Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Are you tempted to live in fear? Here's Trillia Newbell.

Trillia Newbell: It really is ultimately about trusting the God of the Universe who's the Creator God and who is sovereign and good. If you want to get to the root of what our struggle is, I believe it's unbelief.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, July 5, 2016.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What are you afraid of? You know, we all have fears, some big, some great. And there are a number of different ways we can respond to that fear, things we can do with it.

You can try to take control of fearful situations. Or you can hold back and not do anything at all. Or you can use this fearful situation as an opportunity to trust God, turn control over to Him and watch Him work in your situation.

That fear can actually become faith. My sweet friend, Trillia Newbell, has written about this in a book called Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves. Today we're going to hear a conversation on fear and faith between Trillia and Erin Davis who's been a regular on this program and the lead writer for the Lies Young Women Believe blog for Revive Our Hearts.

So, let's listen as Erin Davis and Trillia Newbell explore ways that you can experience less fear and more faith in the Lord Jesus.

Erin Davis: Hi! So you wrote this book in part to let women know that they're not alone in their fear.

Trillia: Right.

Erin: So, I'm interested to know what interactions were you having with women. What conversations were you having with women? Or was it just your own experience wanting to know you weren't alone in your fear? But how were you seeing fear pop up in the lives of the women you knew?

Trillia: Well, I think it really started in college. I was a campus minister and did campus evangelism and the college students would just talk about fear of the future. "What does my future look like? Will I get married? Do I need to go to grad school?" And it's just a lot of unknowns. So it started there with just hearing college students with their angst.

But it also was in my own life. I had four miscarriages and experienced fear of every time I got pregnant. It was intense fear. I experienced death—the death of my father, the death of my sister. So I personally battled fear.

As I experienced those miscarriages, I talked to other women who experienced miscarriages and realized that it is something that grips women's hearts. Single women and their future—whether they would get married—seems to be a theme among a lot of my friends.

And so it's both. It was my own heart that the Lord had revealed, "Oh this is something that you've had to fight." And then speaking to women from college who just seemed to be battling this constantly.

Erin: Is there a marked difference between fear and anxiety and worry and depression? Or is that all symptomatic of the same problem? I guess help me understand what is fear. What exactly you were trying to address when you addressed fear?

Trillia: Sure. Great question. Well, Matthew 5 talks about do not be anxious . . . and God clothes the lilies. And then you see in Proverbs He talks about the fear of man. And so I know that anxiety and fear can almost go hand and hand.

If you're anxious about something, you're probably fearful about something. There's some root to that anxiety. And even in our fear there's some root to that fear. What is it that it is rooted in? I think ultimately what I'm writing about is unbelief.

So the book is called Fear and Faith. It could easily be called Unbelief and Faith. But Fear and Faith just worked better. But it really is ultimately about trusting the God of the universe who is the creator God, who is sovereign and good. So I think that they all kind of go hand in hand. But if we want to get to the root of what our struggle is, I believe it's unbelief.

Erin: I've heard it said that there's well over 300 verses on fear in Scripture. I think Scripture gives a lot of real estate to fear and anxiety and worry. But I don't know of other books for women on fear. It's not something that I'm hearing addressed at women's conferences and in small women's studies.

So are we afraid to talk about fear? Or do we not know how to talk about fear? Or why am I not hearing fear addressed among women or in churches more often when the Bible addresses it so often.

Trillia: Fear is one of those acceptable sins. Have you heard of the acceptable sins? I think we can think, Oh, I'm anxious. I'm worried. But I'll get over it. Or, I'm a little anxious, but I'll be fine.

And so I think in some ways it can be an acceptable sin. It's acceptable. And in other ways, we don't want to face the truth of our hearts. We don't want to face the fact that, "No, if you are anxious about provision, money, what is ruling you there?" Our pride doesn't want to say, "Yes, I actually struggle with sin."

Though God also says, "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us and to purify us." (1 John 1:9). So we can confess and receive grace and mercy.

So I think there's a few reasons why it's probably not talked about as much. Yes, it's accepted, and it's hard to face. And like you asked. You asked earlier, "What exactly is fear? What is fear? What is that anxiety?" Getting to the root can be difficult if we aren't willing to do the pruning work; willing to really look into our Bible and look into our heart and ask God to do the work that the Spirit will do and reveal it to us.

I think those are some of the reasons why you don't hear it talked about as much. But I'm excited because I'm seeing it more and more at things are happening especially in our world. Things seem uncertain. They're always uncertain, but it seems to be highlighted and elevated in some way. I'm seeing people are talking about trust and faith and a sovereign God more these days than I've seen lately.

Erin: In my own life I had panic attacks for years. I never told anyone. I didn't even consciously think about it. I don't know. Looking back I think this was strange. But I thought that was somehow normal. It was my normal.

I would have these middle-of-the-night panic attacks (not often) where I just couldn't breathe. I had a nightmare. I was terrified when they happened. I said to a wise mentor, "I am so tired."

"Why?"

"I had this panic attack last night."

And she was like, "What? You had a panic attack?"

And I was like, "Yes. I have them on occasion."

And she was like, "Erin, we need to talk about that. We need to deal with that."

Trillia: That's good.

Erin: So we prayed about it, and that's when I learned a lot of my theology up here that God did not give me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. But out of that outflow of my own story maybe my antennae are up for other women.

I'm a little bit shocked how many Christian women are not just worried sometimes but are maybe having debilitating fear or panic attacks, or anxiety that keeps them in bed all day or physical symptoms of really crippling fear.

Are you seeing that as you're ministering to women in the capacities that you minister to women? Are you seeing women that are really quite crippled by fear and think it's normal or their normal?

Trillia: Yes. I'm not seeing the crippling panic attack though I'm hearing about it. I'm seeing the crippling depression that also can be rooted in some fear and anxiety of something and it leads to an unfulfilled hope or something of that nature. So I think you've nailed it in saying we kind of think where it's either normal . . . like you were saying, "Well, I'm just having a panic attack."

Erin: I'm just waking up and can't breathe.

Trillia: Yes. I'm okay. We either minimize it, or we think we're alone so we don't want to talk about it. So what I hope Fear and Faith will do and I'm so glad that you did, is that it will open up conversations so that women can know, "Hey, you can talk about this."

I've had women tell me, "It's like you're reading my diary."

I'm like, "Well, good!" We're all in it together. There's nothing new under the sun. We can tell each other. We can relate to one another. We can serve each other.

And so I'm hoping that this book and really any conversation about the Lord will open doors for more conversations and for people to know that they don't have to walk alone and that they can share, "Hey, this is not normal. This is something that we need to work through and battle. Okay, what's going on so that God, who's giving you this spirit not of fear, can do His work. And He will. He's so faithful to do that."

Erin: What do you think is the number one thing women fear?

Trillia: The future. Absolutely. "Where are my kids going to go to school? Am I good enough? Will my husband stay faithful? What's the future going to look like? I have no idea." So we get anxious and really a lot of these fears kind of go together. So, the fear of tragedy, "Will my husband die when he takes a trip? Will my kids survive the playground?"

We can be gripped by these fears that are looking towards the future. We don't have grace for it. There's enough trouble for today. We need to not think that way and trust in our sovereign good God. But yet I think women are most often tempted toward fear of the future.

Erin: I loved all the examples you gave in your book because it's like you're reading my story. Anytime your husband traveled you were afraid the plane had gone down in flames. And just fears about your children and were they going to be okay in the future. So, that specific fear of the future, if it's all related to unbelief, if we're afraid of the future, what's the root unbelief? What are we not believing is true about God?

Trillia: That He is in control but that He's also good. So we might think God is sovereign and the controller of the universe. He's creator, and He's sovereign. But is He really good? Is that Scripture, "If God is for me who can be against me" relate to me or just to her?

And so we will judge the Lord in many ways and think, Okay, God is not wise enough to be in control of this. I think that we just don't apply our knowledge of God. Or maybe we don't know. Maybe we don't understand.

I thought for the longest time, I was afraid of God which sounds . . . I didn't fear the Lord, I was afraid. I was like, "What would God do? What's He going to do next?" And I forgot. No. He's my loving Father.

He does not promise that we will live easy lives. Actually, the Word clearly reveals that we will suffer and struggle in this life. The Fall has marked and marred everything, so He doesn't promise an easy life.

But He does promise that He would be there and that He's good and that He's our Father. The lines have been laid in pleasant places, and He's going to walk with us. And we don't have to give into this fear. We have a temptation to forget God.

Erin: Yes. I think so much of the fear battle happens in our heads. We're not saying out loud, "I'm afraid my husband's plane is going down in flames." So much of it's happening in our heads.

But I wonder how in your own life it came out of your brain? Like how did fear present itself in your actions? How did it show up in your relationships? How did it debilitate you? How did it move from beyond your thought life to the way that you were living?

Trillia: "The fear of man lays a snare." And the fear of man also leads us to do stupid things. So in the past, if I would have emailed someone, I might assume that they think ill of me. So I might email them back. "Is everything okay? What's going on?" They're not thinking about me! And so the fear of man is a real tangible way to evaluate.

Even in my marriage, Thern, my husband, he might come in, and he's got something on his mind. But I assume by his non-verbal cues or whatever I think he's putting off, "I've done something wrong."

"No, I was just thinking about the mail."

I think those are just some tangible ways it can lead to arguments. It can lead to strange reactions. Oh even the fear of the future and the fear of tragedy . . . thinking that my husband won't return from a trip. I remember once, I cried. He was like, "Why are you crying?" He's alive you silly girl.

But that is just something that can grip you. There have been ways that it has manifest itself so that you can visibly see, okay this isn't good. I'm hovering over my kids. I swung upside down when I was a kid. I turned out okay. They'll probably be okay. They'll survive the swing.

Though sometimes things do happen that are bad. But we can do these things like hover over kids or judge other people in our fear.

Erin: Yes. Or if you don't step out in obedience to something the Lord's asked us to do because we're frozen in fear.

Trillia: Absolutely. Very good. We can hinder ministry because of fear. And we won't step out and obey the Lord and do something that we believe the Lord is calling us to do because we're afraid.

We see that in jobs. We see that in writing, in speaking, in various capacities, in evangelism. You're afraid of being denied. You don't want to be denied. So you're going to not talk about Jesus. That is a hindrance to our ministry, and we have the power of God and the Holy Spirit that can help us break it—break through and trust Him so that we can serve and love others.

Erin: So you kind of start with fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 says "the fear of man is a snare." But we can sometimes then make fear of man, that phrase "fear of man" a cliché, and it starts to lose a little bit of meaning. I'm wondering if you can demystify and help me understand what is "fear of man."

Trillia: Well, it's a biblical term. "Fear of man" essentially is being afraid of what people think. We see it in Peter, just to give a real tangible example in the book of Luke.

Peter is walking with Jesus and Jesus tells Peter, "Hey, you're going to deny me three times."

And Peter says, "Oh, no, I am with You to the end."

And Jesus says, "No. You're going to deny me."

So, what happens a few chapters later? Jesus is taken and Peter immediately he walks at a distance. He immediately distances himself from Jesus. Then he's asked three times, "Hey, are you a disciple? Isn't this guy a disciple? Isn't he with Jesus?"

He's like, "No! No! No!" He denied Him three times. That is a real tangible example of the fear of man. Of being afraid of what people think. He didn't want to die. He didn't want to be associated with Jesus. So he denied Him.

We know that God is faithful and good. Peter ended up in Acts being an incredible proclaimer of the Word of God because that's our God. He redeems those things. And so, we are not left to our sin by the grace of God. But that is our temptation is to be fearful of what other women think.

So a woman who is really gifted at decorating or what not and your house is not like that, you might be fearful that she thinks ill of you, and so you won't have her over. Hospitality.

Social media is the breeding place for fear of man. It can be a place where we judge or where we think that people are always thinking about us. We do or say things that we wouldn't normally do or say.

If you have a real conviction about your words but then you're talking to someone who cusses. And then all of a sudden you are like, "Okay, I must cuss."

So it's just various things that can go as far as you're decorating your home to denying Jesus. When really, all of it is denying Jesus. We are saying, "I'm going to live for man and not for You."

Erin: Yes. I'm glad you mentioned social media, because I do feel like with our culture of instant feedback, if you struggle with fear of man, which we all do, it can just feed that machine constantly.

Trillia: Did I get a like? Did I get a like?

Erin: Right. And so it's so you either have to turn off the social media, which is unlikely, or somehow deal with the fear of man. So do you have answers for those of us, which is everyone, who struggles with fear of man—approval addiction and all of those things that come with it?

Trillia: With social media in general there's a few things that I think. I think, "Do what you have faith for." I believe social media can be a beautiful tool for evangelism, for sharing the gospel, for sharing our lives with my friends and family who are close to me.

My kid's grandparents love social media, love getting to see them. So I'm posting. I have faith to do that without feeling like I'm in sin. But there have been times before where I have been concerned about someone's comment. I've had to be corrected by my husband because I knew that my concern wasn't really about their comment but really about how it portrayed me. So there have been times when yes, we have to battle.

The first thing is evaluate. Ask yourself. Can you share this (whatever you're sharing) in faith? If you can, then trust the Lord and move along. But the truth is that it is hard because we can hunger for attention or hunger for "likes" or "hearts" or whatever it is that the social media platform does. And I think Facebook now is going to put a dislike. So everyone just go ahead and get a thick skin because someone is not going to like your post.

I think we just need to ask ourselves, "Why are we on it?" And trust that if we are using it in a way that is appropriate and that can bring God glory then we can rest.

The truth is, though, we're going to fall short. Fight the temptation to be popular, to be well-liked, to draw attention to yourself because the temptation's there. It's a fight. And we have to fight it if we're going to be on social media.

Or get off. And that's okay. We don't have to be on social media. If you are so tempted that it's something that is controlling your life, then that might be a good sign that it is something that you need to step away from because it is not the ultimate. It's not that important for life and godliness.

Erin: As you're talking, I'm thinking that maybe social media is a great gift of grace if it can highlight your fear of man and have it be something that you take to the Lord. Maybe in your real life you're not that anxious about what people think, but you're constantly checking your phone, then maybe the Lord's using social media to expose what Proverbs 29:25 calls a trap. So maybe it's a good thing.

Trillia: It is. I think that God doesn't waste anything, does He? He loves to draw us to Himself. If He is going to use social media to do that, praise the Lord. Whether it's drawing us to Himself because we realize our sin in social media, or if it's to draw others to Himself through your social media sharing.

So, whatever it is, if He can do that, praise Him. He's so good to do that.

Nancy: We've been listening to part one of a conversation on a subject that applies to every one of us in a really practical way. Erin Davis on the Revive Our Hearts team has been talking with Trillia Newbell about her book, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves.

Over and over again in Scripture when someone was called to a challenging new role or responsibility or when they were facing frightening circumstances, they were told, "Do not fear. Do not be afraid."

Well, the only way to follow that command in the midst of fearful circumstances is to put our complete trust or faith in the Lord. Trillia's book is a helpful tool to learn that process of actively leaning on God, putting your faith in Him and watching Him work.

We'd like to send you a copy of Trillia's book, Fear and Faith, when you support Revive Our Hearts this week with a gift of any amount.

Here in the summer months, support for the ministry tends to drop off, and we could be tempted to fear. But we have faith that if God wants this program to continue, He will provide all that's needed.

If He's putting it on your heart to help meet that need through a financial gift at this time, I hope you'll respond however He leads. Be sure to ask for the book Fear and Faith when you call with your donation of any size. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, it feels like we live in a world that is increasingly growing more dangerous and therefore more fearful. We hear of terror strikes and mass shootings far too often. So how do you turn fear into faith when there is actual danger and harm?

Trillia will address that out of her own life tomorrow. Be sure to be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.