I think it is fair to say that women (at least it’s true of the four women that write for girltalk!)
can be prone to fear. And oh what ludicrous thoughts and images we can
conjure up! So preposterous, we’d laugh at ourselves… that is, if we
hadn’t worked ourselves into such a frenzy of fright.
Puritan John Flavel comments on this habit: “The rules of fear are
not like the rules in arithmetic, where many nothings make nothing, but
fear can make something out of nothing, yea, many things, and great
things out of nothing at all.”
Now, I’m no math expert, but I do spend many evenings helping my
teenage son with Algebra homework. I know that if x and y both equal
zero, than the answer is zero. Not so when it comes to the
irrationality of fear.
Take Psalm 53:5 for example, says Flavel: “There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror!”
He writes: “Here was a great fear raised or created out of nothing at
all; had their fear been examined or hunted home to its original, it
would have been found a pure creature of fancy.”
How many of our great fears have been created out of nothing at all? And proved, in the end, to equal nothing at all?
But in Scripture we find something real and rational and comforting.
Here’s Flavel one more time. “In the written word are found all sorts
of refreshing, strengthening and heart-reviving promises prepared by
the wisdom and care of God for our relief”
So let’s find relief with this refreshing, strengthening and heart-reviving promise: “Fear
not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will
strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous
right hand” (Is. 41:10).
As I admitted the other day, I am often tempted to fear for my children. But that’s only the beginning of my fears and anxieties. I’m what Ed Welch, author of Running Scared calls “an advanced worrier.” Unfortunately, worry is the only thing this average girl has ever been advanced in! It’s not something I’m proud of.
If a family member fails to call me back I worry that they’ve been in a car accident. If I hear sirens I think the church might be on fire (we live a block away). If an airplane flies overhead (like they do all day) I’m afraid the terrorists have come back to DC. Yep, I’m certifiable.
“Where worriers show their irrationality” Welch observes (and my husband often reminds me!):
“...is in their success rate: they are always wrong, at least in the specifics. They think the worst about tomorrow and it doesn’t happen. [But] if you worry about everything you will occasionally stumble upon an approximation to a real event. Suddenly you are a gifted prophet and it is your God-given duty to worry. You see the future, others are blind to it. You must sound the alarm for the people you love. Compassion demands that you worry.”
I’m compassionate. That’s what I am! But no, Dr. Welch then exposes me for who I really am—nothing better than a back-room fortune-teller:
“Worriers are certifiable false prophets. Their peer group is not so much those with psychiatric diagnoses as they are astrologers, tarot card readers, and Ouija board devotees. How much better off we would be if all our future predictions were declared illegal and we were forever banned from making any others.”
So, I’m declaring my fears illegal today. I’m putting away my crystal ball and turning in my “advanced worrier” certificate. I wasn’t very good at predicting the future anyways. To be honest, I was terrible. Maybe I’ll try writing fortune cookie inserts for a change. Just kidding!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, emphasis mine)
I know we’ve already mentioned modesty once this spring, but it bears repeating. The fashion industry and our “porn positive” culture certainly doesn’t hesitate to push immodesty on us day after day, and so we must cling tenaciously to the gospel-promoting virtues of modesty and self-control.
To help us put on these virtues this fashion season, Dad has posted the first in a seven part series on “Modesty: God, My Heart, and Clothes.” These are excerpts from his chapter in a new book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World due out in September. (More on this book in the days to come!)
Even if you think you’ve already “heard it all,” follow along this week as he examines the qualities of a godly woman’s dress that are always in style.
Tell me you can’t relate to this scenario. You talk to a woman who is in the middle of a trial. She testifies to God’s overwhelming and sustaining grace. You marvel at her peace and joy that belies her suffering. But instead of praising God for His evident faithfulness, you begin to imagine yourself enduring her ordeal. How
would I cope? I don’t think I could handle it. I hope it doesn’t happen to me. With high-definition clarity and color you see yourself in the midst of her ordeal. Grace is nowhere to be found, and you are gripped by
fear and dread.
So often we ignore the awesome displays of God’s faithfulness to people in trials and instead imagine ourselves in their situation, minus the grace of God. We would do well to heed Elisabeth Elliot’s wise reminder that there is no grace for our imaginations. None. It’s simply not available. God is not waiting in the wings to help us through whatever horrible imaginary trouble we can conjure up today. But His goodness is stored up and will be abundantly poured out whenever we walk through a real trial.
I’ve passed along this piece of advice to oodles of women. Maybe that’s because there are so many like me who easily submit to fear. So let’s resolve together: the next time we observe someone going through a trial, let’s turn off our imaginations and instead fix our gaze on the marvelous, abundant, overwhelming and timely grace of God—the same grace that will be available to us when we actually need it.
“…do not fear anything that is frightening.” 1 Peter 3:6
A few weeks ago we introduced you to Gospel Translations and their vision to make gospel-centered materials available to Christians around the world. We were delighted to learn that fifteen of you volunteered to serve as translators or in an administrative capacity. Thank you for your willingness to serve this important ministry!
Since that post, Gospel Translations has released a video which explains their mission. My pastors showed it to our church several Sundays ago, and last week the 5000 attendees of Together for the Gospel were able to see what God is doing through the work of Gospel Translations. So if you missed our first post, or would like to better understand how you can serve, support, or simply pray for this exciting work, then watch this…
Anyone out there afraid for your kids? I thought I saw a few hands go up. Mine sure did.
These fears come in all shapes, sizes and packages. I don’t need to suggest any for you. You know what your fears for your children are. You were probably thinking of them just this morning.
In his book Running Scared (which I highly recommend), Ed Welch gives us the biblical solution to our fears: we need to fear more. We need to fear God more. For “when you fear the Lord, there is not much else to fear.” The fear of the Lord banishes our fears for our children. Dr. Welch illustrates:
“If you are trained in medicine and have parented five children, you aren’t going to worry when your neighbor asks you to watch her ten-year-old for twenty minutes. If you really want to fight fear, learn to fear Someone who captures your attention in such a way that your other fears suddenly seem pedestrian and unimportant.”
But there’s more. When we learn to fear God, we will actually be protecting our children. Proverbs 14:26 says, “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.”
So if you want to be rid of those nagging fears and be a means of God’s protection for your children, fear the Lord today. Allow His wisdom, goodness, love, power and holiness to capture your attention. Then tell your kids about the awesome God we serve.
After learning that my second little one is a girl, I have been thinking lots about my grandma. As I wrote two weeks ago, my baby girl will be her great-grandma’s name sake and I can’t wait to tell her how privileged she will be to carry that name.
That brings me to our latest idea here at girltalk, which I’m very excited about. With Mother’s Day just around the corner (for all of our closet guy readers, it’s never too early to start shopping for your mom or wife) we thought it would be fun to borrow a bit from the past. Two years ago we asked you to submit tributes to your mom from which we chose several to post the week of Mother’s Day. This year we want to honor grandmothers. We know many of you have a grandmother who has had a profound influence on your family, and we would love to hear about her life and legacy. Now this could be your grandma, your husband’s grandma or even someone in your life that has been like a grandma to you. Or maybe you want to honor your children’s grandma (your mom or mother-in-law). Write up a tribute and send it in! We will choose some of our favorites to post the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Oh, and please include a picture if at all possible.
Our deadline to receive tributes is Friday, May 2nd. Just click the “Email me” link on the left-hand sidebar and send away.