Fear, Worry and Stress Anyone?

Tornadoes, or even the threat of them, scare the tar out of me.  

For whatever reason, bad weather totally freaks me out.  We didn’t have a basement when I was growing up, just this creepy crawl space.  So whenever there was a tornado warning, I would beg my mother to take me to our next door neighbor’s house, to the safety of their basement.  One afternoon, the alarms had sounded on the radio and that man, that man with the national-weather-service-scary-storm-announcing-voice, told us of the warning.  I ran as fast as my five year old legs would carry me and I stood pounding on my neighbor’s front door, crying my eyes out, begging her to let me in.

My word, so dramatic.

But to my core, I was completely gripped with fear.

What about you?  What scared you as you were growing up?  Noises at night, heights, getting lost, movies?  Are you still fearful of these things, or were they simply little girl fears?

As grown-up women, we learn how to hide our fears, don’t we?  We aren’t often found screaming and crying, pounding on an escape door, begging someone to let us in.  But we do fear, yes?  We fear any number of things.

I think that we are gripped with fear more often than we realize.

And as a result, fear becomes a wall that rises up around us that keeps us physically, emotionally and spiritually from the life of freedom God desires for us.

I can see all of you nodding your head in agreement.  Me too.  We all know this.  But are we living our lives in such a way that demonstrates that we actually believe this?

If you are just joining us, we are beginning Week 3 in our Summer to Soak.  In Week 1, we contrasted the difference between believing and understanding.  Week 2 established a pivotal foundation to our study, in that we looked at the relentless and unending love of Jesus.  If you missed last week, I implore/beg/plead with you to take some time here.  Wrapping up in His love is essential to taking in the rest of this study.

As you’ve gone through each week so far, you’ve seen that there are opportunities for you to dive in deeper if that’s what you’re looking for.  Only you know what your soul needs.  Maybe it’s a light sprinkle, maybe it’s a full emersion.  But wherever you’re at, take time throughout the week to always come back to our verse of the week.  Let the power of His Word wash over and transform you this summer.

SO, with all that said, here we go into Week 3!

OUR VERSE FOR WEEK THREE

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”  

2 Timothy 1:7

Who Wrote It and Why?

Paul wrote this book to Timothy, his “true son in the faith”.  Paul loved Timothy, who had joined him on his second and third missionary journeys, and was then commissioned to oversee the church in Ephesus.  This second letter to Timothy was considered to be Paul’s last.  In Chapter 4, Paul shares that his time has come, that he has fought the good fight and finished the course.  This letter is a strong and final charge to Timothy to preach the Word, to endure hardship and do whatever it takes to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul counseled Timothy to not be afraid, but to stand in God’s Truth.  If anyone got what it meant to have a hardship, Paul was that man.  He had truly been there, done that.  However, Paul knew His God, and had seen and experienced too much to let fear win the day.  Timothy must do the same.

Ahhh, Fear.

This week’s verse will be familiar for some of you.  For some, this hits you right where you live.  Some of you may feel like you’re not a very fear-filled person.  However, take a minute to see if any of the following resonate with you.  These are three key areas where we as women often give into fear:

1.  Fear For Ourselves.  We are afraid of…

  • Getting hurt emotionally – we fear others will hurt us, leave us, betray us
  • Failure – we fear we will not succeed, or that our dreams will fall short
  • Making the wrong decision – we fear our choices will not be the right ones

2.  Fear For Others.  We are afraid…

  • Those we love will make the wrong decision – we fear they will make choices that will negatively impact their lives and futures
  • For their safety – we fear they may be hurt, physically or emotionally

3.  Fear of the Unknown.  We are afraid of the “WHAT IF’s” …

  • What if I can’t make ends meet?
  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if something bad happens?
  • What if ____________?  

Do any of these examples resonate with you?  Which one in particular?  At the end of the day, fear takes us one of three places:

    1. We panic, freak out, stress and worry.
    2. We shut down, compartmentalize it and check out.
    3. We become obsessed with controlling and managing every situation in our lives.

Each of these options over time are exhausting and, honestly, pretty full of ourselves.  And lest I appear to be judging, this quote by Francis Chan, from his book Crazy Love, convicts me way too much:

Worry implies that we don’t quite trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.  Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control  Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional.  Worry and stress reek of arrogance.  They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives are brief…and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.

He’s not saying here that we’re not going to have problems and adversities, but he’s challenging us as believers to LIVE in such a way that actually acknowledges and relies on God’s power and love in the midst of them!  

God has not given me a spirit of FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.   FEAR.

Instead, He has given me power, love and a sound mind.  …more on those words later in the week.

For today, we’re gonna push pause, and I want you to consider for a moment . . .

What do you fear?  What words or thoughts have stirred in you so far?  

Then, ask the Lord why these seem to either resonate or cause resistance in you.  

Girlfriends, we are so often filled with fear.  God has an answer for this.  However, before we move on to the second half of this verse, I want you to spend the next day or so asking the Lord to reveal what it currently gripping your heart with fear, what is causing you to run out the door crying, keeping you from believing Him for all that He is.  If we are going to be women who stand in God’s truth, we must first be able to identify what areas need His help and His healing.  Take time to sit and soak with the Lord in Part 1 of this verse.

See you back here later this week for Part 2 . . .

___________________________

What areas of your life cause fear, worry or stress?  What stood out to you as you read today?  

Your comments are an encouragement to others!

___________________________

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5 Comments

  1. leilu98 on July 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    This study so far has been opening my eyes to the wonder that is God. It’s given me a new sense of who He really is. I’ve known before, except I hadn’t really believed it in my heart. I believe this study came at a perfect time during the changes in my life that are happening this year. Thank you and God Bless 🙂

  2. Kristin on July 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Oh Julie, what an awesome post! Thank you so much, I could totally relate to everything you said. I used to live in fear almost all of my waking day. I was totally worried about all three of the areas you mentioned above (myself, others and the unknown). One day a good friend told me that fear is the opposite of faith. She said that when we are in fear, we aren’t trusting God to take care of the details of our life. I really wanted to live that kind of life – free of fear! I became intentional about TRYING to stay in a place of being confident in the Lord as much of the time as possible. Oh boy, I sure failed a lot! But over time my life really changed, with His help. It’s so much easier to be in a place of joy and peace when fear is not around. We can do it ladies, with His help! Thank you God that you have given us power, love and a sound mind.

    • womenwhobelieve on July 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you for sharing Kristin, His peace is such an amazing gift, isn’t it??? A peace that we cannot possibly manufacture. So thankful you’re here with us!

  3. Susie on July 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

    These two scriptures from a devotional today have helped me in the past when fear came knocking at my door. Romans 8:38-39 nothing can separate us from the love of God… Psalm56:3-4 when I am afraid I will trust in You…we need to continually run back into the arms of our loving Abba Father…He is ALWAYS there with open arms, arms that we can trust!

  4. Colleen on July 5, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Julie thank you for such a wonderful study topic!

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