The Devastating Consequences of Fear

The Devastating Consequences of Fear

You can’t stop thinking about it–that fear that keeps you up at night, keeps you vigilant, keeps you looking for safeguards. It could be a health scare, fear for your kids, or a phobia. Whatever your fear, you are preoccupied with the terrible consequences you foresee. How would your kids cope without you? What if something happens to your child? What if you’re in a packed public place and you can’t get out?

None of the reassurances you get from statistics, family, or even doctors provide any comfort. The fear doesn’t lose its grip on you. Want to watch this in video form instead? Scroll down!

Devastating Consequences of Fear

As a trained Christian psychologist, I know how to treat anxiety. Pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and biblical counseling can be very effective in treating anxiety. Yet, there is evidence that anxiety is on the rise. I’ve noted a significant increase in the number of people I know who suffer with anxiety. Despite being very familiar with anxiety, I suffered with it myself.

The Truth That Can Set Us Free From Fear

If you suffer from chronic fear, I urge you to seek help from a Christian counselor experienced in treating anxiety disorders or a cognitive-behavioral therapist. In the meantime, consider this truth:

Fear Quote

Before I explain, I’d like to direct you to 1 Samuel. David had been promised by God (with much confirmation) that he would be the next king of Israel.

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of theLord came powerfully upon David. 1 Samuel 16:13

We, too, have the promises of God: eternity with Him; He will never leave or forsake us; nothing can take us out of His hand; all our needs will be met; we will be comforted in our trials; all things will work together for our good, and many more. Like David, we have had the promises of God confirmed many times. Can you recall a time of God’s provision, presence, or peace in fearful times in the past? I definitely can.

Yet, despite God’s confirmed promise to David, David feared that Saul would kill him. He wouldn’t be king after all. Now there aren’t many things more terrifying than being chased after by a murderous madman, so I sympathize with David. But the consequence of David’s fear was eminently more devastating than even his own death.

David fled to Ahimelek the priest and lied to him about why he was in Nob because he feared Saul. The end result of David’s fear was the murder of 85 priests and the entire town of Nob, including children and infants. What’s more devastating than losing your life? Being responsible for the murder of an entire town full of people. Can you imagine the guilt he must have felt?

You’d think that David would have learned his lesson and would have trusted God to protect him, but no. His next fear-induced decision was to go to live amongst the Philistines. There, he consoled himself, he would be safe from Saul. But the devastating consequence was that his wives and his men’s wives and possessions were taken. His men were so upset with David about this turn of events that they nearly stoned him to death. Would it have been more devastating to be responsible for losing your family, your men’s family, and to be killed by your own men than by Saul? I think so! If you don’t know how the story ends, read 1 Samuel.

Are the Consequences of Fear Really More Devastating Than What We’re Afraid Of?

“Okay, Melanie,” you may be thinking. “That was David in Bible times. What I’m afraid of is much worse than the consequences of my fear.”

Don’t be so sure. Allow me to use fears you may be able to relate to for the purposes of discussion.

Are you afraid for your own health?

I was. I had symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a disease my mother has. I was so terrified I wouldn’t see a doctor. I didn’t want to hear the diagnosis. I began a diet and supplement regimen I hoped would cure me. It left me twenty pounds underweight, had me experiencing nearly every physical symptom you can imagine, and had my family and friends fearful for my life and sanity. What my fear did to me was much worse than multiple sclerosis could ever do. When I finally decided to trust God (and that was a process that required much prayer and meditation on Scripture), my physical symptoms disappeared. The book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie is full of accounts of people whose terminal illnesses disappeared when the fear did.

Are you afraid of losing someone you love?

Surely the consequences of your fear aren’t worse than having your loved one die? Not so fast. People who are afraid of losing a loved one typically make their loved ones so miserable with their constant worrying and unnecessary rules that their loved one no longer wants to be with them. Isn’t it more devastating to have your child or your spouse leave you by choice than by God’s sovereignty? I have had the opportunity to know godly people who have experienced the loss of a child. Their testimony is that God has given them grace to endure the loss. You will literally have Jesus’ ability to cope if you need it.

Are you afraid of flying or crowds or failing?

If you have a fear like these, do you think the consequences of your fear are more benign? Wrong! Do you remember the parable of the talents? Servants were given bags of gold: one was given one, one was given two, and one was given five.  Why did the servant who made no return on his money bury it? Because he was afraid. What was the consequence? He was called wicked and lazy and his money was taken from him. He was thrown into the darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I’m not suggesting our fears will send us to hell. Rather, this account suggests that the consequences of our fear includes separation from God. Ultimately, my own fear was like the wicked servant’s. I was afraid of God because I didn’t see Him as the good, loving God that He is. I didn’t believe His promises any more than David did when he was running from Saul.

The second devastating consequence of these kinds of fears is missed opportunities. We don’t know that the servant who buried his money saw the money the other servants earned or not. But won’t we realize our lost opportunities either at the end of our lives or when we give an accounting to God?

What would God have done in you and through you if you’d gotten on that flight? What if that crowded Christian concert you were too afraid to attend would have renewed your faith and confirmed that mission God has for you? What if you had written that book, gone into business, or started a ministry and you had changed people’s lives? Regret, my friend, is more devastating than anything you fear.

 

What will you do now?

Fear is appropriate when our proposed actions are foolish or disobedient, but fear isn’t appropriate when God has clearly called us to act, trusting in Him.

If you suffer with chronic anxiety, recognize that it is the most treatable mental illness. Make an appointment, and ask your loved ones to pray for you and to go with you for support. I’m praying for you!

Subscribe to Psychowith6 so you won’t miss a post on overcoming fear.

 

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Why We Need a Sabbath Rest

Why We Need a Sabbath Rest

It was Daylight Saving Time and my husband tried to change the time on our oven. He told me had had some trouble with it and I wasn’t worried. I’d changed it many times before. But when I tried to change the time, I noticed that I couldn’t do anything with the oven. It wasn’t working. There was some kind of strange error code. I tried flipping the breaker, but to no avail. It was time to call appliance repair.

Why We Need a Sabbath Rest

The repairman arrived and glanced at the error code. “Oh, it’s in Sabbath mode,” he said.

“Sabbath mode?”

“Yup. You just need to look up how to get it out of that mode in your manual.”

I couldn’t find the manual quickly, so Google explained that I just had to hold the clock button down to change it.

“That’ll be $75,” the repairman said. OK, so he wasn’t that rude, but that’s what it cost us to fix our oven. Ugh.

Why Do You Need a Sabbath Mode?

My husband kept thinking about the $75 bill, but I kept thinking about an oven mode that kept you from using the oven. Why would one need that?

I know that Jewish people observing the Sabbath aren’t allowed to cook. But why would you need to disable your oven? Couldn’t you just not bake?

A few weeks have passed since I asked myself these questions–a few weeks full of stress and busyness and what one of my Periscope viewers (catch the replay below) called “the creep.” In that time, I have felt exhausted, sick, and discouraged. Guess why.

  • I had been ignoring my rule about not working past 8 p.m.
  • I had been ignoring my rule about not working on Sundays
  • I had been ignoring my rule about not working through lunch

The short answer to why I was starting to fall apart is that I hadn’t used my Sabbath mode.

We need a Sabbath mode so we can be strong physically.

Lack of sleep and unscheduled time can lead to illness and exhaustion that can sideline us for weeks or months. Our bodies weren’t created for continuous operation. In Mark 2:27, Jesus says: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” God asked His people to rest, not because He needed them to, but because they needed to.

We need a Sabbath mode so we can be strong emotionally.

I don’t know about you, but the most exhausting parts of my life are emotional, not physical strain. If I don’t have down time to process it, pray about, and talk about it, I will get testy. If it goes on long enough, I will get depressed. I love what Psalm 127:2 says about rest: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Rest is God’s gift to us.

We need a Sabbath mode so we can be strong spiritually.

Exodus 20:11 says: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” When we work seven days a week, we can begin to believe that we are even more important than God. Even though I use my oven A LOT, life in our home wasn’t much different. We got to go out and I made meals that didn’t have to be baked. If you take a Sabbath rest, your family will survive, too.

When Are You Going to Go Into Sabbath Mode?

I determined that I need to turn my Sabbath mode on again at lunch time, after 8 p.m., and on Sundays. I asked not to be scheduled for tennis matches on Sundays unless I am really needed. I am going to tell my family to object if I try to keep working after 8 p.m.

Decide when your Sabbath will be and how you will keep your buttons from being pushed to keep working.

Need more? Catch the video where I discuss needing Sabbath and consider reading

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Unfading Beauty

Unfading Beauty

Learn how you and your teen daughter can enjoy unfading beautyI asked my friend, Sharla Fritz, to share this guest post with my readers in honor of her new book that will be such a blessing to young women. I’m pleased to say I am giving away a copy. Be sure to enter before you go.

“Hey Mom, can I buy this mascara?”

“Can I get this lip gloss? I’ll use my own money. Pleeeease?”

“Will you ever let me wear makeup?

When I was thirteen, these were the questions I pestered my mother with constantly. After reading teen magazines, I was convinced that makeup was what I needed to be beautiful. Just a little mascara, a bit of blush, and a dab of lip gloss and I would be able to look like the models on the glossy pages I read over and over. A few cosmetics were all I needed to make everyone at school like me—to make me like me.

Plenty of Products

Judging by the thousands of beauty products available, I’m not the only one who has ever had those thoughts. During a quick trip to the drug store today, I stopped to browse in the makeup aisle. I was astounded by the number of mascaras available for sale. Under the Maybelline sign alone I counted twelve different colorful tubes of the stuff. Almay had five. Cover Girl had thirteen. In all, I found 73 unique products guaranteed to enhance my eyelashes!

That doesn’t even take into account all of the other items offered in the cosmetic aisle. We can buy products to make our cheeks appear rosier, our eyebrows darker, and our lips shinier. Thousands of choices are available to buff up our appearance—our physical beauty.

But even when I looked up and down all the aisles of the store, I couldn’t find any products to help me enhance my inner beauty. I didn’t see any gels or lotions to help me develop a beautiful heart.

True Beauty is Inside

Which is sad, because that’s the kind of beauty God wants us to have.

In the book of 1 Peter, He tells us:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV 1984)

Now I don’t think that Peter was telling these women that it was wrong to fix their hair or wear cute clothes. He isn’t saying we shouldn’t wear makeup or put on a necklace. I think he was telling them, telling us, that the latest hairstyle or the trendiest wardrobe isn’t what makes a girl lovely. True beauty comes from inside.

God tells us that instead of 73 tubes of mascara, instead of hundreds of cosmetics, there is only one thing we need to be truly beautiful: a gentle and quiet spirit.

What Does a Gentle and Quiet Spirit Look Like?

You’ll be relieved to know that a gentle spirit doesn’t mean being a timid, pathetic person. A quiet spirit doesn’t mean we have to sit in a corner all day never talking to our friends.

The word used for gentle in 1 Peter 3 means having a graceful soul. If we could buy a jar of cream that could give a gentle spirit, it would enable us to accept what God is doing in our lives. It would help us to trust that God knows what He is doing, even when we can’t make any sense out of it at all.

The word quiet in this passage describes a peaceful heart that is not upset by chaotic circumstances. A bottle of this kind of quiet gives a tranquility that isn’t dependent on having a perfect day. It’s like the one person who manages to remain calm and clean during a cafeteria food fight.

Although there aren’t any products available in the cosmetics aisle to give us a gentle and quiet heart we don’t have to lose hope. God is more than willing to give us the grace we need to be able to hold His hand in trust when we start to question what’s happening in our lives. He gives us His Spirit to quiet down our chaotic hearts.

I think our heavenly Father seriously wonders why we expect bottles of liquids and tubes of gels to give us worth and beauty. Because He has already done that.

God has made us beautiful.

Sharla Fritz is the author of Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful, a new book for teens and young women designed to help them discover their beauty in Christ. She speaks to hundreds of women each year about experiencing a makeover of the soul. She lives in the Chicago area with her pastor husband where she loves to hunt for fabulous fashion finds at local resale shops. You can connect with Sharla at www.sharlafritz.com.

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Divine Makeover and enter to win a makeover basket by May 1 here.

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15 Homeschool Blogs I’m Crazy About

15 Homeschool Blogs I’m Crazy About

15 Must-Read Homeschool BlogsThis year I’ve gotten familiar with 15 homeschool blogs that I love and I think you will, too. After I tell you all about them, I want to tell you about my Versatile Blogger Award from Stories of Our Boys. April’s blog isn’t a homeschool blog, but I absolutely love it. Her posts about her four darling boys remind me so much of myself years ago. It’s a fun walk down memory lane. Part of the Versatile Blogger Award is sharing seven things about myself, so I hope you’ll stick around for that, too. Now for the must-read blogs!

Upside Down Homeschooling with Heather Bowen

Cleanup Blitz Cards from Upside Down Homeschooling

Upside Down Homeschooling is a contributor blog, meaning there is a lot of great content. One of my favorite articles is Homeschool Planning 101. Heather shares a 7-step process for planning your year that would work perfectly with my homeschool record keeping form.  My favorite pin on Pinterest is her Clean Up Blitz cards, for helping the kids clean up in those spare minutes.

Homeschool Encouragement with Amy Blevins

 Jane Austen Resources from Homeschool EncouragementAmy’s blog, Homeschool Encouragement,  is aptly named. She is definitely an encourager!  She offers monthly printables to her subscribers, Lego printables, and this great “clean kitchen” checklist that only a mom can appreciate. My favorite pin is her Jane Austen resource list. When my daughter is a little older, we’ll be taking advantage of it!

This Sweet Life of Mine with Tara Mitchell

This Sweet Life of Mine is a great place for reviews, recipes, and more. My favorite article is

Motherhood is Not a Competition - This Sweet Life of Mine How do you teach a Squirmin’ Herman? and my favorite pin is Motherhood is not a Competition.

Our Abundant Blessings with Laurie Bostwick 

Big Mac SaladOur Abundant Blessings is a wonderful place to go for homesteading and healthy eating information as well as great homeschooling articles. One of my favorite posts is You Say Sheltering As If It’s a Bad Thing and one of my favorite pins is Big Mac Salad ( I can’t wait to make this!).

 

Living Life and Learning with Monique Boutsiv

fine motor activityMonique has some great resources for visual-spatial learners and preschoolers. Be sure to check out her article, My Favorite Writing Curriculum for Boys and her pin Fine Motor Activity with Straws.

The Kennedy Adventures with Dianna Kennedy

health snacksDianna just had another baby! The Kennedy Adventures blog shares a weekly blog hop with loads of great ideas and information about the iHomeschool Network Google+ hangouts. Dianna is an excellent moderator. I love Easy Breakfast Ideas to Take to New Moms and the pin, 10 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids. website –

Ashley Pichea 

iOS apps for homeschool Ashley’s blog is such an encouragement to Christian Moms. This is one of my favorite posts: Seeking Peace, No Personal Space, and Persistent Pleas. You’ll be blessed. My favorite pin is iOS Apps for Homeschool.

 

My Joy-Filled Life with Sarah Avila 

reading log

Sarah is a mom of many and has wonderful ideas for new moms on her site, My Joy-Filled Life. Check out My Favorite Resources for Teaching Phonics and her pin Reading Log and Book Report Printables.

Golden Reflections with Heather Greutman 

prewritingAs an occupational therapist, Heather shares great fine motor activities for preschoolers (including a new ebook) on her blog, Golden Reflections. Check out her pin, 6 Pre-Writing Activities for Homeschoolers.

 

Raising Soldiers 4 Christ with Laura Prater

US HistoryLaura shares options for modest formal wear on her blog, Raising Soldiers 4 Christ, and fantastic resources for studying US History in this pin.

 

Teachers of Good Things with Dollie Freeman 

top 5 versesDollie’s blog is chock full of Charlotte Mason resources. One of my faves is How to Teach High School Bible the Charlotte Mason Way and I love the pin, Top 5 Verses for Toddlers and Preschoolers to Memorize.

 My Final Favorites

I have enjoyed interviewing the following bloggers for The Homeschool Sanity Show. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and visit:

 Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-bloggerI now nominate the above 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award (which means you win). The rules are listed here. One of the rules is sharing 7 things about myself. Here goes:

  1. I rarely read fiction, though I enjoy it. I’m a nonfiction junkie.
  2. I have a hard time not eating an entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels.
  3. I ate gluten, grain, lactose, and sugar-free for eight years and I won’t do it again.
  4. I am terrified of playing piano for people.
  5. My favorite restaurant is Panera.
  6. I can’t stand being cold.
  7. My dream is to publish my own language arts curriculum.

Can you relate to any of my personal facts? I would love to have you follow me on Pinterest and Google+ for homeschool sanity.

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When a Friend Betrays You

When a Friend Betrays You

These steps can help you cope with a friend's betrayal.You’re shocked. Livid. Devastated.

When a friend betrays you–takes something or someone precious to you, lies to you or about you, or rejects you without cause–you can become completely disoriented. Someone you loved and trusted has become your worst enemy. What should you do?

Stop asking why. Why would she do this? That’s what you want to know. It makes no sense. So you try to think about her past, her insecurities, and stress she may be under. But the answers you try to cobble together do not comfort you. She was jealous. She was duped. She didn’t realize how much it would hurt you. But it still hurts. The why question will just prolong your pain.

Stop blaming yourself. If you know you did something to provoke the betrayal, you’re not likely to be devastated. If you don’t know what you did to provoke it, you may wonder if you didn’t pay her enough attention, didn’t encourage her enough, or if you talked too much. Believing you are responsible can give you a false feeling of control. You think you can prevent this from happening again. The truth is, if you had done something unknowingly to offend your friend, it was her responsibility to tell you and not to take revenge. Blaming yourself just adds insult to injury.

Stop imagining your revenge. If only you had said just the right words when you discovered the betrayal. You could tell everyone she knows about it. Then she’d be sorry. You could do something–anything!– to make her regret what she has done. But like asking why and blaming yourself, imagining your revenge just makes you feel worse. You’re not a mean-spirited person. Don’t let your friend’s sin cause you to stumble.

Start praying. You have other friends who will react to the news of your friend’s betrayal the same way you did — with disbelief. But Proverbs 18:24 reassures us: 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Jesus will understand and will comfort you when nothing and no one else will. Cry out to the Lord with your heartache and ask Him to heal you.

Start meditating on Scripture. The Bible is not a dictionary–just a book of information. It is medicine for the soul. In the pages of Scripture we learn that Jesus knows the heartbreak of betrayal, too:

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” John 13:21

Reading Scriptures that concern betrayal will help you know that you’re not alone. Meditating on verses that affirm God’s faithful love can bring healing.

Start loving. It’s natural to want to protect yourself from being hurt again. But refusing to give and receive love is the most hurtful. You can become bitter and depressed, leading people who would normally love you to keep their distance. The love that is lavished on us by our Savior can and should provoke us to love others:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Don’t deprive yourself and others of the joy of friendship because of one person.

These steps will lead you to peace, healing, and even forgiveness in time.

Do you have other suggestions for those coping with betrayal?

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The Real Cure for Time Management Anxiety

The Real Cure for Time Management Anxiety

The real cure for time management anxiety -- something to pin and read any time I'm overwhelmed

Loren Pinilis guest posts today. His blog keeps me focused on the one thing that really matters. I highly recommend pinning or saving his post for days when you’re overwhelmed by it all. I know I will be.

In the hustle of our modern world, no one has enough time. No one manages their time as well as they’d like. We read books, articles, and blog posts looking for that next tip or trick or system that will help us to be a little more productive.

But why do we have this anxiety? What are we really seeking?

If you dig deeply enough, I’m convinced we’re not anxious about how much we get done. We’re really concerned with how we feel.

We want to manage our time in such a way to avoid feelings of doubt, insecurity, and stress – while increasing our feelings of competence, worth, and success.

That’s what I want to focus on. Not the systems, but the mindset; not the tricks, but the perspective. Because if we’re honest, those answers are what we are truly chasing – those answers relieve our anxiety.

And for Christians, those answers are found by renewing our biblical worldview and connecting our faith to how we manage and think about our time.

Curing Busyness

Why are we so busy? Why do we load up our schedules with more, more, more?

The reason is because we’re seeking approval. We’re seeking to validate ourselves. We’re seeking to prove our worth.

We want to look in the mirror and feel great about who we are, and we want to receive praise and affection from others because of it.

But this is a harsh treadmill to jump on. We’re never quite where we want to be and are always fighting off impending feelings of failure.

Instead, as Christians, we have the solution – we just need to remember the truth. We already have God’s approval. We are beautifully created in his image. He loved us enough to die for us, and now when God looks at us He sees the righteousness of Christ.

Christ’s victory on the cross was so complete that no amount of work or busyness from us is going to make God love us any more or less. This allows us to breathe a sigh of relief – and for once, to truly relax.

Curing a Lack of Motivation

But when we truly grasp what God has done for us, our proper reaction is not one of passivity. We are now infused with new motivation, new gratitude, and a new fire in our lives.

Our love now propels us forward – not because we think we can repay God, but because it is our pleasure to serve Him. Our days now have meaning as we love God and love others.

Because we are forgiven and accepted in Christ, we are free to take risks. We’re free to be ambitious for God, to plan great things, and to fearlessly launch ourselves forward knowing we could fall flat on our face. The fear of failure loses its power.

Curing Unrealistic Expectations

Finally, the Bible allows us to break free from the tyranny of our own expectations and standards. God’s model of success is one based on stewardship: being faithful with what you have been given.

God understands we are limited, finite, created beings. He’s not going to expect us to do 36 hours of work in a 24-hour day. He knows we must sleep (He created us that way). He knows our capabilities. He knows our strengths and weaknesses.

Add to God’s supreme knowledge the reality of his supreme power: God controls everything. Every obstacle and obligation that comes our way is under the sovereign hand of God.

Knowing this, we can release ourselves to strive for the best that we can do – and leave the rest up to Him.

How do you think remembering these realities will change the way you live?

Loren Pinilis operates Life of a Steward, a site about time management from a Christian perspective. He is passionate about showing busy, stressed people that the solution to their anxiety isn’t time management but a deeper understanding of the gospel.

 

 

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