Hey friends! So excited for the launch of the newest workshop in LO sister, Renew Your Mind. This workshop dives into different areas of mental health such as anxiety, depression, fear, and doubt. If you want to be a part, join here! I hope you enjoy this excerpt from part 1 of the workshop!
Let me take you back to a few experiences that will show you what a fearful person I used to be.
As a child and young teenager (and, okay, even older than that), I was terrified of storms. I’m not sure why, but thunder, lightning, high winds, tornado warnings—all those things made me shake inside. Looking back now, the fear seems totally unreasonable, and I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe I was afraid of tornadoes because, unlike other girls my age who watched Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel, for some reason, I watched the Weather Channel—a lot. I was remarkably educated about floods, droughts, hurricanes, and blizzards. I knew about people being rescued from their rooftops and losing power for days. I’m aware that most children aren’t fascinated by weather events, but I was unusually interested in what can happen in the natural world and how powerful it can be. I just wasn’t interested enough to want to live through a tornado. But I did—kind of, or at least from a distance.
I once saw a tornado from my seat in the car while my family drove from our home in Louisiana to a Texas Rangers baseball game. The sheer force of it captured my attention and terrified me. I can still see the image of the funnel cloud in my mind. But I can also see a mental picture of my cousin, Reed, undoubtedly the toughest and least fearful of the Robertson grandchildren, freaking out over the tornado. This guy, who was never afraid of anything and always rushing into things that seemed dangerous, started screaming as loud as he could and even threw his phone to the back of the car!
That episode with the tornado stands out as one of the most frightening events of my childhood because it felt so threatening to me, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It was completely out of my control!
I didn’t know then that navigating situations we have no control over is a necessary step toward breaking free from fear. That’s one thing about God; He’s the one in control, not you or me. The tornado incident drove home for me the whole idea that I am not in control of anything. It was so much bigger, so much more forceful, so much more frightening than any experience I had ever had. After watching it with my family that day, I didn’t want to travel anywhere unless I knew what kinds of scary things could happen. Seriously, before I went on a trip, I researched the most common natural disasters in the state where I was going.
It didn’t take long for me to learn what was likely to happen in almost every state in America. Want to know where tornadoes strike most often? Just ask me. Interested in the states where wildfires happen most? I can tell you that. Want to know the places most vulnerable to floods or earthquakes? I still remember them. Oh, and as a bonus, if you’d like to know the details of hurricane season, I could probably help you with those too. Being afraid of tornadoes and natural disasters isn’t terribly uncommon, but I took those fears to extremes.
You see, it’s one thing to be aware of your circumstances. It’s another thing to let them consume and control you—and that’s what fear does. Plenty of people are scared of big catastrophes, but it isn’t always the big, dramatic events (like watching a tornado from the car window) that make us most afraid.
It could be walking into a certain room, what someone “might” say about you, if you’ll get a job after college, if you’re going to be a good mom, if he’ll love you for who you are or not, or even something as simple as the fear of not being wanted.
The key ingredient to overcoming fear is not just speaking to it; it’s speaking to it in Jesus’ name. When I tell fear to go away and leave me alone in the name of Jesus, I say it with lots of force and a little bit of sass. That short speech has become my anthem. I don’t care if I sound a little silly saying it. It works!
If you will stand up to fear, give it a little straight talk, and tell it to leave you alone in Jesus’ name, that will get you a long way. But beyond that, it’s also vital to trust God while you’re still afraid.
You see, often your peace is waiting for you on the other side of trust. I’ve had a lot of experiences where God met me once I stared down my fear, pushed through it, and did what I needed to do. When we’re afraid, we have a tendency to pray and ask God for peace before we’ll step out and do what frightens us. But most of the time, we simply need to move forward. Once we break through the fear, God gives us the most amazing sense of peace—but usually not while we’re still deciding whether to conquer it or not.
If you’re waiting for a sense of peace to come so you can deal with your fear, you could be waiting a long time. If you will be brave and march straight into that fearful situation, having faith that God will bring you through it, that’s probably where you’ll find the peace you’re looking for. It’s not that things aren’t scary. They are, and they will continue to be. But each of us has to come to a deep, personal realization that God has already conquered fear—and by the power of His Spirit we can live completely free from fear. There’s so much more to this life, so much we can experience and give to others if we can break free from fear. If we can learn to let God lead us instead of letting fear control us.
Turn with me in your bible to the book of Psalm and let’s read together. I encourage you to read this out loud!
“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:4–5)
The world wants to take you on a journey. It wants to tell you how to live your life, what you should think is important, how you should think about your work, how you should handle relationships, what you should try to achieve… The list goes on.
And sometimes, that journey looks good. It can be pretty attractive and satisfying for a while. But it is not the journey that will glorify God. As John Piper says,
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
That’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge with an amazing reward. Let me encourage you today to let God—not the world or anything the world tries to inspire you to be or do—be the most satisfying thing in your life. Even if He’s leading you in a direction you don’t really want to be led, and even if you’re really scared. It’s so important to establish a great relationship with Him and a great love for Him. That’s the only way to push past the fear and follow Him. He wants your love, He wants your trust, and He wants to take you on an amazing journey through life that will put to shame everything the world could ever offer.
Don’t be afraid of God’s leading in your life. Step out and follow, because He’s taking you somewhere awesome, sis.
Here’s an encouragement from me to you today! Lean away from your fears and into your Father in this moment.