’s Word has several promises regarding fear. Today, I am dwelling on this one:


I hope this truth upholds all members of the wedding party today. My prayer is that we do find a sacred joy in the covenant union between my sister and her husband… a reflection of Christ and His commitment to us! With all this joy and worship of Him, we won’t have room in our hearts or heads to worry or be anxious.

What does it mean for you to exercise your spirit of power, love, and self-discipline over anxiety? Share with us below!

Fear Factor Friday: Defining Fear

Welcome to Fear-Factor Fridays, where we contend with one of our greatest enemies: anxiety.

Today, I am exploring what fear is.

  • Is fear an emotion or a state of mind? Perhaps it is both, perhaps it is neither.
  • Perhaps fear is an idea, shot into the mind like an arrow from the Enemy’s attack. If so, Paul encourages us to use the shield of faith against such arrows (Ephesians 6).
  • Perhaps fear is an attitude, or a thought that we are commanded to take captive. (1 Cor. 10:5)
  • Fearcan be an emotion. We can express happiness, sadness, and fear. The Psalmist expresses this in Psalm 56:2-4:

    “My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

  • Or is fear a response? I get scared when my husband sneaks up on me (especially when he sings the jaws theme).


Whatever “fear” is for you, the Bible is clear that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). If you are struggling with anxiety today, or are trying to bring an emotional response of fear under self-control, I encourage you to dive deeper into love. We don’t have to dissect fear itself to conquer it. Rather we must hide ourselves in Christ, our protector and warrior, strength giver, and perspective-enlightener.

What do you think fear is? How do you challenge your fear(s) through Christ?

Fear Factor Friday: Faint Not

Today’s fear factor is…


The following is from my journal from last September:

After listening to the news, I was absolutely struck with fear for the near future. The announcer was talking about Syria, Russia, homosexual persecution, economic risks, and the potential for WWIII. I’m not sure how the persecution of homosexuals* fits into the rest of the news story. Perhaps it was my confusion that led to more uncertainty. I ended up visiting my husband at the office and dumping an emotional speech about anxiety on him.

My fear was not that our country will fail or that we wont have the comforts and cash we so love. I am aware that God can use both of those to draw the people of the USA closer to Him.

My fear is that I will not suffer well. I will not hold up hope. My soul will grow weary and faint in the midst of difficult times. I will be so focused on my trouble that I will not be a light to others.

Remembering this day, now almost a year later, I realize that world-scares will come and go. Sometimes they are monumentally frightening, other times they fade with the next news show. The challenge from a few weeks ago, regarding “Love vs. Fear,” reminds me again to dig deeper roots into love. (1 Corinthians 13)

I can “bear all things” when I remain in love. 

Before we move on to tackling another facet of conquering fear, let us take “selah” and meditate on this concept: to live from a foundation of love. Take captive that spirit of fear. Look to the cross for truth, grace, and power. Then urge your soul again to “Faint not, but keep up in love.”


View the music video of this encouraging song, “Faint Not” by Jenny & Tyler:


Fear-Factor Fridays: Grace Finds Me

Last week we tackled being rooted in fear, which produces the fruit of anxiety, insecurity, etc.

Hopefully, we are all striving to be rooted in love instead of fear. Still, a valid question many of us are asking is: “How do you get rid of fear?”

My husband and I debated on whether fear is a restrainable emotion or uncontrolled state of mind. Eventually though, we brought the question back to the Bible.

“To get rid of fear, we must look at the cross,” Shane affirmed.

The cross is where Jesus power was greatly displayed. His power over sin and death is certainly stronger than fear as well.

Also, the cross gives us perspective of God’s grace. So even when our fears seem more persistent than the truth of God’s power, His grace meets us there.

20130912-092158.jpgAs Matt Redman sings, “Your grace finds me…”

My prayer today is this:

“Lord, I am so grateful for this truth: it is your grace that carries me today through every fear that dares to plague my thoughts. In every scenario–Your grace will find me! Someday, I will find the strength to walk in the confidence of your power. Until then, I am ‘breathing in your grace, and breathing out your praise.’ Thank you Savior for this victory–not over– but through the minefield that is my thought-life.”

I echo this prayer over you my friends, my family, my sisters. You might not be struggling with fear in your thoughts, but perhaps it is temptation, uncomfortable situation, a heart-heavy calling, or finding strength to share the gospel with a friend. Look to the cross for a victorious perspective. Sing this truth and let God carry you through it:


“It’s there in the newborn cry
It’s there in the light of every sunrise
It’s there in the shadows of this light
Your great grace

It’s there on the mountaintop
It’s there in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace

Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

It’s there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace

Oh, such grace
There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

So I’m breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be
Breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
For our God, for our God

Yes, Your grace finds me.”
Matt Redman, “Your Grace Finds Me,” 2013

Fear Factor Friday: Am I rooted in Fear?

Anxiety is one of modern day society’s greatest struggles. Young and old wrestle with this great foe day and night. Christ-followers seem to be just as prone to anxiety-attacks as those who don’t have hope in Christ. I am personally quite familiar with fear myself. But I KNOW it is not God’s best for me.

Join me as I tackle this subject every Friday, discovering how Christ’s love makes us more than conquerors over this epic battle against anxiety.

We will start today with a truth God taught me in the Fall of 2013: to avoid producing the fruit of fear, we must get to the root of things.

Am I rooted in fear or love?

Where am I rooted?

Ephesians 3:17 commends us to be “rooted and established in love.” A tree with healthy roots will produce life-giving fruit. The same is true with our life.

1 Corinthians 13 gives us a beautiful description of the fruit (product) of love:

4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8. Love never fails… 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

While studying these verses, I realized these are also the characteristics of Jesus. If I am to reflect Jesus, who is LOVE incarnate, then why do I not have these characteristics in my life? What is missing?

Instead of a loving patience, I am often plagued with debilitating anxiety. I tend to avoid bearing all things with confidence; instead, I typically cave emotionally at any opposition. Instead of a childlike hope, believing that God could work in all things, I lean toward giving-up easily.

After much prayer and study, I understand that my life was not operating from a place of love. If love produces belief, hope, and endurance, then I must be operating from the complete opposite of love. So, what is the opposite of love?

I believe God reveals the answer in 1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18

If there is no fear in love, then perhaps fear is the antitheses of love. Perhaps fruit of anxiety, self-concern, and doubt comes from a life rooted in fear.

I tested my theory by rearranging the 1 Corinthians 13 passage, with fear as the main factor instead of love: (verses 4-8)

4. Fear is anxious and impatient; fear is unkind. Insecurity (a form of fear) is full of envy; is boastful; is conceited.

5. Fear will act improperly; fear focuses on self; it easily annoyed; it maintains a detailed list of wrongs;

6. Fear finds joy in evil, but is cautious to rejoice in the truth;

7. Fear cannot bear anything, doubts all things, loses hope for all things, and gives up easily.

8. Fear always fails.

These “verses” accurately described my heart.

For example, I wake up anxious about how people will perceive me. I am afraid of rejection or disapproval. I have no patience for God’s plan to work itself out. I have chronic fear of failure.

Also, I am so terrified of mediocrity that I over-do everything.

And I doubt God. I stop believing that a person can change in the power of Christ. I give up. I get irritated when I don’t know “the plan.”

I think, in most cases, I am simply afraid of my pride getting hurt.

Being rooted in fear, instead of love, we naturally produce the fruit of self-centeredness, anxiety, envy, and giving-up easily.

Our Father has a great purpose for our lives, but that purpose is rooted in love, in HIM! (God is love!)

So we must do as the rest of 1 Corinthians 13 suggests and “put aside childish things”…. like fear. We have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Those are the qualities of a mighty woman of God. Fear is the characteristic of a child who does not understand her adoption as a daughter in Christ. (Romans 8:15)

We must “put aside” this childish insecurity and fear. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a [wo]man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) We do this by keeping our eyes on the cross!

I want my thoughts and actions to be rooted in love, so I may have the fruit of love in my life. Through Christ, I can be patient, kind, content, humble, considerate of others, rejoicing in the truth, hopeful, persevering, enduring, bearing and believing all things.

I know I can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. So I will put my big-girl panties on, ask for His help in uprooting fear, and live a life rooted in His love.

How about you? What fruit have you been producing lately? Share how God is helping you get to the root of things by commenting below.

Fear Factor Friday: Have the Day You Have

Every so often, Hollywood offers a golden perspective on life. I think The Odd Life of Timothy Green is one such nugget.

The Greens receive a gift from their garden: the child they couldn’t conceive. The child, Timothy, teaches them about love, selflessness, and trust, which eventually enables them to let go of their expectations but still cling to hope. My favorite scene in the film is this:

“Have a great day” is apparently too much pressure. And I tend to agree.

Our culture calls this, “not getting our hopes up.” Stop caring. Become callused. Without hope, there might not be any disappointment. We all know disappointment is the enemy of hope… its crushes optimism, cloning all of humanity to being “realists”.

But Love tells us to hope. Love also tells us to endure.

1 Corinthians 13 says…

“love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Sounds a bit contradictory to me. When I am hopeful, I usually channel my hope toward positive things that will most likely happen. If the forecast says rain, I don’t hope for sunshine. I know I will end up disappointed by reality.

When I knowingly walk into a circumstance in which I know I will have to endure, I check hope at the door and brace myself for the coming opposition. I “have the day I have.”

Jon Acuff, author and speaker, writes, “In these moments, fear will try to hand you an apathy shield… What fear doesn’t tell you is that apathy forms a wall, but that same wall blocks you from joy, too.” *

In Christ, the pressure that Cindy Green speaks of, is off!

Do we trust that God is faithful? Do we believe He really has the best in mind for us? That “the day we have” is whatever He planned ahead for us to experience (barring any of our own sin getting in the way)?

The pain, the confusion, the waiting, the excitement, the joy, the changes—each are an agent of God’s will to bring us closer to Him, which will bring us the greatest satisfaction anyway! “Having the day you have” doesn’t just mean grit your teeth and bear it; it also requires hope and trust that “the day you have” is also the “great day” your Dad wished you before school.

When we operate from a heart of love, we can do both. We can say “have a great day” and “have the day you have” at the same time. Love enables us to hope and endure at the same time.

I am about to give birth for the first time. I have no idea what to expect. A huge part of me wants to carry an “apathy shield” to guard against disappointment in my birth experience. But my God has wooed me, convincing me to operate from a place of love, not fear. And so, I am hoping like I’ve never hoped before! But I also know that I will “have the birth that I have.” It will be everything God designed for me to experience; and I have confidence He knows what is best for me. So, in the end, it will be everything I hoped for, because my hope is in Christ, not my circumstances.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:24-25

I’d like to hear from you? Where have you raised your “apathy shield” to guard against hope? How do you plan to drop that shield to both hope and endure all things?

*from the article "Dreaming God-Sized Dreams, 3 Lies fear always tells you about your goals," in the January 2013 issue of Homelife (produced by Lifeway).

Fear Factor Friday: Statistics just don't apply

These past few weeks, I have been struggling with fear and anxiety about making it full term. I foolishly turned to internet forums of other twin mom’s experiences, which only served to heighten my fears.

After much prayer, I bought a pregnancy devotional journal by Catherine Claire Larson. It has helped my perspective so much! I am resolved now to turn first to scripture, prayer, and worship to deal with my fears, before I research the “typical” stories. A good friend reminded me this brilliant quote:

“Statistics don’t apply to people who trust God.”

In  other words, our God is so much bigger than the odds. And His plan for me and for these babies is not defined by statistical information.

I am being much more proactive now regarding my education about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. But ultimately, the best preparation I can subscribe to is the Holy Word of God.

My Stack of Labor and Delivery Resources
My Stack of Labor and Delivery Resources

As I continue down this journey to overcome fear regarding D-day (delivery day), I plan to memorize several verses of truth and encouragement. To start, I have these few:

  • Jeremiah 29:11-13…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

  • 2 Timothy 1:7…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

  • Isaiah 26:3…You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!   [As I have mentioned before, this is also the verse my mother had memorized when she was bringing me into the world.]

I am open to suggestions! Which verses of courage and trust have you committed to memory?