Tag Archives: Moving from Fear to Freedom

Friday Friends: Grace Fox Blog Tour

Interview with Grace Fox

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?

Author Grace Fox has partnered with Stonecroft Ministries to write a small group resource titled Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation. This resource addresses women’s common fears and gives biblical and practical strategies to move beyond them.

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 because it consumes us with negative thinking and what-ifs. The effects 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: 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…

  • 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 frightening 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 us.

Q: Describe this resource and how participants can receive the greatest benefit as they use it.

A: It’s a seven-week study filled with biblical teaching and personal anecdotes that can be used easily by either a small group of friends in a private home setting or a large women’s ministry. Each session begins by viewing a 25-30 minute teaching video. When the video ends, participants follow suggested Table Talk questions for about 15 minutes. Then they do the Bible study questions together. Each participant uses her own guide book so she can take notes and write answers. Facilitator’s notes are included. The study covers these topics:

  • an overview of fear
  • fear for our loved ones’ well-being
  • fear of personal inadequacy
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of facing the ghosts of our past
  • fear of the storms of life
  • fear of the unknown future

Q: Where can I buy this study?

It’s available through your local Christian book store, on Amazon, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.christianbooks.com, www.stl-distribution.com, www.winepressbooks.com, and of course, on Grace’s website, where group discounts apply. Visit Grace’s website for more information about her other books and speaking ministry.

For opportunities for a FREE copy of this DVD & Study Guide set of MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook.)

Here’s a brief video trailer of the Moving From Fear to Freedom study guide

[I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).]

Review: Fearless, by Max Lucado

Fearless, by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, 2009)

Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversize and rude, fear is unwilling to share the heart with happiness…. Fear is the big bully in the high school hallway…. Fear herds us into prison and slams the doors.

Wouldn’t it be great to walk out? (Fearless, page 5)

I always expect a Max Lucado book to be inspiring, encouraging and worth reading, and this one’s no exception. Max traces fear to its root danger: “Fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness.” (page 9) We believe the lie that we’re alone, or that God doesn’t care or can’t help.

Fearless addresses the most common issues head on: the fear of not mattering; of disappointing God; of lack; fear for our children; of challenges and worst-case scenarios; of violence, the future and death; even the fear that God is not real—or that He might not stay in the “box” where we’d like to contain Him.

There’s value in articulating our fear, in looking at it plainly. We can see legitimate need for concern, and we can see when we’re slipping into paranoia. Putting our concerns into words makes them more manageable, and it helps us to pray

Max Lucado gives us nuggets of Scripture to counter the fear, and I think the wisest way to use this book is to prayerfully memorize those bits of truth that are most relevant to our personal struggles. He also gives us practical suggestions, like his “Eight worry-stoppers” in chapter 4.

The discussion guide at the end of the book is another valuable tool for individual or group use. And as Max says, the truth in these pages isn’t something to be absorbed in a one-time exposure. “The parched soil of fear needs steady rain.” (p. 33) We’ll need to re-read it, to reassure ourselves of the message and to let it sink into our spirits.

Fearless is definitely a good weapon for our daily living needs. It’s an easy, well-written read that does justice to the seriousness of the issues. You can read the first chapter of Fearless or listen to the first Fearless sermon here.

New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado has written a number of award-winning books and is a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. Visit his ministry website, UpWords, to learn more about Max and to be encouraged. The site offers daily devotionals and other resources.

Two other strong resources for defeating fear in our lives are Moving from Fear to Freedom by Grace Fox and So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Moving from Fear to Freedom, by Grace Fox

Moving from Fear to Freedom, by Grace Fox (Harvest House Publishers, 2007)

I’m excited to learn that a DVD and teaching guide to accompany this book will release in early 2011. [Ordering information coming soon at the Grace Fox website] The book itself is valuable, and I’m sure adding a small group dynamic will help readers apply the truths Grace shares. The message is uncomplicated, but a journey is easier with companions.

Because of the upcoming new material and Grace’s current virtual book tour, I thought I’d re-post my review of Moving from Fear to Freedom from last October:

In this book, subtitled A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, author/speaker Grace Fox gives women an honest look at common fears—her own and others’, and maintains that there is an upside to fear: it can let us experience more of God in our lives as we cling to Him. We can move beyond theoretical head knowledge to practical heart knowledge. It reminds me of Job saying, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5, NIV)

Each chapter of Moving from Fear to Freedom deals with a fear that could be debilitating: our children’s safety, loss of possessions, hard times, the future, inadequacy, rejection, issues in our past, and aging. Grace introduces us to contemporary women and biblical characters who discovered how trusting and relying on God overcame fear’s effects.

Chapters also include “Points for Progress”: questions to help individuals or groups think through and apply what they’ve read, “Promises to Ponder”: Scriptures that give God’s perspective on our fears, and “Praying the Promises”: those same verses personalized in prayer.

It’s these practical steps that make the book so valuable. Personal testimony that other women not only face but can overcome fear is encouraging, but learning how to deal with our own personal fears is liberating. As Grace says (page 9) “Filling our minds with the truth of God’s Word equips us to face fearful situations as they come along.”

And they will come along. The stories in this book show that although there may be clear moments of choice—to trust God for the first time or with a particular fear—the “moving from fear to freedom” is a journey rather than a single step. Armed with a trust in God’s character and an arsenal of promises from His Word, encouraged by the knowledge that most women are facing a variation of the same struggle, we can take that journey.

Men struggle with fears too, and Grace’s reference notes include both male- and female-authored books on the subject. Not that a man would dissolve in a puff of smoke if he read Moving from Fear to Freedom, but be warned that the personal stories and examples all come from a female perspective.

I found this a helpful book, easy to read, and one that I’d recommend to others. Different chapters will speak personally to different readers, but the foundation is the same: take the scary step to trust God with our fears. He loves us and He is enough to bring us to freedom.

Sound like wishful thinking? I’ll let Grace answer that one:

Maintaining an attitude of trust and rest is easier said than done, but it is possible. How? By understanding the character of God and how it relates to the nitty-gritty of everyday life. (page 57)

To find out more about Grace Fox’s ministry, including her other books, or to sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter, you can visit her website. Grace’s blog is Daring. Deep. Devoted. You can read an interesting interview with Grace about fear and freedom at Heidi McLaughlin’s blog, Heart Connection.

Fear… or Trust?

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1, NIV*

Take fear out of the equation, and how much differently would we act?

Some upstanding citizens would become successful criminals without a healthy fear holding them back.

Most of us would be calmer, not so guarded. We could trust and not feel the need to protect our interests. We could be ourselves without being concerned about mockery. We could tell others about this wonderful Jesus who rescued us, and not worry about rejection.

In this world, dangers abound and a healthy fear can keep us safe. Grace Fox points out in Moving from Fear to Freedom that the upside to fear is how it can point us to active trust in God.

As we learn to trust God, get to know His character and prove His trustworthiness, the challenge is to let Him be our protector instead of protecting ourselves. Not that we’ll abandon common sense and start walking in front of buses or into dark alleys, but will we drop the barriers we’ve learned to hide behind?

Will we concentrate more on others’ unspoken needs and less on our own security? More on how God might be nudging us to get involved, and less on what it would cost?

Swindling, mockery and rejection happen, and we’re to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves“. Jesus wasn’t blind to the dangers He faced, but He “entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” and did what the Father had for Him to do. We need to do the same.

Father, You are our strong tower, our shelter and our refuge. Nothing and no one can snatch us from Your hand. Give us courage and grace to live Your rescue, not shrinking back but trusting our hearts and souls to You and following where You lead. Teach us to hear and obey Your voice, because of Jesus.

Our song for the week is “Strong Tower,” by the group Kutless.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.