Posts Tagged ‘conquering fear’

Hey everyone! Today’s guest blogger goes by the name of Jennifer Hallmark. A mutual friend introduced us through Facebook, and I found a post of hers on fear that I absolutely loved. I loved the image she used, and asked for her permission to share it here. You can find the original post at: http://www.jewelsofencouragement.com/2012/02/so-do-not-fear.html. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jennifer! I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

So Do Not Fear

by Jennifer Hallmark

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Have you ever had a day when life dumped everything on you and left you floundering? That day erupted on a Saturday in the spring. A refreshing time of devotion spent with God opened my morning. I didn’t have to work, so I planned a restful day to shop and visit my grandmother. Ten minutes later, life interrupted my devotional reading.

I pressed on, but a car breakdown and my grandmother injured in a fall before I arrived were only a taste of the many unpleasant events of that day. Any one event would upset me, but all in one day? The next day my worry and stress continued as I drove toward my house from work. As I turned in my driveway, I stared at the roof. Twenty or thirty birds perched along the eves and alcoves.

“God, that’s how I feel my life, is. Trouble keeps landing on me like birds, one after the other. I’m overwhelmed.”

My spirit stirred. Even if your roof was covered in its entirety with birds, so many you couldn’t see one square inch of it, it wouldn’t fall. The house has a strong foundation and it’s well built.

At that moment, peace enveloped me and I knew God had spoken to my heart. He had built a strong foundation in my life. I wouldn’t fall, for He also upheld me with His righteous right hand. The car had been repaired and my grandmother recovered from her fall. God’s hand held me tight and will continue, no matter what life brings.

Father God, when life overwhelms me, help me to see Your hand upholding me through it all.


Jennifer Hallmark is an author and women’s ministry consultant. She has a website, http://www.jenniferhallmark.com and blog, jenlhall63.blogspot.com. Her first novel, Journey of Grace: A New Beginning is currently searching for a good home. Jennifer resides with husband Danny in Alabama and loves her family, dog Max and coffee shops, in no particular order. You can find her online at www.JenniferHallmark.com and jenlhall63.blogspot.com.


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As most of you know, on Monday I took the dreaded driver’s test. I had a little trouble going to sleep the night before going through all the possible scenarios, trying to remember the course, and mentally taking note of all the things I needed to do to pass.

The day of I made sure to pray with both my mom and dad, read some of Grace Fox’s book Moving From Fear to Freedom (which helped), re-read Isaiah 43 and Psalm 91 to remember God’s truth (which also really helped), and took some homeopathic chamomile which helps with nerves. After all that, I felt mostly prepared.

We drove down there, and went through the route one more time. Then we parked and waited. I tapped my finger on the steering wheel, and popped a piece of gum in my mouth to keep from biting my lip.

Soon the driving instructor arrived, and I sucked in a breath-sending up one last hasty prayer asking for help. She got in the car, and almost immediately set me at ease. Almost.

Having heard several horror stories from my friends about driving instructors who were stern and silent, I was expecting the same with this lady. However, she surprised me by being both friendly and talkative. Before we ever left she was asking me about what I was going to do for Halloween, what I was doing now for school, etc. This definitely helped set me at ease, but I showed my nervousness when she told me to pull out from the parking lot. I struggled to switch gears for a few seconds, wondering why nothing was happening.

Then I remembered. I hadn’t started my car yet.

Sheepishly, I turned the key and looked at her askance. “I forgot I turned off my car.”

Oh, nice save Lizzie. “I forgot I turned off my car”? Brilliant.

At this moment, I think the instructor realized I was pretty nervous (yeah, ya think?), and reassured me by saying, “A lot of people get nervous because it’s a test. But I’m probably the most laid back instructor you’ll ever have.”

If you were inside my head at this moment when she said that, you would have heard the hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. If anyone ever needed a laid back instructor, I did.

After I actually started the car, the drive went incredibly smooth. The instructor took the exact same route my sister had helped me practice on, so I knew every move before she gave them. By the way, I have to take just a moment and congratulate myself on my acting skills: I don’t think the instructor knew for a moment that I already knew the route. I’m tellin’ you-an Oscar is in order for that one!

It was about a fifteen minute drive (it was supposed to be ten, but I was being insanely cautious and going a little below the speed limit), and then we were back. I put it in park and anxiously awaited her verdict.

She looked down at her paper and wrote something as she spoke. “You did a really good job…”

Yes, yes?

“You looked over your shoulder when you changed lanes, stopped at the appropriate places…”


“You did make a couple of wide right turns, and when we went through the Thru Street you should have looked down it to see if anyone was coming…”

Gulp. Yeees?

“But everyone does that. You’re allowed twenty points before you fail, and you only got four. I think you’re ready. You passed.”


Oh, the happy jig that started in my heart with just those two little words! I had prayed to get no points whatsoever, but I could deal with four out of twenty. Besides, the goal was to pass. And I’d passed!

She signed the document for me to take to the DMV, and we both stepped out of the car so my dad could pay her for the test. As the three of us stood there, we all caught sight of the same thing at the same moment. After a few seconds of silence the driving instructor said, “Well, good thing I don’t give points for parking, huh, dad?”

I had parked my car sideways across two parking spots.

Really, Lizzie? Really?

It was embarrassing at the time, but I think it’s hilarious now. That’s me, all right! Starting with a good impression, and ending on a positive note!

My dad, sister, and I went to the DMV as soon as my test was over, so I now officially have my license! I couldn’t stop grinning all day yesterday. I had that song from My Fair Lady on replay in my head with some amendments: “I did it, I did it, I did it, I said that I would do it, and indeed I did! I thought that I would rue it-I doubted I’d do it- but now I must admit it that succeed I did.”

I also went driving for my first time alone yesterday. Some friends invited me to go have coffee last minute, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gone driving alone for a little while yet. There’s still some things I feel I need to learn (like parking), and had my friends not called I probably would have waited. But once they called, I agreed hesitantly to meet them. After all, I was on a roll. I’d already taken on one challenge that day. Why not take up another? I couldn’t very well tell them no the day I’d gotten my license. What would be the point of that? Besides, it seemed like a God-thing. It was like He was giving me another opportunity to reach my full potential.

The drive went very well, and I even parked successfully at Starbucks!

It was just an amazing, surreal feeling. I got my license. I drove by myself to meet friends for coffee, and I didn’t have to rely on my parents to get there when I wanted to leave. I just did it!

There’s still a few skills I need to refine (like parking), and there’s still a bit of nerves remaining, but I’ve gained a lot of confidence. I passed the driver’s test which means I am at least capable. The lady said she thought I was ready. I drove by myself and didn’t do anything dumb. Most of all, I know now more than ever that I am not alone. The Great I Am goes with me.

My God showed up for me on Monday in a mighty way, as He always does. I beat this fear through the strength and peace that Christ alone can give. The only reason I felt confident enough to drive alone was because I knew I wasn’t going alone. The Lord would be with me watching over me, as well as guiding and directing me.

I know it was because of your prayers I was so calm. Normally, my nerves would have gotten the best of me. While the nerves didn’t go completely away, I was calm when it mattered. I didn’t get sick to my stomach, and I passed.

Thank you to every single one of you for going on this journey with me, for praying for me, and for leaving your sweet, encouraging comments. I couldn’t have done it without any of you.

When I first started blogging about this fear, I was very afraid of being judged and rejected. I thought people wouldn’t understand, and I was very worried of what others would think of me. But what I found was something entirely different.

I found people who were what real friends ought to be: encouraging, supportive, and there to cheer me onward, not to drag me down. I had one friend who sent me a key chain to encourage me. Another who sent me a visor clip decorated with a mustard seed and cross. For, “Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.” (Matthew 17:20.) People were praying for me, and lifting me up when I was down. You’re more than just my readers now: you’re my friends. I cannot thank you enough for how you showed the body of Christ to me, even if just over the internet. Thank you so, so much. I hope one day to pass along the same love you gave to me.

At the beginning of this year, I prayed and asked God to help me have a year free of fear. I asked Him to help me conquer my fear of driving, and I wanted to be free of it in 2011. Honestly, a lot of times I doubted it would happen, as you all well know. You’ve been on this journey with me. You know I had my ups and downs. But God is so gracious and faithful. He keeps His promises, and He answered my prayer. He gave me the peace that surpasses all understanding. He rescued me when I felt as if I were drowning. Who can I thank but God that my little sister knew the route and could remember it so I could practice? Without it, I think I would have been ten times more tense and less able to do a good job. Who was it that brought me such great friends through you, my readers?

Through this experience, I learned this truth again: that even when I have given up on myself, God has not given up on me.

Going by the title of this post, you may think it’s only been thirteen days that I’ve worked to overcome this fear. In reality, it’s been more like four years I’ve struggled with it. To be free of it now-to have my license and to be driving-is a surreal feeling! But here’s what I want you to know: the same can be true for you. You are not alone in your fear, whatever it is. If you’ve been afraid of sharing it, afraid of people not understanding or rejecting you because of it, know there is freedom in the light and in the truth. You have God and me on your side. You are never alone. You may have been struggling with the fear of trying to overcome your drug addiction, of facing your eating disorder, or your fear of others thinking you’re a bad mom or dad because you struggle with your temper. Maybe you’ve struggled with it for years. You may think it’s too late-that there’s no hope and that it’s impossible.

But if I can do it, you can, too. I thought the same with my fear of driving. It was very hard for me to see the end. But I’m here to tell you that through God’s power: I made it! What was once impossible was made possible through His grace in my weakness. Don’t give up. You may have still have a bit of a struggle before you, but you can overcome. No matter how many years your fear has been tormenting you: you can overcome through Him who gives you the strength, and I’m witness to that. Forever and always, I’ll testify to His unfailing love. After all, I’ve seen it in action.

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Well, readers, it’s finally happening! Tomorrow I go in to take the dreaded driver’s test. How did this happen, you ask? I have no idea. I’m just as surprised as you are.

On Saturday I asked my dad to schedule the test in about two weeks’ time. Next thing I know, I’m scheduled for Monday morning at 10:00. My dad says he’s hard of hearing, but sometimes I think it’s more like selective hearing. Not only is it scheduled for tomorrow, but the man didn’t even have the decency to make it in the afternoon. It’s first. Thing. Tomorrow.

My emotions right now are all over the place. I’m scared, nervous, excited, worried, many things! In some ways, I feel ready. In other ways, not so much. I’m most worried about panicking tomorrow and doing something stupid I wouldn’t normally because that terrifying driving instructor will be sitting there judging me, just waiting for me to make a wrong move. But I can’t think about that! I’m doing my best to remain positive.

It’s exciting (albeit nerve-wracking) to finally have the end in sight. Just think-tomorrow, I could have my license! If I get my license tomorrow, the biggest hurdle has been jumped. I will be so relieved. I’m ready to get this done and over with, so I don’t have to worry about it any longer.

Luckily for me, my little sister also recently took her driver’s test with the same driving instructor (yes, my little sister did get her license before me), so she knew both the route and the things I’d be tested on. So this evening her, my dad, and I went through the exact same route my sister went on to get her license (praise the Lord for her brilliant memory!) I went through it about four times, so I’m feeling a lot more confident and ready than I did before. I’m just praying the driving instructor doesn’t change up the course for some reason.

Ten minutes! I just have to survive ten minutes of driving.

Once we went through it a few times, I felt much more comfortable and calm. If the driving instructor sticks to that route, and as long as I don’t panic, I should be okay. For some reason I had trouble parking today, so hopefully that won’t become an issue.

Tomorrow we’re getting there a little early so I can run through it one more time, and then it’s showtime!

When it comes right down to it, I know I can do this. I think I’m ready. I feel like now is a good time to take the test. Winter is coming, and I definitely don’t want to take the test in the winter. I said I’d get my license before the end of this year, and I will have it by the end of this year! Oh, how wonderful it will feel to have that burden lifted! For this worry to disappear!

But there’s a couple of things I need to make sure and do: 1) I need to focus on God, and not my fear.

Ooo, that one is such a biggie. With all my fears, that’s been the biggest issue: I see and feel the fear, but I never enter in the God-factor. And the God-factor is a big one. Readers, if I get my license tomorrow, I will know better than anyone that getting it was not because of anything I did. Instead, it will be God’s grace, peace, and strength alone. Because all I am in this area of my life is weak and inadequate. I’ve already spent all my resources and strength on this. I need His strength to show up for me tomorrow, or I’m a goner.

Left to myself, I know exactly how I’d react: I’d shiver and tremble (literally. It’s happened to me many times), get sick to my stomach (again, literally), spend the whole day fretting and most likely have a moment of panic. But I am not going to be alone. And I know my God is faithful, that He is on my side, and that He has a peace that surpasses all understanding. Trust me, I will be relying on that peace tomorrow!

Another thing I need to do is 2) Believe His promises.

I have eyes, but I don’t always see. I have ears, but I don’t always hear. I hear and see God’s promises to me in the Bible, but I need to claim them for my own and believe them. One of them I’m claiming for tomorrow is Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Even pass a driver’s test. And, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26.) For a long time, getting my license and overcoming my fear of driving has looked impossible. But tomorrow I will see it become possible! Another great one is, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6.) And finally, “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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

Finally, I need to 3) Remain positive.

I’ve had such a negative attitude towards driving, and only recently have I realized how much of one and how much it was holding me back. Never once did I imagine myself getting it right; instead, I expected the worst. Hardly ever did I look at what I’d done right-instead, I looked at all I’d done wrong. Never once did I look at driving with excitement-instead, I dreaded the prospect. Tomorrow I’m going to remember all the benefits I will gain from driving, and look forward, not behind! God can and will bring about a miracle, and what joy for me to be able to share how God’s strength showed up in my weakness! His light in my darkness, and His hope in my despair. Yes, God can work a mighty miracle, and I’ll be asking Him too.

Will you join with me in that prayer? Please, please, please pray:

1) First and foremost, that I pass the test! There’s no way I’m doing this again, haha.

2) That God will give me confidence in my abilties, His abilites, the peace that surpasses all understanding, and a calm of mind and heart.

3) That if the instructor changes up the course, I will be able to adapt quickly and know what to do.

4) That I will have a positive attitude and have fun!

Thank you so much for your support-I know I will feel those prayers, and know that when you pray, you will be fighting a spiritual war on my behalf! Thanks so much.

Well, that’s all for now! I hope to return again as soon as I can tomorrow with some good news!

I praise you in advance, Lord, for all you have done and will do.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,


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Today I am extremely excited to feature an interview with author and speaker Grace Fox! Author of Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, I jumped at the chance to have Grace on as a guest writer. In her interview you’ll learn more about her book, as well as practical ways you can overcome fear in your own life. You won’t want to miss the many insights she has, so stop by her website as well at www.gracefox.com.

Please check back next Monday for a special guest post from Grace, and keep a lookout for my review of Moving from Fear to Freedom.

And now, here’s Grace!

Moving from Fear to Freedom:

A Woman-to-Woman Conversation

Has fear kept you awake at night? Has it hindered you from saying yes to a new opportunity? Has it caused you to make impulsive choices you later regretted? If so, you’re not alone!

Fear is a big deal for many women. If left unchecked, it can prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. So, what’s the answer? How can we move beyond fear into freedom?

Grace Fox, author of four books including Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, shares the answers in her newly released DVD and study guide titled Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation.

Q: Fear seems to be an ever-present theme throughout the Bible. Describe the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.

A: Healthy fear steers us toward wise decisions and actions. It promotes self-preservation. For example, we look both ways before crossing the street for fear of getting hit by a car. In contrast, unhealthy fear hinders our ability to fully embrace life. It causes sleeplessness, steals our peace, and can literally make us sick.

Q: How does destructive fear stunt our emotional or spiritual growth?

A: Destructive fear—the fear of rejection, for instance—might keep us from admitting to someone that we’ve been physically or sexually abused. Without receiving the help we need to deal with those issues, we never experience freedom. Our struggles might seriously hamper our ability to truly love and receive love in a marital relationship.This is just one example among many of how our emotional growth is affected.

Spiritually, fear can cause us to say no to God-given dreams or assignments because we’re afraid of personal inadequacy or financial insecurity. If we never step out in faith, then we never experience God’s ability to equip and provide in amazing ways. Spiritual growth comes when we say yes to God and “do it afraid.”

Q: Your small group resource contains seven sessions. The first is an overview of fear. The next six look at six key areas where women face their greatest fears. What are these? And what was the top fear women expressed?

A: The top fear expressed was the fear for our family’s well-being. I can relate to that! The other five sessions discuss the following specific fears:

fear of personal inadequacy

fear of rejection

fear of facing the ghosts of our past

fear of the storms of life

fear of an unknown future

Q: You faced a frightening situation with your newborn daughter. Tell us about that. How did you overcome your fear for her well-being?

A: My husband and I lived in Nepal for nearly three years in the 80s. Our second child was born there with hydrocephalus (too much water on the brain). She needed immediate surgery to relieve pressure from her brain, but that surgery was unavailable in Nepal. That meant an immediate return to North America. Trouble was, the international airlines refused to issue me a ticket because I’d had a Caesarean delivery and was now considered a medical high risk. As a result, my husband took our baby back to North America when she was three days old. I remained in Kathmandu not knowing whether she’d be alive when I returned six days later.

How did I deal with my fear for her well-being? I cried out to God for help. He answered with the lyrics of the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Those lyrics didn’t promise that everything would be fine, but they reminded me of God’s promise to be faithful no matter what. I let those lyrics wash through my mind, and as they did, they calmed my fears. That’s the shortened version of the story!

Q: You suggest we need to place our focus on God and not on fear. In practical terms, how do we do this?

A: Several strategies that I’ve found helpful…

Write Scripture promises on 3×5 cards and post them where we see them often. Readers can visit my website for a free downloadable of Scriptures about overcoming fear.


Memorize Scripture promises and meditate on them throughout the day and as we fall asleep at night. We are transformed as our mind is renewed.

Fill our homes with praise and worship music.

Spend time in God’s word on a regular basis, not just when we’re in a panic. The more we do so, the more familiar we become with His promises and the better prepared we are to face our fear-filled circumstances when they come.

Talk to the Lord throughout the day. Invite Him into the mundane. Practice His presence. The more we get to know Him, the more we’re able to trust Him in the face of fear.

Q: Most of us feel inadequate at times. You suggest we cannot use our inadequacies as an excuse for not participating with God’s purposes. How do we get past this?

A: We get past our fear of inadequacy by admitting we have it! Then we need to retrain our thinking to focus on God’s adequacies rather than our inadequacies.

Tell God how we feel. “Help! I don’t think I can do such-and-such!”

Tell a trusted friend and ask her to pray for us.

Move forward. Do it afraid and expect God to equip you.

Q: Where can I buy this study?


Christian bookstores, www.amazon.com, www.christianbooks.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.winepressbooks.com, and my website: http://www.gracefox.com/books/moving-from-fear-to-freedom-a-woman-to-woman-conversation-guide/I offer group and ministry discounts.


Grace Fox lives in Abbotsford, BC. She’s the author of four books, a DVD-based Bible study, and hundreds of articles published in magazines including Focus on the Family and Power for Living. She’s also a popular speaker at international women’s events and the national co-director of International Messengers Canada, a mission agency that promotes creative short-term and career service opportunities in Eastern Europe.






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What’s a fear you’ve conquered? How did you conquer it, and how did it make you feel?

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I wish I looked this cool! This is what I wish I looked like driving...

Well, the title has it: Today was my first day of getting back behind the wheel! For those of you who missed it, you can catch up on my fear of driving here: http://wp.me/p132LV-6M, and here: http://wp.me/p132LV-8q.

It’s been a couple months since I’ve been behind the wheel, and let me tell ya: the residents of my tiny town were safer for it! Nah, not really. Only the residents with little pink houses. 😉 (If you didn’t get that joke, it’s because you’re a slacker and didn’t click on the link I posted to help you catch up. I’ll give ya a hint so you don’t have to click on both: try the first one.)

(If you clicked on the first link and my joke still doesn’t make sense, that’s because I lied. It’s really the second one. Haha, now you’ll be forced to read all of them, slacker!)

Because it’s been a couple of months, I was really nervous about getting back at it. I almost started hyperventilating thinking about whether the brake was on the left or right side. If you think I’m joking, you haven’t driven with me. It made me panicky even thinking about getting back behind the wheel and facing the same direction I had when I very thoughtfully demolished my niece’s playhouse for her. This time, there wouldn’t be anything to stop me from sliding down the hill if I did something stupid. This time, I could go over the edge.

That’s what’s really scary for me. I could hurt either my dad (blessed brave man that he is to ride along with me), myself, or my car (not the baby!). I almost did it once, I can do it again.

But I know I can’t get past that fear or get any better until I’m actually driving. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep doing it until the reactions come naturally for me and I finally feel comfortable driving. I have no idea how long it’s going to take, but I know that with the help of God, this year can be different. I don’t have to be enslaved by another year of fear.

But as with most things, it’s easier said than done. Because every time I step into that car I have to battle the panic that suddenly settles in. Every time I face the direction of my past mistake, I have to remember: it’s the past, Lizzie. It’s not the future. You only have the present. I have to face the fact that most likely, I will not be perfect at first. I’m probably going to make another mistake here soon. But it’s okay. For me, readers, it’s a daily pep talk telling myself that it’s okay to make mistakes. That may sound silly, but I have never been okay with that. To make a mistake is to be less than perfect, and doggone it, I’m going to be perfect no matter what it takes. But do you see what a hopeless battle it is? Do you see how defeating and exhausting it is? Only throughout the last couple of years have I been able to see it and tried to make some changes.

...Annnd this is what I actually look like "driving"

I’m not there yet, but I’m learning to allow myself to make mistakes. But more than that, to be honest with myself. Perfectionism is a goal I can never attain, and I know that more than anyone… I think the knowledge of human fraility and sinfulness is what starts the whole perfectionist syndrome anyway. We think, If I can just be enough, if I can do everything right the first time, if I just work hard enough… oh, but what an empty lie it is. Such an empty promise.

I can never be enough. But my God is more than enough. And I can rely on Him to do things through me I never dreamt possible. But first I have to learn that I can’t be perfect, no matter how hard I try. That I need holiness, strength, and peace beyond what this finite world can give me. Could crashing a car be a part of that process? I’m beginning to think it can.

Luckily, today there were no crashes! Even though I was really tempted to come up with some excuse not to go, I swallowed my fear and went driving. Let me tell you: it felt great to be behind the wheel again! Despite a little nervousness at first, I soon settled in and thankfully have no mishaps to report. Of course, I was praying like a man on death row, so I’m sure that played a huge part. Good ol’ Pops reports that it was one of the most relaxing drives he’s had with me! Which is really weird, because I haven’t driven for months. Gotta be those prayers, because it definitely wasn’t me.

Well, it was the first day back at it, and I’ll just say this: it felt great, and I hope all my drives go as smoothly!

Oh, and also: I’ll be driving again tomorrow, so if any of you feel the urge to pray, it’s because I’m on a demolition tear again. 🙂

Ooo, ooo, one more thing: If you have a pink playhouse-hide it! 😉

Love you all, I’ll talk to you soon!

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