A victory in the battle against fear

Today, I’m happy to feature a guest post from Kelly Balarie for her new book, Fear Fighting. I got the privilege of reading this early and endorsing it. This is the really short summary of what I had to say: In spite of everything—our failures, our fears, our worries, our attempted control of our own ...

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Today, I’m happy to feature a guest post from Kelly Balarie for her new book, Fear Fighting. I got the privilege of reading this early and endorsing it. This is the really short summary of what I had to say:

In spite of everything—our failures, our fears, our worries, our attempted control of our own lives—God loves us. He adores us. And if you don’t believe me, read Kelly Balarie’s Fear Fighting. You’ll walk away believing that God is on your side. That you’re not in the battle alone. Kelly is known as a “cheerleader of faith,” but she isn’t just standing there shouting “Yea, God!” This is a woman whose stories are exuberant and passionate and hopeful—because she knows what she’s talking about. She has lived with fear, faced countless challenges, and learned that God is the answer to it all. I think every single one of us can benefit from her encouraging insights and practical tips. In fact, as I was reading, I kept jotting down the names of people who should read this. And you might as well add your own name to the list, because there’s something in here for you. I’m sure of it!

And now, here’s a post from Kelly (because ya gotta love another Kelly, right?). The book releases today and I hope you will hop on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your favorite bookseller and buy it right now. This is going to make such a difference to so many people. It was even featured on the Today Show recently as one of their favorite things! But even if you don’t pick up the book today, please pray for it to end up in the hands of the right people, for people to face down the fears that are holding them back.

Also, before you go, please leave a comment below to enter a drawing for one a copy of this book. Just give a shout-out to one person you know who is brave, who faces their fear in any large or small way and inspires you or other people. If you want to share basic details about a fear you’re facing, that works too, and know that I will pray for each one of you who leaves a comment below. I’ll do the drawing one week from today. Thanks. Enjoy!


I was SO angry at myself. Again, I was not trusting God. While I had prayed and prayed, I just couldn’t believe He’d help me move this massive barrier out of the way. I couldn’t imagine how He’d do the impossible – for me. Sure, I wanted to believe that things could change – and I knew I should believe – but, when I saw the reality of everything around me – I couldn’t. I just kept doubting things would end okay.

And, then began what I like to call the Fear Cycle. It goes like this, in a mind: I’m doubting -> I’m not faithful -> Now God will leave me -> I won’t do well if he leaves -> I will certainly fail -> Now I am even more doubting -> Now I am even more not faithful -> And now, even more he will leave me…. (you all get the picture). It keeps circling until you find yourself in the barren dry tundra of Alaska, cold and without any comfort. Alone, and ready to die. Afraid, and feeling anything like a Christ follower.

This is where I found myself one evening. I sat at the dinner table hunched and chomping on a salad, one I was certain was missing something from it – maybe fried onions??? Either way, everything looked bleak. Still, trying to be a good mother, despite feeling like a bad Christian, I whipped out my tried-and-true nightly question. It’s my way of getting my family to talk about their day, so I have some iota of what is going on.

“Tell me the best part of your day and the worst part of your day?”

My husband went first. “The best part was…and the worst part was when I used an overly ‘stern voice’ with you, son.”

Thank goodness, I came up with the idea to ask this question, because no longer than a split-second after my husband’s response, breakthrough arrived. It sounded like a 5-year olds’ voice. He said, “Daddy, that should actually be the best part of your day. Because it’s a big celebration that Jesus forgives you.”

And, Boom! It hit me.

What is the deep fear that I am a horrible mom, Christian, woman, writer, sister, daughter or (fill in the blank), is instantly healed by the letters – G.R.A.C.E.

My sons’s words remind me – every time I am at my worst I can celebrate Jesus is always at his – B.E.S.T.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

I love this! If we fall into his best gift, His forgiveness, He resurrects our mindsets again in our true identity – Him.

Where do you need celebrate that Christ is always at his best, even when you are at your worst?

We don’t have to go alone, wandering to some far off tundra where we sit in our anxiety and worry, but we can choose to receive God’s best and move to a place of new found freedom. We can go to the place where faith begins to return.


 

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears: Author and speaker Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. www.fearfightingbook.com

 

About Kelly Balarie: Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear here.

 

Prayer for the overwhelmed

Sharing with you the prayer I shared today at the Internet Café… God, it’s too much. No matter how hard I try, how good my intentions, how little I sleep and how much I work, I can’t hold it together. Why do I feel like I have to? Why do I expect myself to be able ...

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Sharing with you the prayer I shared today at the Internet Café…

God, it’s too much. No matter how hard I try, how good my intentions, how little I sleep and how much I work, I can’t hold it together.

Why do I feel like I have to?

Why do I expect myself to be able to handle it all, fix everything, and do it without breaking a sweat?

Why do I let myself drown in worry and sorrow, sadness and fear?

Wash over me, Jesus. Wash away the emotions that drag me down. Lay Your hand on my weary head and calm the tumultuous emotions. Break the chains of things that weigh me down.

Carry this weight, Lord.

Carry me. And let me not worry that I’ve failed. Let me trust only in You. Renew the drive inside me and give me energy and hope. Make a way. Clear paths, open doors, transform my life.

It’s Yours, Lord, and I give it back to You. Asking—no, begging—You to make sense of it all. To untangle the knots that trip me up, over and over.

And let me know I’m not all alone. Remind me that You are with me, and that even when I don’t see or feel You, You remain beside me.

And no matter how lost I feel, how overwhelmed by the responsibilities I have and the things I cannot control, give me the certainty that it is not too much for You. Never too much for You.

Never too much.

And if this is not too much for You, and if You are right here with me, then I can do this. I can endure the hard moments, withstand the onslaught of too-much, and carry on. I will get through this. And when I come out on the other side (of this trial or sickness or deadline or broken heart or lack of resources), I will be stronger. Hardened by Your holy, refining fire. Made into something better, something more beautiful. Resilient and transformed.

And ready to face the next thing. Because there will always be something more—but that doesn’t have to discourage us, because there will also always be more of You. You endure. Never change. Always provide. Engender hope.

And remain faithful, always faithful. Amen.

Prayer for the overachiever

Lord, there is so much I want to do. So much You made me able to do. Not just in my home or professional life, but in my faith life. I want to grow deeper, learn more, and pray more. I want to find more of You. But the inherent beauty in grace lies in ...

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Lord, there is so much I want to do. So much You made me able to do. Not just in my home or professional life, but in my faith life. I want to grow deeper, learn more, and pray more. I want to find more of You.

But the inherent beauty in grace lies in this truth: I can’t do a single thing to earn any more of Your love.

I can try. I can strive, commit, persevere. Achieve, succeed, reach.

And yet You’ve already offered me all of Yourself, independent of what I will do or have done. Understanding this is freeing and frustrating all at once. Because it takes off the pressure—while forcing me to look beyond myself. To realize Your acceptance is not about my abilities, to recognize that my relationship with You cannot be forced. I can’t make it happen. Instead, I must yield. I cannot bend Your will into submission. And I cannot doggedly hold onto my own will, either.

Truly, I don’t want to. It’s a relief to know this is one thing I absolutely cannot do. And to have permission to stop trying and simply be. To be in Your presence. To be the object of Your love.

To be defined by You, not by what I do or who I am.

You’ve effectively taken the responsibility off me, and You hold it in Your capable hands. There is no better place to be than right here, right now, with You. To simply rest and stop trying. To know that You are the source. You are the way I find You. You are the way I get there, and You are also the destination.

You are all that You ever claimed to be, and more than enough.

You want me to come to You just as I am. Not when I’ve done more. Not after I’ve completed my task list. But now. With everything else stripped away. No recognition, no awards or accolades.

Just You and me.

It’s the most I could ever hope for.

Amen.

Prayer for the hormonal

Lord, there’s not much more aggravating than someone writing off what I’m feeling by ascribing it to hormones. And yet, my hormones are killing me. Maybe not literally. But I am so full of anger and so easily frustrated. It’s easier to yell than to listen, to slam things rather than simply complete a task. ...

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Lord, there’s not much more aggravating than someone writing off what I’m feeling by ascribing it to hormones.

And yet, my hormones are killing me.

Maybe not literally. But I am so full of anger and so easily frustrated. It’s easier to yell than to listen, to slam things rather than simply complete a task.

And my brain—it won’t stop. Like a pinball machine, thoughts ricochet in crazy trajectories, never slowing, never stopping. Until they’re gone. Like my memory seems to be. I can’t remember anything. I’m resentful and stubborn and short-sighted.

Oh, how I need You.

You are characterized by love, Lord, and that’s a million miles from what I’m feeling right now. I want to be filled with Your love. I want to show it to other people. In my rational moments, there is no doubt about this.

But in the heat of the moment, my emotions take over. I can’t pray; my thoughts are in chaos. I can’t rest, but I’m exhausted.

God, be my peace. Be the calm in the midst of the storm. I know this isn’t a tragic situation. I realize there are so many more important needs right now. But I need to connect with You. I need to feel Your soothing presence, to slow myself long enough to simply breathe You in. I need to remember that You are with me and that You are in control. I need to relax into an awareness of You. I need to let go of my hostility and tear down the walls I erect in these moments to keep everyone away.

Help me, Lord. Help me stop resisting You. Help me let You in. Help me put aside my irrational responses and abide in You.

In You. Because that is a place of serenity. Calm. An oasis of peace. A place where I am understood, where I am not overwhelmed, and where I can be fully me. Emotions and all. Good and bad. Somehow there is nothing I can do to push You away. You embrace me, hear me, hold me—and love me. No matter what I deserve, You simply offer me Your love.

And that—that knowledge—is what brings calm to my soul. Tears to my eyes, and a plentiful helping of humility. Grace. It’s what I needed—all that I need.

And it’s exactly who You are.

Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Prayer for the control freak

Lord, in my head, I know that all control belongs to You—all power, all ability, all wisdom. But the human side of me wants to take control, solve problems, fix mistakes, right wrongs. I want to force the unruly, the frustrating, and the messy into submission. To conquer every challenge. Some days I feel desperate ...

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Lord, in my head, I know that all control belongs to You—all power, all ability, all wisdom. But the human side of me wants to take control, solve problems, fix mistakes, right wrongs. I want to force the unruly, the frustrating, and the messy into submission. To conquer every challenge. Some days I feel desperate to exert dominance, to subdue the chaos, to inflict structure over all the things in my life that feel out of control. Other days I want to pull my hair out as I confront countless inefficiencies and inadequacies.

I’m thankful for the abilities You’ve given me and for the way you have created me with the desire to do many things. I think that may be why it’s hard to not (attempt to) do/fix/control every single thing. Help me, God, not to overstep. Let me accomplish only the things You have given me to do, and let me step back graciously when it’s not meant for me. Even if I have the abilities needed to do the job. Even if I can find the time.

Because deep down, no matter how I act, I know that I can’t do it all. You didn’t create me to single-handedly fix every problem. If I could, there would be no need for a savior. If I were capable of solving every problem, I wouldn’t know how to lean on You. I wouldn’t see Your incredible capacity for kindness and mercy, Your invaluable wisdom, Your magnificence and glory and power and might and compassion and beauty and love.

I want to yield control to You—I feel that in my heart—but sometimes it’s hard to live it out. To do (or not do) what I should. I want to remember, always, just exactly who You are and who I am in relation to You. When I remember who You are and when I try to fathom the incomprehensible things You can do—have done and will do—it puts it all back in proper proportion. And even though I haven’t tried to exert control, I sense order being restored.

Because what You do is better. Your ways are smarter. Your goals are grander. Your love is deeper.

You, Lord, are my All-in-All. The All-sufficient One. The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You are enough. You are more than enough. I am here for You, and I offer myself to You. But because of how much I love You, I will also hold parts of me back. You can do Your work without my help—probably even better when I’m not constantly getting in the way. You solve problems, save lives, heal broken things, restore what has been lost. My illusions of “control” can’t do any of that.

All I can do is what You created me to do. Worship. Pray. Share with others all that You have given to me. And marvel at Your incredible capacity. At the ease with which You direct and control and solve and answer. At the way that You love me anyway. Even when I am out of control. Especially when I let go of control.

Thank You, Lord, for who You are. For all that You are. And for not turning me away even when I’m bossy and controlling and domineering. In Your sweetness, You simply remind me, gently, who You are. Which reminds me who I am, and helps me let go.

Amen.

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