Fear Fighting: When You’ve Gotta Have Control

It’s my honor to host a post from one of my favorite writers, Kelly Balarie. Praise God for her
faithfulness to bring this amazing message on conquering fear out into the world! Sit back and get ready to soak up some courage … 

When I thought about fighting as a child, it was normally with my siblings. I’d sink my nails into them, they’d shriek. I’d see a injustice, like them taking my pile of lego’s and I’d tackle them. I was the oldest, so I could always win. I liked it that way.

Yet, somewhere along the lines, I think I’ve lost my power. I like winning position; I’m strong there. Yet, now, I feel like people, life, and situations are acting on me, more than I’m acting on them. For a girl who harnesses the idea of being in control, this makes me feel – well, out of control. I deeply dislike that.

Do you feel out of control? Do you feel all alone, fighting for a life that you can’t seem to wrangle to order?

I know the ache. I feel the helplessness. I relate to the struggle.

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Certainly, I am well aware of the fact I’m not supposed to be running my life. Certainly, I know that Jesus rules. Certainly, I know that he is the one who holds power, even when I mistakenly think I do. The bible is clear on this.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21

I know I am out of control, but my mind still tells me I’m in control.

Where does a woman go when she is stuck in this place?

Just yesterday, I was frustrated at myself for over-managing my children, yet again. I’d spoken too sternly, punished too heavily and disconnected my heart immensely. The drive home from school-drop off was painful. “I’ve just got to let go of control,” I thought to myself.

My car stopped. A bus had put out its “stop” sign. Into the bus went the children. It wasn’t the children, my eye was drawn to, however, it was the parents. There they stood, arms waving, madly. Kisses blowing, in rapid succession. Bodies running after the bus as it took off. Sadness, filling their face as their little pieces of joy took off.

I realized something: God wants me to know He is with me on my journey.

He doesn’t just tell me to do and abandon me. He doesn’t kick me out the door to hustle, alone in the cold, to his purposes. He runs up, alongside me. He cheers me on as I go – with Him. He delights in the journey of us going together. He wishes me well. Like a good daddy, he has good plans for me.

He meets me and moves with me – he runs alongside me. He even goes before me.

The fight with control is not about battling it to the ground; it is knowing that God covers my future ground with me. It is realizing that as I give up my ways, He presents his. I’m not left for ruin. I’m not left alone. I’m not left behind.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:Paperback3DTemplates_5.5x8.5.indd

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.

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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 at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.

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The Blue Table

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Failure to control my kids’ exposure scares me, and lending it’s parameters up to the One
who’s wise to the legit limit is the only way I manage to keep the wall up. The waxing and waning of what I’m supposed to hold to and let go of perplexes my parental instincts. Many voices weigh in, but only One cuts through the noise.

“Control- to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command; to hold in check; curb” –dictionary.com

Blue Table fixed tweetOur butts were stuck to the seat, and the warm breeze wafted by as we tried to beat the heat to our ice cream. Sun-beat cheeks burst wide with giggles in between spoonfuls. As the kid-table full of little girls erupted into innocent laughter over inside jokes, and a little blurb of nonsense perked-up the parent ears sitting at the adjoining table with a,“What-did-you-say?!” 

All of the girls… in unison… at the highest volume they could maintain while dying laughing, repeated, “TOM HAS A SMALL WEINER!!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!”

Not sure whether to laugh, cry, or die of embarrassment … I let the contagious cackling catch me, too.”Tom has a small wiener,” scratched into the table at the local ice cream factory, is definitely not in the prepared parent handbook.

I was pretty sure my princesses weren’t privy to the down low; but as my friend marched up to management, I wondered how aware of the world they really were.

“Oh, mom, I started that…” stated my calm, rule-following first child, as we cruised down the high-way home.

“I sounded it out,” she said, as I braced my grip on the steering wheel little tighter.

“Why would someone write about their wiener-dog on a table…”  she trailed off and into
hysterics again, no doubt recalling how all of her friends roared in laughter over ice cream.

Phew. She had no idea, and I left it that way.

There are things in this world that are impossible to control. Bits of exposure creep into kid’s minds beyond our ability to rewind. Terrible tragedy scares society into lockdowns and loud mouths.  How do parents protect children amidst an increasingly illusive grasp on control?

Faith.

God is in control of all that alludes us. Faith allows us to live in peace, amidst engulfing calamity. In “table scratch” moments,  I say…“Word up.” #wordup

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WORD up.

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 

Mark 5:36

There is a miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark that reveals God’s sovereign care beyond our parental scope.  Jarius, a synagogue leader, sought Jesus out to heal his daughter, but while in route she died.  “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus said, and He raised his daughter from the dead.

I believe the Word came alive for Jarius that day.

Blue Table 2-6Read the Bible. Let the living Word come alive in your life. The situations of our hearts differ, but the omnipotent voice is the same. When we listen to these lessons, we can hear hope. By preparing our hearts with wise words, pressing parenting conversations are relieved by a story, a “who God is,” or “what would Jesus would do.” Applying Biblical truths to everyday occurrences plant “wall building” seeds.

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 word UP.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 

James 5:16

Get up and look up… everyday. Talk up. Pray up. Listen for what’s up. I can’t be everywhereBlue Table 3-7 my daughters are, but He can. I won’t always understand, but He does. Prayer
accumulates, God hears, and I trust He’s on board. Scholarly proof alludes me, but as Sunday seeds sown are watered and grown, bits of evidential wisdom bleed out of my heart. #faith

“Please bless Brianne and Lauren. 

Keep them physically safe from harm, 

and guard their hearts and minds

 …today, and always.”

My girls are six and eight, and everyday I pray that prayer …in earnest hope, and forthright faith.  I have a lot to learn, and many miles of parenting left to wander. But I routinely yield the mysteries of the world to their Author, believing most ardently that He answers prayer.

My littlest girl loves to quote Tinkerbell’s infamous motto, “Faith, trust, and pixie dust.” Have faith in the Word and earnestly pray. Trust that life will water His seeds in our kin. And pixie dust? Keep your eye out for answered prayers …sometimes they look like miracles.

Word up,

Megs

The Achilles Heal

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This morning, I made breakfast and lunches to the sound of a unicorn galloping throughout the house.  I can’t make this stuff up.  With sound effects, she made laps around the first floor for a good hour… in full character.  She stopped only to hug Daddy goodbye as he left for work, and to eat “unicorn’s” favorite breakfast…a Pop Tart.  This is why she is the most difficult child to discipline.

I appreciated her funny little antics, and let her buckle up and walk up to pre-school as “Lo the Unicorn.”  I didn’t want her to be distracting to her class…but man…I had to seize the opportunity to spread the laughter on this cold, foggy, spring morning in Northern Ohio.

In the midst of dealing with dashed marathon hopes due to injury, and going through withdrawel on my fourth day off of running, little Lo rescued my day before it even began.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

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because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

-Jolee Paden, “Spiritual Runner.”

That’s a truth packed statement, and a photo full of a swollen achilles.  Goodbye, piece.  It sure looks likes, it, right?  I sure looks like the end of my marathon goal…12 days before the race.  It looks like failure, heartbreak, lack of discipline, and lost hope.

I had made it through the training…celebrated my 20 mile long run, and was looking forward to taper…but I failed to rest, and launched a minor injury into a possible major.  Out for an 8-miler a few days ago, I could sense it was over. Amidst the pain, anguish, and heartbreak lumping up in my throat, echoing in my ears was the Elevation Church sermon “It’s Yours for the Taking” I had chosen for my long run.  As the inevitible began to confront me, I heard something about holding on your life verse.  Mine is 1Thes5:16, “Be joyful always,” but I didn’t feel very joyful.  In fact, I remember exactly what I was thinking…”That’s too hard right now.”

A few moments later I made it down to the end of my old street to enjoy what I knew could be my last run to the sunrise.  Comforted by the sound of His word and the sight of his presence, I took a deep breath…and ran the half mile back home.  IMG_2017Tears streamed down my cheeks and sobs overcame me as I walked up my sidewalk and into my house.  It was over.  I could feel it.  I believe no one but other runners knows how that feels, so I was thankful to find comfort in these words Jolee Paden’s devotional.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”  1Thes. 5:16-18   It was super easy for me to be joyful and thankful when I finished my 20 mile run.  For the first time, I felt confident I could race the marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 20 miles at 8:29 average pace.  But God knew it.  And I felt Him every stride out there that day, running along the lakeshore at sunrise.  Felt His presence every step…even smiled up the hills.

It’s not so easy to be joyful right now.  But I will be… and I will keep praying.  I will be thankful in all circumstances.  Turn my focus towards my funny Lo who always makes me laugh, and my sweet Brianne who has such a compassionate little soul.

IMG_2180When I told my her that I might not make it to my big race, she replied immediately.

“You just can’t focus on that.  Instead, focus on how far you’ve come.”

Remarkable words coming from a 7 year old.

“Thank you so much, Brianne!  You’re right.  Where did you hear that?” I asked.

“From my sweet Momma,” she replied.

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”

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God has healed me before, and I have complete faith He will again.  Exodus 14:14 assures me, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I can’t control God’s timing, but I will not lose hope.  After all, miracles do happen.  Little ones, and big…fat…ginormous..huge ones that change your life forever.  Keep facing the sunshine, and lift your head high.

“For those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:31

Happy Strides,

Megs