Tag Archives: fear

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: 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.

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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).
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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:

Image-1

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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Overcoming fear and “Going on an Adventure”

I am feeling a tad apprehensive about this journey of becoming a writer. For the last few months I’ve been feeling a bit intimidated to say the least. I finished writing a book, but now I have to edit it…. And I should probably let other people review it also.

Also, God brought an amazing connection to a college ministry magazine… all I have to do is send in a few articles and see where God takes it.

I could start writing published material. Or I could be royally rejected and have to try again. Both possibilities intimidate the dickens out of me.

I’ve spent the day cleaning and writing silly little blog posts like this one to help get over my fear and anxiety, and the consequential writer’s block. In the quiet and mundane, the Holy Spirit encourages me:

“You have nothing to prove, and nothing to lose. You are found in Me, secure in My approval of you, and equipped by all my power to take this leap of faith. My lovingkindness is new every morning, as will be the horizon when you face rejection. Trust me and move forward. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, …you who wait for the Lord!

So what if I taste defeat? I’ll brush my teeth and jump back into the day (thanks to Reliant K for these lyrics).

Every time  pray about this, God brings the picture from “The Hobbit” of Bilbo becoming completely undignified for the journey ahead.

tumblr_mg2xfevTzB1r6thamo1_500_zpse36c7948

So there you have it, friends…. “I’m going on an adventure!!!”

How about you? What journey is God leading you on? Have any tips on overcoming your fears and taking that leap of faith? Share by commenting below!

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