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The Power of Writing Fear

Be anxious for nothing

Spare time isn’t such a good thing for me. If I have too much of it, worry completely takes over my entire being. I start thinking about everything that can and will go wrong. I say will, because as soon as this thought forms in my head, it’s like it’s already happened.

Is that you? Do you ever find yourself stressing over something small to the point that it consumes you?

We all know what the Bible says about this. Matthew 6:25 tells us not to be anxious about our life, and 6:34 reminds us that today’s trouble is sufficient–we need not worry about tomorrow’s trouble.

Well, confession. This past school year, after three weeks of snow days, I was worried about my students and the ACT. They hadn’t been engaged in focused classroom work. And I feared my really awesome, well-deserving kids would possibly score lower than they would have normally because of this. It was on my mind so much that I had nightmares about it days before the test.

Dream 1: We had to take the test in a raging hot attic. They kept forgetting to bring us things like pencils and such, so a lot of kids ran out of time because they had to share the handful of pencils I had.

Dream 2: My amazing angel students (They really were the best kids) turned into little ACT-shirking demon children. They were talking the whole time, wouldn’t stay in their seats, ran outside between sessions. It was a disaster.

Dream 3: We’re in the middle of the test and a tornado hits

See what I mean? Thing is, intellectually, I already knew what would happen. My well-behaved students would arrive at school early that day, because they’d be nervous, too. They’d be in their seats fidgeting, straightening their pencils, praying they could remember how to do all the math problems. And they’d try really, really hard, because they normally do. And guess what? They did fine!

So, why all the worry?

I read a blog post or heard a sermon once about how Satan is like a thief. It talked about how he stole our faith and placed thoughts of fear, doubt, and disbelief instead. And also, how these thoughts come from his deception. The idea was basically how we need to blame the right person for our worry, and realize that even though it’s a somewhat involuntary, physical reaction, it’s still sin.

If this is the case, then it seems we’d need some way to process our worry and make it easier to see the flaws in our logic. At the beginning of this year, I started a prayer journal. The plan was to physically write my fears every day in a notebook. I stopped, because my children got into the notebook for paper, and it bothered me that they might read my fears and become insecure themselves. So, I took to my computer, and now type them out in a file that I don’t save.

The simple practice of getting my irrationalities on paper has made a lot of difference. Just as I can go through a scene with a character and find holes in the plot, I can also spot holes in my logic about who’s in control.

Then, it becomes a very easy process. Pray about it, wait for God’s outcome, accept it as His will.

What do you do to ease your worries?

Hold Your Peace! The Lord Will Fight For You


It must annoy God, how we insist on continually carrying the weight of His world on our shoulders when He’s got things under control. Our worry surely grows tiresome, and our need for endless compassion and mercy must surely be a heavy demand. How grateful should we be that His grace endures?

Exodus 14:13-14 gives the words of Moses to his people:

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

I never noticed the following verses in context before, when the Lord asks Moses, “Why do you cry to me?” It’s almost like God says to stop whining. Trust me. I’ve got this.

I can think of numerous instances in Scripture where someone is given a message of “I’ve got this” from God. Consider stories like Jesus calming the storm, Peter walking on water, Zechariah laughing when he finds out he’s going to be a father. Every time someone’s worry or skepticism takes over, they get a gentle reminder that God is in control.

We always talk in church about how God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Why, then, is it such a stretch to believe in our hearts that He’s really in charge?

The problem arises when we try to choose the outcome. We don’t trust God to deliver the answer we want. But, we have to remember we belong to Him. He loves us, and we are His children. He knows what’s best for us, which may or may not be the outcome we desire. And He will fight for us. In fact, He’s already fought and won in His resurrection.

Consider I Peter 5:6-7:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.…

In a world full of evil deeds and bad news, we should pray for patience and humility, so we can wait for Him to exalt us such that it glorifies Him. We should humble ourselves under his mighty hand, rather than striking out rashly in fear over the acts of men. How often we forget that the battle belongs to the Lord.

Instead, we walk around trigger-happy, both with our words and retaliation.

So strive then, when the enemy rises up against you, to hold your peace.



Through Devastation, Joy

The Bernie Madoff story has always fascinated me. How could one man orchestrate something that ruined the lives of so many? How could he sleep at night, knowing all of his gain was because of their loss?

Recently, I read this article from the Wall Street Journal, telling how some of the victims have done over the last five years:

I think about all those people who were in retirement, thinking they were set for the rest of their lives and suddenly losing everything. Some have adjusted to a simpler life, but others have been destroyed trying to rebuild their financial lives from ground zero. I can’t imagine that kind of loss. Someday I want to write a fiction story about a character who goes through something similar.

Instances of loss are all around us. Homes burn to the ground or are demolished by tornadoes. Children, mothers and fathers are lost to freak accidents. Loving spouses bury their longtime mates. We sometimes bury ourselves in our sorrows, taking comfort in the fact that Christ understands them and sympathizes with our pain.

And yet the Bible is so clear that God wants us to be a people full of joy, not of devastation.

Someone once told me you can’t worry and be joyful at the same time. I know Matthew 6 tells us we aren’t supposed to worry, but financial stability is always on my mind. Even as a tenured teacher, I worry a lot about keeping my job as the tides in educational leadership continue to change. And I worry about costly illnesses. These days, with the changes in our health insurance policies, it seems like any of us could be just a few rough medical bills away from financial ruin.

But then, I remember Habakkuk 3:17-18.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LordI will joy in the God of my salvation.


How many times (a day) do I forget that my purpose is His purpose, and that my life is a vapor?  I was not put on this Earth to maintain financial stability, but rather to spread His good news to as many people as I can. Good news–joyful news. We have a Savior. He is risen! We can have eternal life through Him!

The temptation to mope through life and bemoan our circumstance is an ever-present thorn in today’s society. We have to be like Paul in Philippians 3:7–counting all things loss for Christ, and remember Mark 8:36, that if we gain the world, yet lose our soul, it’s all in vain.