What if your worst fears come true?


What if your worst fears come true?

“What are you afraid of?”

The question punched a hole in my heart. Emotions spewed out with every beat until I nearly exsanguinated.

Me? Afraid? I thought I was fearless and brave. My chin juts out in defiance of fear. What am I afraid of? Nothing, nothing at all.

I’m not afraid of what people think

I’m not afraid to take risks and tackle big goals

I’m not afraid of death or speaking in public

Really I’m not, and I’m certainly not afraid to try. I mean trying hard enough equals success, right?

WRONG!

Ecclesiastes 4:6, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” NIV

I’ve chased after the wind my whole life and you know what? I am afraid.

I am afraid of failure

Hello, my name is Vickie and I am an overachieving perfectionist. You see, that’s what scared people do, they try harder and harder so they can control the outcome. But then the outcome is a control monster who cannot be tamed. I may be a complete control freak, but I’m not even partially in control. I am a failure. Despite my super-hero efforts, my worst fears have come true.

You do this because, as all fearers know, eventually the hammer does come down and our worst dream comes true- and everything will shatter in the blink of an eye. You can’t let things break; that’s always the goal. Keep things together ~ Kelly Balarie

Matthew 6:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” KJV

MY BEST EFFORTS

In my life A + B doesn’t equal C. Instead it adds up to F for failure. I thought if I studied enough I could become a doctor and practice medicine until I retired. If I ate healthy and exercised, then I could lap you in the gym. It made sense to me that enough love and guidance would shed years of baggage and adoption would alter the course of a life. And I never, ever doubted that if I read all the right books and stayed strong I could keep my life from unraveling. .

Proverbs 27:1, “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring.” HCSB

We don’t have to know everything but just have to be willing to accept His everything ~ Kelly… Click To Tweet

I LOST EVERYTHING

In the last 3 years I failed – at everything. My health nose-dived and careened my career as an obstetrician/gynecologist into the ditch. Seven years of soul-investment in a child went belly up when the craving for acceptance was insatiable. The undetected fault line in my life’s foundation quaked and crumbled in my hands.

Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” NLT

MY WORST FEARS CAME TRUE

When Kelly Balarie asked, “What are you afraid of?” I felt as if she had peeked into my head. Opening the pages of her book Fear Fighting, I was sure of it.

It is imperative we stand united so when fear tries to knock us over into failure (which tends to disguise itself as the pursuit of perfection), we rise as a red-rover band of women unbroken ~ Kelly Balarie

During my season of loss and gut-wrenching pain, friends reminded me that God is faithful and He is all that matters. Yes, I failed. Actually my entire body failed; I have an autoimmune disease which literally means my body attacks itself and makes me weak. But isn’t that what fear is anyway? We attack our own minds with the what ifs.

We have to go through enduring before we start conquering ~ Kelly Balarie #fearfighting Click To Tweet

FEAR FIGHTING

My worst fears came true

And I survived

Because I am a fear fighter

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE THEN BELIEVE WHAT YOU KNOW

Let me tell you, know what you believe and why you believe it because that is the key to surviving the reality of your worst fears. That’s why I’m recommending Kelly Balarie’s book Fear Fighting. Truth is the best weapon to tame fear. I know truth, but I need it to surround me and Kelly’s unique voice makes me feel like she’s hanging out on the porch giving me a pep talk over a mug of coffee. I hope she will someday.

God often lets us go through pain so we will press in to His love ~ Kelly Balarie… Click To Tweet

Survival

Excruciating pain makes us crave temporary relief from the world, but if we press in to God’s love, He walks through the valley with us. Better pack your survival kit ahead of time, then you will be equipped when fear attacks. I survived because I trust God has a better plan for me than I have for myself. Sometimes my emotions still send me after the wind until I reach for truth. Ultimate truth only comes from the word of God so clutch it for dear life when gale force winds blow. I’m done being blown by the wind, instead I’m resting in the arms of the Faithful One. Join me in defeating fear. It’s worth the fight

And what I can be sure of is even if circumstance after circumstance crumbles and tumbles, day after day, I can rest confidently that I am being shaken loose to be re-formed into the image of Christ. Imagine that? If I looked like Him, I might look like peace, calm, courage power, and strength. I want it. I want all that. I want Him. Steady footing ~Kelly Balarie

Joy isn’t recovered from the past; it is only celebrated in the present ~ Kelly Balarie… Click To Tweet

All my worst fears came true and I am a total failure. I’ve been knocked down, but not out, because through it all I haven’t failed God. Oh, I messed up plenty, but He doesn’t remember it…

Isaiah 43:25, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” ESV

Learn more about Kelly Balarie at www.purposefulfaith.com and order her book “Fear Fighting” at  www.fearfightingbook.com. Kelly is guest posting for me next week, so tune in to read more.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you afraid of God?

are-you-afraid-of-god

 

Normally, I’m not scared. But lately, I’m pretty rattled. What about you? Are you afraid of God?

I’ve noticed a common fabric of tragedy, victimization and loss weaves through testimonies of God’s faithfulness and power. It scares me to death.

Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” HCSB

SCARY REQUIREMENTS

Years ago I finally said it out loud and felt some relief. “I am afraid of what God will require of me.” My kids were young when I first dug into the word through in-depth Bible study. I sensed God calling but was afraid of what He would require. So I withheld the chunks of my heart I was unwilling to surrender. I’m still not whole, but twenty years later I’m painfully aware of what He requires and that’s why I’m afraid.

He’s a scary God

Proverbs 2:5, “Then you will understand the ‘fear of the Lord’ and discover the knowledge of God.” HCSB

ARE YOU AFRAID OF GOD?

A testimony is proof of the existence of something. Maybe that’s why a public declaration of the realness of God’s presence springs from depths of great loss. There is proof in loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable and having peace despite heartbreaking circumstances. Some days I’m not sure I want a testimony because I know what it entails.

Are you afraid of a God who wants your whole heart?

Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” NKJV

HARM  OR GOOD?

If you've ever typed amen to receive a blessing, you may need a new religion #truth Click To Tweet

Hate to break it to you, but Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” My world is brimming with troubles and tests. Maybe you can relate. The real test in testimony is whether or not you will let God use your trials for your good and His glory.

The real test in testimony is whether or not you will let God use your trials for your good and… Click To Tweet

Remember, the alternative is let Satan hold bitterness and self-pity, condemnation and shame, or sin and rebellion over your head. If you’ve blown it and you’re still running, listen here to my pastor’s sermons about our God who gives second chances.

What’s your testimony?

Genesis 50:20, “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil,” TLB

SCARY PRAYER

There is a prayer the Lord always honors, but it’s scary. Great peace comes from praying, “Whatever Lord,” but it’s costly. Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done.” God’s will involved gruesome suffering for His beloved son. What if involves suffering for me too? Am I willing to surrender? Yeah sometimes, then I take it back. God and I have been playing tug-of-war for months now and I’d like to say I’m ready, but God scares me with His questions:

Do you want …..

Are you willing….

What if it takes….

He’s not safe

I trust God like never before. His plans for me are better than any plans I could make for myself;

I trust Him

But he scares me

I’m afraid of  God

Are you?

Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. ~ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis

Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” NASB

 

 

Trusting God in a bloody world

Trusting God in a bloody world (1)

Trusting God in a bloody world – because who else are you going to trust? The headline alert was displayed on the lock screen of my phone when I woke up, like the rest of the world.

Bombs. Explosions. Terror attacks. Dead. Europe.

Unlike the rest of the world, one of my dearest treasures is in Europe. You know, when you’re a mother and you let your heart walk around outside your body, or in this case, fly 30,000 feet over Europe while the Brussels airport gets ripped apart by suicide bombers.

Bombs. Explosions. Terror attacks. Dead. Europe.

Psalm 112:7, “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. NIV

WHO ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO TRUST?

You probably know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when the phone rings in the middle of the night, or the car isn’t in the driveway in the morning or the calls keep going straight to voicemail. Your mind hops on a bullet train and transports your thoughts straight to the police department or the hospital or worse. Borrowing trouble is easy, but the interest payment is awfully high.

Matthew 6: 34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” MSG

WHATEVER HARD THINGS

“Whatever” pretty much covers it, but worry is a waste. If I were a worrier, I would not let him go. It’s not that I think the world is safe. No, I want him home.
Images of bloody clothes and strewn bodies in the subway and airport got personal in an instant. The protective detachment I usually feel with news coverage of strangers in anguish, scrambling and shock dissolved. This mother’s eyes saw fresh that those bodies belonged to someone’s kid, some college student traveling for spring break, some family member going home for a visit, some business man or woman traveling for work or someone’s fiance’. Each one oblivious to the evil targeting them.

1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” NLT

ALERT

My son is oblivious too. He texts me pictures of the cathedrals he visits and the authentic food he eats. As a caution, I sent him a copy of the state department’s travel alert:

Exercise vigilance when in public places… particular caution during religious holidays…

LIKE MAYBE EASTER?

Easter is a bloody holiday. It’s also the only truly safe place in a bloody world.

Jesus willingly strapped on the vest of human skin. He knew when it detonated His own flesh would be torn to shreds. Unlike the terrorists in Brussels, Paris and Iraq, His suicide mission’s purpose was to bring life, eternal and abundant, rather than destruction and devastation.

Jesus willingly strapped on a suicide vest of human skin with a mission to save the world… Click To Tweet

John 10:10, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” HCSB

HARM’S WAY

I talked to the boy on the phone yesterday, except he sounded like a man. We will all be relieved when he gets home, but we know first-hand home isn’t safe either.

This same weekend last year, my mother couldn’t drive fast enough while I prayed all the way to the emergency room to meet my family. While surrounded by serene waterfalls ans stable rock formations, our world shook violently. The sun set peacefully on a horizon sculpted by mountains as a body board evacuation invaded the tranquility of our safe little corner of the world. That night I slept on the couch in the same room as my man-child, as if my presence two feet away offered a sliver of protection from the unknown glitch in human physiology. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Sometimes more fearfully.

Peace is NOT a place
Peace is NOT smooth circumstances
Peace is NOT being sure everything is going to turn out alright, peace is knowing you’re going to be okay even if it doesn’t
Peace IS trust in a living God who is good all the time, even when bombs go off
in airports
in our bodies
in our homes
True peace cannot be explained

PEACE 

Pray for Brussels, pray for Europe and pray for my son traveling five thousand miles home on a “religious holiday.”

Pray for peace, not only peace on earth, but in my heart, and yours.

You see, the Prince of Peace was bloodied so you could receive Him and His offer.

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” KJV

THE KEEPER

Oh that Christ Jesus would keep your hearts and minds. That, my friend, is my prayer for you.

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” HCSB

If we acted like we say we believe, I imagine the whole, bloody world would want what we have.

Check my Facebook page, Vickie Petz Henderson and I’ll post a travel update. If you received encouragement and want to receive my posts in your inbox weekly then enter your email address in the annoying box that pops up. Feel free to share with  your friends as well. Happy Easter.

Why you should get rid of this four-letter word

 

Get rid of the 4 letter F word

We all use it.  Often we dress it up and disguise it, but we think about it often and even say it out loud. It’s ugly and we need to get rid of it, seriously.

 

AFTER EARTH

Will Smith declared it his biggest box office flop, yet in the movie he speaks a wonderful nugget of truth:

Fear is not real.  The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity.  Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real but fear is a choice.”

FEAR

The four-letter word we need to get rid of is F-E-A-R. I know, no one wants to admit they are afraid, instead we say we are worried, anxious or concerned, but not afraid, no of course not.

Isaiah 41:13, “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear  not; I will help thee.” KJV

FEAR NOT

The Bible admonishes, “Do not fear” more than any other command. Does that surprise you?  It shouldn’t.

Ultimately, fear is a lack of trust, a lack of faith. Quite simply, fear is doubt and unbelief. A life-threatening storm was raging when Jesus spoke these words to his disciples:

Matthew 8:26, “But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, you of little faith?'” HCSB

THE OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORD

F-A-I-L  This four-letter word terrifies me more than the fear-sniffing, human-devouring creatures in the movie After Earth. Fear of failure is paralyzing. What scares you to death? Here is my list:

  1. AFRAID I WILL FAIL

Situations that challenge or stretch my abilities are frightening. Fear of failure might keep me from even trying, but my dad always said,

‘Tis better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.”

So I usually try. In fact, I am willing to try however hard it takes to keep from failing because I struggle with perfectionism. After all, won’t my efforts guarantee I won’t fail? If only my own standards were achievable. What areas are you afraid of failure?

  • work
  • school
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • fitness or dieting
  • Words with Friends
  1. AFRAID YOU WILL FAIL

To ensure you do what you are supposed to do I feel I need to control you. I can only trust myself, not you. I want to help you but I am afraid you may let me down. Maybe this sounds a little nuts to you, but ask your children, they can probably relate. How about your spouses or your co-workers or friends? Control freaks have lots of innocent victims.

3. AFRAID GOD WILL FAIL

If I am willing to be totally honest, this is the root of all of my doubt. What if He doesn’t come through or what if He doesn’t come through the way I planned? My worst fears may come true.

  NO FEAR

Starve your fears so they shrink. The more you feed them the bigger they grow. Feed them a lot and they get fat. Big, fat fears. “That is near insanity.”

Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” NAS

ONE GOOD FEAR

Fearing God means having a deeply committed respect, love, and reverence for God’s authority and power. It means being afraid of what life would be like without Him and being grateful that because of His love we’ll never have to experience such despair. It means hungering for all that God is and all that He has for us.” -Stormie Omartian

Enough said.

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” NIV

THE FIVE-LETTER F WORD

F-A-I-T-H overcomes fear.

Like fear, faith gets bigger if exercised and smaller if we neglected.

Unlike fear, faith distinguishes us from the world #nofear #trust #faith Click To Tweet

We need not fear.

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” NKJV

“Don’t misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

I try not to be insensitive or glib when speaking of such matters. In fact, I am afraid I will offend you. Thanks for indulging me the pep talk because pep talk is what I do. If you would like to read my practical tips on dealing with anxiety, email me at Vickie@vickiepetzhenderson.com and I’ll send you my prescriptions. Thanks for following and sharing, but honestly, it scares me to death.

 

 

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

PANIC!

My response was visceral. My heart dropped into my gut. Six missed calls and five new voicemails in the span of twenty minutes, more than I usually have in a week. The missed call from my daughter and voicemail from my mother were not unusual. But four voicemails from my husband? To say that is highly unusual would be an understatement.

Psalm 112:7, “They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” NIV

UNSTEADFAST

I knew he was in a meeting. My fingers trembled as I struggled to tap the play button. By the time I listened to the third extended blank message, it dawned on me. Last night, I misplaced my phone and asked him to call my number so I could locate it.  Four times he called, until I finally found it in the bedroom closet.

Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength, I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” MSG

FIRM GRIP

When I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in my eyes, I knew it would likely generalize. Statistically, the chance ocular myasthenia will progress is eighty-five percent. I told my doctor it would be a devastating diagnosis for me. But this verse from Isaiah showed up everywhere, “DON’T PANIC.” I taped it to my bathroom mirror and guess what? I quit panicking. That is until six missed calls and four new voicemails appeared on my phone. But hey, I only panicked for a minute. I knew exactly what to do about it.

John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” HCSB

HERE IS THE BAD NEWS

The message very well could have been bad news.  In fact, it could have been devastating news. Tragedy is never more than one phone call away. But the Bible tells us not to panic. God never promises our lives won’t be turned upside down, in fact, the truth is He prepares us for inevitable trouble and suffering. His promise is to hold us steady and keep a firm grip on us.

Hebrews 13:5,”Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” NKJV

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS

He won’t leave us. He won’t forsake us. Death, disease and discord are part of life on planet earth. None of us escape. But if we know Jesus, we never have to face our troubles alone. He promises to be with us. I can tell you from experience, His presence is worth everything. It has been my lifeline and I am not devastated by this disease. It is comforting to know:

God is already present in our tomorrow. He knows what the future brings. Click To Tweet

Isaiah 43:2-3,”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God.” NASB

When, not if. Trials will come. He knows before they happen and we can be comforted by that.

I don’t know what is going to happen today or tomorrow and neither do you. But, it is pretty silly to get worked up about a few missed calls. I know whatever happens tomorrow, God is already there and He is never caught off guard.

Walk with Him before trials come. Plant His word deep in your heart, then you will have no need to fear bad news. His grip is firm.

If you tend to panic, memorize the verses in the post. Better yet, share your own.