Tag Archives: Fear Factor Fridays

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

West Nile Virus…

Swine Flu…

H1N1…

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
Finances
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
“again”
“again”

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?
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Fear Factor Friday: What are we afraid of?

Instead of posting about fears today, I’d like to ask my readers a very important question:

What do you think causes the greatest anxiety/fear in people today?

I look forward to addressing each of the answers you provide. Keep your eyes open every Friday for our war on anxiety!

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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:

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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!

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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?

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Fear Factor Friday: Faint Not

Today’s fear factor is…

World-scares.

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.”

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

 

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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

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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?

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Fear Factor Friday: Observing the Selah

Fear is a factor present in our world today.

I am committed to knowing, both in mind and heart, God’s perspective on fear. Keep a look out for “Fear-Factor Fridays,” where I will share my discoveries on the subject.

For today, rest with me in this:

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I LOVE that God mandates a Selah*, or an “interlude.” This word means to “pause and reflect.”

Musically, we might view it as a signal for a instrumental “solo.” But I think “Selah” is also a call to meditation: “every day, God carries you in His arms, now just stop and think about that for a while.”

In a world where nothing seems certain, I need that reminder. From my kitchen countertop to the global community, chaos seems to be hanging in the air. I feel precarious about our living situation, our income, my potential as a writer, my potential to be a mother someday. Short of my relationship with God and my relationship with Shane, it is all unclear.

So settles in the fear.

And I want to tackle that fear. Take it captive. Tell it to go away. Rebuke the attitude, the spirit of insecurity. Ask God for a change of heart. After all, I know that, ultimately, I should be trusting in my almighty God, not unstable things, to be my security.

But that nerve-racking stirring in the pit of my stomach doesn’t go away.

In my desperation to take action, I often rush to the next step: “… ok God, thanks for carrying me, now lets get down to business, to defeat the huns, I mean, the fear.”

Instead, I need to pause–relishing in the fact that I am the daughter of a God who loves me and CARRIES me through:

Maybe victory doesn’t always mean defeating the antithesis. Sometimes victory looks like rising above the whole situation, carried in God’s arms.

That deserves Selah. When I rest in this truth, when I “insert an interlude” into my busy mind, and action-oriented heart, I find peace.

I am praying the same for you today.

In faith,

Becky

P.S. I want to hear from you!

Resting in God’s truth isn’t easy. Let’s brainstorm some ideas on what that looks like!

How do you observe the act of “Selah”, to relish in the truth of God’s love? 

*I am so blessed to have a beautiful niece whose name is Selah. She is a beautiful and constant reminder in my life to pause and meditate on the truths of God… even if she is a little ball of energy most of the time.

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