Breaking Fear: Part 2, The Antidote

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You may already know this, but in the NIV version of the Bible, because each translation works out a little differently, there are 541 references to the word fear or afraid.  That’s only a little over 100 less than the number of times the word love appears. 

Why? 

Because humans are scared. 

I am chief scaredy-cat. 

This has nothing to do with your willingness to bungee jump or ride motorcycles or take on towering rollercoasters.  I’ve done all of those and loved every moment. 

This is fear of sickness or war or loneliness or mayhem or need or the unknown.  Scaredy-cat actually minimizes what’s really going on in our hearts and heads here.  In certain moments, the fear is more akin to terror and can paralyze us. 

In this fall’s study, Breaking Fear, we’re going to tackle those kinds of fears and understand what the Bible says about them.  But before we dive into what those fears are, let’s look at all the places the Bible counteracts fear without a single reference to the word. 

First, my foundation for this entire study is I John 4:18:  God is love so… There is no fear in love.  Guess what?  Love is referenced 686 times in the NIV version of the Bible.  See, even in the Scripture, love beats fear

Second, there are many other Biblical antidotes to fear:  Peace (mentioned 249 times in the NIV), Comfort (mentioned 75 times in the NIV), Deliver(er) (mentioned 252 times in the NIV), Rest (mentioned 508 times in the NIV), and on and on the list goes with the ways in which God delivers a balm to our fear. 

If we go into this study knowing God offers peace and comfort and deliverance and rest from the fears which threaten to throw us off course, then we can tackle our individual fears confidently.  We can rest assured He has the perfect antidote

What is one of the most powerful responses to fear?  Besides love, I believe it is TRUTH. 

If you have a relationship with Jesus, then you have the truth IN YOU.  It’s already there.  See this promise in John 15:26:  But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

The Spirit of truth has already been sent to you.  And just a few verses up in this same chapter of John, God tells us what else is living in us as a part of a mad-powerful concoction against fear:  As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

So we’re starting out with this: Truth!  Love!  Joy! 

Take that Fear!

What else do we need?  Well, I can still shake in my boots when fear assails me.  Paul, who should know after everything he went through, offers this guarantee in Romans 8:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is nothing, nothing, nothing, which can separate you or me from the Love of God.  Once we know, from our foundational verse, there is no fear in love, then we must acknowledge nothing can separate us from the safe place where fear cannot exist.  

Not only that, look at all those things in the list of things Paul says can’t separate us from God’s love:  death, life, distress, peril, famine, powers, things happening now, things happening in the future, any created thing, etc.  What does that list look like?  I don’t know about you, but that list looks a lot like a list of my fears. 

Sit with that for a minute. 

Nothing you are afraid of today can separate you from God and His love.  {===>Click to TweetAnd in His love, those fears are not allowed to live. 

You just annihilated your fears with His love.  

Imagine a video game and the death blaster is His love and all you need to do is point it at each one of your fears.  Game over.  Love wins. 

As someone who has sat in deep fear and anxiety on a regular basis, I recognize it doesn’t work out quite so simply in real life.  But I wonder if I’m not complicating it all.  

If we stand on this TRUTH, then our fear must die. 

Homework:

Memorize I John 4:18.  Have it at the ready when your fear comes calling.

Study and mediate on John 15 and Romans 8.  These are such foundational scripture passages.  They contain so much goodness beyond their link to love and fear.  Particularly focus on Romans 8:31-39 and John 15:9-17 and 26-27. 

Make a list of your fears.  Let’s tackle each one of them this fall.

Share what God is teaching you either in the comments here on the Facebook link.

 I’m so grateful to share this journey with you. 

Morning! Ready to Get Back on Track?

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Good morning!

It’s time to get ourselves back on course after this summer.

Our vacations have wrapped and, if you have kids like me, they are back in school, or maybe you are back in school.

Let’s get organized and set some goals and lead into the next frontier.

First things first, it’s time to wake up early again.  Oh I know we’ve let the schedule creep a little, but even us non-morning folks are at our peak output time in the first half of the day.  I’m stringing these sentences together at 5 am.  Fun?  Not so much.  Necessary?  Definitely.  Research shows we have the most creativity early in the day as well as the most will power.  So roll you alarm clock back.

Next, block off time in the first part of your work day to do your big thinking.  Have a new work project taxing you?  Have a thorny situation you’re a little unclear how to navigate?  Have a tricky problem you must solve?  You will do it best if you have uninterrupted time.  Turn off your email notifications and your phone and block off concrete time on your calendar no one besides you can touch.  Take advantage of your creative juices and maximum focus and layout a plan for your challenge.

Then, write down your priorities.  What do you want to accomplish for the next month and through the end of the year?  There’s nothing worse than getting to December and being ready for Christmas vacation only to realize to didn’t finish up what you wanted or had to accomplish.  Write out how much progress you’ve made (10%?  50?), and then set interim goals.

How do you feel physically?  Have you seen your doctor for a check up?  Your dentist?  Your optometrist?  They’re back from summer vacation too and you need to use this year’s insurance dollars.  Set up one appointment each month for the visits you have outstanding.  Really watch what you eat in September and October and throw in a little extra exercise because even the most careful among us get derailed during the holidays.

You are going to rock this fall!

We’re all going to get back in order and update our calendar and our priorities and focus on what’s really critical in our lives.  If unnecessary stuff crept in over the summer, then it’s time to cut it so you can turn your attention to the key things.  My priorities for fall are:  helping a team bring a big project to fruition, helping my kids transition to kindergarten and their new environment, finishing the chapters to my triplet tales book, losing 15 more pounds, and stepping into a new leadership assignment.

I know what each requires and a lot of that is just time and energy.  I know your list requires time and energy too.  Let’s make it happen.

Knock ’em dead!

Fashion Fridays: S.W.A.P., From Office to Hot Date

This is a fun one girls!  For today’s “Shopping with a Purpose,” S.W.A.P., we’ve got a hot date coming up!  Wahoo!  Nothing you want to knock out of the ballpark like a first date.  My friend’s date, just like my own first date with my now-husband, immediately follows a work day.

What’s a girl to do?  Bring an entire wardrobe change to the office?  Heck, no!  There are GREAT first date options which move seamlessly from day to evening with only a make-up freshener and accessory change needed.

If you are firmly in the anti-dress camp, then I’ll try to figure something out for you.  But seriously, a dress is the perfect solution.  You can pair a great dress with a blazer for day and then slip off the blazer and add some chandelier earrings and you’re ready for a date.

In addition, if you are firmly in the anti heels camp, then I can’t help you.  You wear heels on a first date, especially if it follows work AND you’re wearing a dress.  Get a pair of great nude heels – your legs will look a mile long.  Here’s a great pair for only $60 at DSW:

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Wear them before the date so you know how to walk in them and they’re not slippery on the soles (nothing worse than busting your bum in front of your date because of slippy shoes).

So let’s get to the centerpiece:  The Dress.  You don’t want to go over-the-top, and you should play to your best features.  No matter what dress I show here, the specifics may not work on you because you carry weight in your hips or you have a larger chest or you have all up and down lines.  Wear something you feel AWESOME in and in which you will feel comfortable through the day and evening.

If you don’t carry weight in your middle like I do, I love this dress.  I’m showing it in several ways because of the smart styling – look at the cool back zipper and if you paired it with a fabric blazer instead of a leather one it would work beautifully for work as well as your date.

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If you do carry weight in your middle or hips, this is a lovely option.  My girlfriend just bought it and it looks chic and eye-catching on.

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If you prefer something more understated, this is a fashion forward but neutral option with cool leather color blocking (I’d pair this with gray heels instead of nude).

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Freshen up your make up in the ladies room before heading out and think about darkening your eye make up for a little dramatic flair but keep your lips and skin neutral.  Then swap out your work earrings for something a little edgier – or add a fun necklace and keep the simple earrings (I like long tassel necklaces).

All of these are simple fixes for less than $40 (necklace courtesy of Nordstrom, earrings courtesy of Macy’s, and make up courtesy of your local drug store):

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Here’s a couple of ideas I love for a confident professional woman’s date night out but I just couldn’t quite make them work friendly!

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Have fun and text me details friend!

 

Photo Credit of Eye Shadow: Make Up Women Stalk; Photo Credit of Taylor Swift: TSwift Daily

Breaking Fear: Part 1, An Introduction

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I’ve never physically been under attack.  I’ve never had a gun pointed at my head.  I’ve never experienced terrorism up close and personal.  I’ve never been beaten and robbed.

I have, however, experienced acute anxiety.  The kind that wakes you up at night.  The kind that sends you running to catch an earlier flight out only to then worry the earlier flight you caught will crash.  The kind that makes you reach over to jostle your napping child to make sure he’s still breathing.

I believe there is anxiety which needs to be medically treated.  I fully support those who are able to find respite through a psychologist or medication.

I also believe there is a spiritual component to our fear.  As I am neither a doctor nor a psychologist, this ten week study looks at the way to wage spiritual war on the fears which can cripple us.  For some, the spiritual knowledge will couple with the medical knowledge in combatting their struggle.

This is a relatively new battlefield for me.  While I’ve always worried a little, the white-knuckled terror I’ve faced on and off recently emerged only in the past two years.

It’s not surprising so many of us are struggling with fear.  We live in a 24 hour news cycle.  The more heinous the crime, the more media attention it garners.  Our iPhones light up alerting us to beheadings and explosions.  We hear the horrific stories of sexual exploitation and bear up under the heartbreaking news there are more slaves in America today than in our nation’s history.  I can’t watch YouTube videos of anything knowing it will only add to my restless sleep.

Forty million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder.  That’s nearly one fifth of our country’s population.  Yet, comparatively, we’re one of the safest societies to live in.  Our planes rarely crash.  Our buildings rarely blow up.  Our soil hasn’t seen the genocide or terrorism common in other countries.

Why are we all so terrified? 

I believe…

I started writing that sentence over and over and couldn’t finish it until God asked me, “What DO you believe, Gindi?”

I believe God is love.  I believe in His Love there is no fear.  I believe perfect Love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment and there is no fear of punishment in perfect Love.  (I John 4)

 

I do believe those words.  I’m just not always sure how to make sure the fear is driven out.

 

So this ten week bible study is really a journey we’ll be going on together.  A journey from fear to freedom.

 

It’s time for Breaking Fear. 

 

{To follow this study, you can enter your email to subscribe to the blog or follow our conversation on Facebook.  This study is only intended to focus on what God says about fear.  If you suffer from crippling anxiety, I encourage you to visit your doctor. }

On Your First Day of Kindergarten

My dear ones,

I’ve known this day was coming for three months.

Well, I suppose I’ve always known it would come.

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And yet, blink, in quickest flash of a moment it is here.

I am so proud of you on this special day.  I had no idea, staring at each of your little faces in the NICU almost six years ago, who you would become and how immeasurably I would come to love you.

I want so much for you.  Today and in the days to come.  I want all the basics, of course.  For you to read this year as you each so love books.  It will be a passion we share together as we grow.  For you to add and subtract as you begin to compute facts and figures in your head.  For you to begin comprehending the fascinating mysteries of science as you experiment and sense new ways for things to come together.  For you to learn about different countries and peoples and languages and cultures as you imagine the vast world you have yet to travel.

Oh, but I long for you to learn so many things beyond the basics.

I want you to begin to read other people.  To understand their emotions and reactions so you can empathize and understand how to form deep and fulfilling relationships with peers and with elders.

I want you to start understanding how to add in the things which are important and add value and improve your character and subtract out the things which don’t really matter and belittle others and attack your self-esteem.

I want you to passionately seek to find glimpses of the fascinating mysteries of Christ and His sacrifice and His grace and His unfathomable, unfailing, unflinching love for you.

I want you to thoroughly enjoy meeting all peoples of all backgrounds and cultures and incomes and families and respect the diversity they bring to your learning and know that God formed each one of them uniquely with special talents and life purposes.

I know it sounds like such a tall order, but your momma is an optimist.  I believe in the best in you and believe you will grow from a funny, high-spirited child into a purposeful and passionate young adult.

I want to do all I can do to help, but I also want to take one step back this year (just one step at a time, my love).  You see, you’re growing up and you’re not my little one who needs help getting dressed or who holds my hand on every sidewalk.  If I’m being honest with you, I’m crying just typing that up.

See I lose all three of you to a new stage at the same time.  I don’t get to hold one baby back while I release the next one.  No, no, I have the best and the worst job.  I get to send you off to spread your wings all at the same time.  While that brings me tremendous joy, it also makes me sad that you’re growing up so fast.  You are so much of my heart, a bigger heart than I even knew possible, and it breaks just a bit when you’re able to step further away on your own.

But I would never stop this.  Because I believe this is all a working out of His big plan.  I’m so honored to just play a role.  I am confident of this, He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.  (Phil 1:6)

I know God is working your life verses into the fabric of what you learn and understand, and I know this kindergarten year will stitch even more of it into the fabric of your lives.  My loving, diligent eldest, you will win favor when you trust God with all your heart.  My passionate, artistic only girl, as you know His love more, He will do beyond what you could ever fathom in your life.  My smart and emotional youngest, you will live a life worthy of Him as you grow in understanding and wisdom.

Have a great day my big boys and girl.  Have a great year.  You will have both successes and failures and each experience will form you into a stronger, more capable human.  No matter whether your days or good or bad, I am always here.  I love you.  I will always love you.  Thank you for making me a mommy.

All my love, to the moon and back,

Mom