Living (and Flying!) Fearlessly

For those of you who’ve been trampled by fear, this post is for you. Since I was a little girl, my go-to emotion has been fear. I’ve been afraid of zillions of things. Flying. Public speaking. Failing. Succeeding. Not measuring up. Fear is so exhausting, and it snatches up all the good stuff in life.

For years, flying wore me out. I was convinced it was my job to keep the plane in the air. I’m serious. I sat without moving (didn’t dare want to tip the plane) and kept my muscles rigid. If I relaxed–even for a second–the plane would plummet to the ground. I stared at one spot on my lap, never daring to glance out the window. Too scary. Besides, I had to concentrate. My job was to keep the plane in the air.

Kind of like how I approached life. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

I didn’t want to let go of my illusion of control.

I’m cringing while I’m typing this… I thought I could do a better job flying the plane than the pilot and God.

But during my SURRENDER process, I began laying down my fears.

There’s really no other way to live–really live, than to let go.

Guess what? I’m not afraid to fly anymore! Zero fear.

Flying home from the GUIDEPOSTS  workshop last weekend, as we approached Atlanta, I had to take a celebration picture. Leaning over my sleeping husband I whispered, “Thank You, Lord. You’re amazing. I’m free. I’m not afraid.”

If anyone is caught in fear, believe me. I understand. Let me know. I’ll pray.

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. Isaiah 41:10. NAS





  1. Ahhhhh! The freedom He brings is amazing! Celebrating with you! I think you really hit the nail on the head. It has been learning that I’m NOT in control but that He is and believing He is perfectly good and loving! (there is no fear in the perfect love of God) hugs Julie- fly high! 🙂

  2. WOW! This is soooo awesome. Chuckling at how rediculous we can be when thinking it is actually up to us! Such a great story showing the freedom God is trying to give us if we let go and trust! Praising God with you my fearless friend:) Aren’t the sights beautiful when we look to Him instead of our fears?! Blessings and praise!

    • I know, Tom. Of course, I didn’t say it out loud, but I really felt my effort kept the plane in the air.

      Yes, and the sights–the gorgeous sights. I’ve allowed fear to take waaaaay too many fun things away. No more!

  3. Merna Uccello says:

    I’m not blaming the Catholic Church, but in retrospect a lot of my “relationship” with the Lord was based on fear. Fear of going to hell if I committed the mortal sin of missing mass, fear of not having enough friends to pray me out of purgatory if I got caught between heaven and hell, fear that God didn’t hear me as well as He did my friends who went to Mass every day instead of only Sunday, etc. Couple that with physical and emotional abuse at home and, well, needless to say fear and I were close buddies.

    When I was 24 I found my way—-nah—- the Lord led me to a non-denominational bible study, where He set up a divine appointment with me and Kathy Gardemal. We came from similar backgrounds; both Cajun and raised on the bayou, both raised Catholic, both from big families. Kathy had given her life to Christ several years before, and was the much-needed big sister the Lord provided to disciple me.

    I had only begun to read the bible. In fact, on that first day at bible study, I brought the only bible I owned; one of those 25-pound coffee table size books. I imagine everyone in the study pegged me for a newbie as soon as I walked through the door! LOL Anyhow, one of the first scriptures that jumped off the page was, “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” I soon learned, however, that simply being born-again didn’t stop Satan from using this familiar weapon against me. I was still riddled with fear. Would my husband get saved, my family, and so on.

    One day standing in my kitchen, Kathy said, “ F.E.A.R. False Events Appearing Real”. She gave me an acronym that helped me wrap my mind around the weapon of choice Satan chose to wear me down. I need not fear; the father of lies could no longer control me! I was free—free indeed!

    Now, don’t think old slewfoot doesn’t try to slip one past me every now and then. There have been many times he has tried to knock me to my knees with the club of fear. There have been times I almost thought he would win. I’ve come off the battlefield bloody, with my breastplate dragging, and for several months I even had to take an antidepressant and seek professional counseling. The drug was a crutch, but when your “limb” is broken, sometimes you need one. I healed, and threw away my crutch, and I didn’t beat myself up because the onslaught of the enemy almost beat me. I praise God for the godly counselor and physician that helped me through the battle, and I rejoice that I am stronger for having been in the battle! Besides, like another friend of mine always says, “If ya ain’t bloody, ya ain’t in the battle!” I’d rather be fighting than living complacently! And, I’m a little more careful about putting on the full armor of God, because fear will always find a chink from whence to enter.

    I enjoy your stories, Julie. And BTW, I did find the copy of Guideposts with the article your mom wrote about me. Will mail it to you this week.

    • Oh Merna, what a beautiful response. And I can almost see your smiling face as I’m reading this! So much power and honesty in your words!!!!! I’m jotting down your F.E.A.R. acronym. I LOVE IT!!! And the enemy uses fear as a club, you’re exactly right. Seems he knows just what will send us for a loop. So true about putting on the armor of God!!

      Thank you again for reading and writing me. I’ll tell Mom you found the GP article. She’ll be thrilled, my friend.

      Great big hug!

    • Arie says:

      “If you ain’t bloody, you ain’t in the battle” perfect, I love that one

  4. Marilyn says:

    This post is so encouraging. I fear going anywhere in the car. I just tense up and can’t enjoy the ride for fear. I am constantly ‘helping’ my husband watch for trucks veering into our lane or cars approaching too fast, etc. Yesterday I read that the Bible has ‘fear not’ in it 365 times. That is one a day. I am working desperately on this fear of mine. I am missing out on a lot and my husband is having to do a lot of things alone because of it. Any little prayer you could offer on my behalf would be greatly appreciated.

    • You’ve got my prayers, Marilyn. I’ve gotten to where I can read in the car and not get carsick. 🙂 Hard to watch the road while I’m reading (of course when my husband’s driving, I mean). Maybe that would help you. Sometimes I picture myself in God’s huge hands–just nestled up, resting.

      Praying. And whisper under your breath in need be, “Jesus, take my fear.”

      • Marilyn says:

        Thank you so much., I will do as you suggest. Thanks so much!

        • Good morning, Marilyn. I’ve covered you (and our other blog friends) in prayer–early this morning. It takes courage even to admit you’re afraid. I’m so, so proud of you for saying it, or typing it in a comment. 🙂

          Every time a fear tries to worm its way in, whisper, “I’m Yours, God.”


          “I belong to You.”


          “Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.”


          “Perfect love casts out ALL fear.”

          It will be a battle–that’s for sure. But it’s necessary that we fight. There’s another way to live. And the rewards so soooo worth it.

  5. I am so happy for you Julie. As you know, I totally understand how big this is. And as you know, I’m still embroiled in fears, especially traveling fear- whether by car, train, plane, boat, you name it! I can relate to Marilyn’s comment, above. I’ve been avoiding putting myself in these scary circumstances as much as possible, but to be free of the fears takes trusting God and actually getting out and doing these things we fear, just as you did. Thank you for being a wonderful example and encouragement!

    • Meg, you’ve made such progress!! We both have. I believe in you–and God in you–Watch out word. Meg is heading for Fear-free Lane!!!

      Love you, friend.

  6. Such freedom to let go and trust that He’s got this…wonderful example J

  7. Love this and the picture out the window. So true…to let go and let God. I’m working on it. Diligently and sometimes unsuccessfully, but I am working on it. Thank you, Julie, for the beautiful reminder of surrender.

    • You and me both, B.J. So daily. So very daily. Love you! and doesn’t everything keep going back to surrender!

  8. To be able to let go and let God is truly putting our faith in action. I too have struggled with this through the years. Fear of the unknown or anything new! I have gotten better as I have gotten older but still struggle at times. Prayers are always welcome. Thank you, Julie.

    • I’m praying, Eileen. It’s an honor for someone to ask me to pray–especially about fear. I’ve allowed it to chew me up and spit me out.

      AT least now we’re thinking about it, talking about it, praying about it–and recognizing it. Fear, be gone!


  9. Julie Gilleand says:

    I used to be afraid of walking across bridges — at least ones with water flowing beneath. I had visions of being flung, for no reason, over the railing and down into the water. It was something about the movement of the water on either side that made me feel dizzy or disoriented I think. It never stopped me from walk across one if I had to, but I sure didn’t like it! I remember once, having to cross one while on the March of Dimes Walk America with my son, who was little. I hadn’t know how tightly I was gripping his hand until he cried out in pain! I don’t know whether I was holding his hand so tightly because I was scared he too would be flung over the side or if I thought clinging onto this little boy would save me from it! Probably both. But there came a day when I was crossing a bridge over our river and it hit me — I wasn’t scared at all! When did that happen, I wondered. I realized over the past several years, I’d done a lot of things that scared me, like ride roller coasters, fly in a small plane over the ocean, interviewing people for writing projects. It seemed the more things I did, regardless of the fear, the more fearless I became. God took me from fear to freedom too, by walking me through it all! I once had to step onto a plane when I hadn’t flown in 12 years. It didn’t help that I was flying out to a funeral of someone who died in a plane just days before! I called a prayer line to ask for prayer. I still shook as I stepped aboard, but as soon as we were off the ground and in the air, my fear was gone! In fact I enjoyed it so much! All those experiences help me now whenever there is something I feel scared of — and those things do keep coming! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of these things. God bless! Julie G

    • Oh, Julie. You sound so much like me. And for so long, “we” didn’t know there was another way to live. I’ve not had the bridge fear, but my imagination can be used for good or for stirring up “what-ifs.” Smiling at your boarding that plane under those circumstances and flying. Don’t you know your Heavenly Daddy was so proud. 🙂

      Thanks for letting me know you understand.~~~

  10. Pat Garczynski says:

    Dear Julie, Your Blog comes at a time when the nation is newly horrified over the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It is becoming increasingly crucial for us to know how to not live/walk in fear of increasing violence and unsuspected terrorism everywhere we go. Thanks to you for a fear scripture from Isaiah and to Marilyn who shares the Good News that “Fear Not” is in the Bible 365 times!!

    • I know, Pat. We can’ live/walk in fear. My husband and I were talking about that last night. Doesn’t that snatch all the good out of every single day? I think so.

      Thank you, my friend, for letting me know you’re reading and with me.

      Fear not x 365 times~!

  11. Rita Smith says:

    What a great message, Julie! Thank you. Fear is something I have struggled with all my life. Your words were just what I needed today….this very minute!

    • Oh, Rita. I love it when the Lord does that–prompts me to write about something and it touches a heart. And so many things we’ve been afraid of didn’t happen. So much truth in living life one day at a time.

      Hugs to you this afternoon.

      Fear-free. Day by day.

  12. Fear: A biggy. I spoke on it at the conference I presented for the UCCOSSN (Un. Church of Christ Support Staff) in Chicago. Yet, even though I am not afraid to speak in public, fly, or meet people, etc., I fear that I will not perform up to the expectations of those who put their faith in me. So, after a good event, I find ways to punish myself for any little thing that didn’t go well! I will work on that after this week’s conference I am presenting for the PAUMCS (United Methodist Support Staff) in Phoenix. Thanks for the post, Julie.

    • I’m smiling, Linda. You passed with flying (ha!) colors some of the ones that tripped me up.

      I’ve done the self-analysis thing after speaking too. But the last two times (thank you, Lord) I didn’t do it. I just let me mind remember the beautiful parts–like how welcoming the women were, how someone had used her gift of organization to put things together, how pretty the flowers were. And the rest (thanks to Him) I really did let go.

      Let me know how well you let it go after you speak. I’ll say a prayer for you!

  13. Gale W. says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this today. I was raised in fear and taught to fear – everything. It has been a lifelong battle to let some of those fears go but I still have a few that have me in their grip. I guess the main thing is fear is not having control and I am only kidding myself because I am not in control of anything. Prayers would be appreciated for me and my family. Thank you.

    • Yep, me too, Gale–raised in fear.

      You’re SO RIGHT. We don’t have control, and heck, what would we do if we had it? 🙂

      I’m adding your name to my prayer list right beside my computer. It’s so good that we’re acknowledging fear. And when we entertain a worry for a few seconds, if we don’t get rid of it, it lingers. And grows.

      Let me know how you do, okay? No choice but to surrender each and every fear.

      So much love,

  14. Great post, Julie. You are absolutely right. Next time I’m in a plane, I’ll do my best to not try to fly it. Not gripping the car’s grab strap when my husband is barreling down the interstate between a million tractor-trailer trucks is a little more challenging, but I’ll try. I’ll try. Did you know that the one phrase Jesus said more than any other was “Do not be afraid”?

  15. You too, Jennie?? You are a closet pilot?? 🙂

    No, I didn’t know that was Jesus’ most frequently spoken phrase! Love it, love it, love it.

  16. Felicia says:

    I’m amazed at how God using “blogs” to speak to me. This morning I just said to myself, “don’t go to major sporting events, don’t live near a fertilizer plant. o.k. Felicia that’s fear talking. o.k. I’m good with fear.” then I open your blog and read your post. Thank you for the “gentle reminder” to trust in the Lord.

  17. Felicia, I’m tearing up reading your precious response. That’s exactly what God’s been teaching me.

    And what kind of life do we have if we give into fear? I know the answer and it’s not too pretty!

    Thank you so much for writing. You blessed me big time this morning. 🙂

  18. My name is Melody and I’m a fearful person.

    Just after I outgrew my childhood fears as an adult, I had children & became so very fearful for their safety. If I was scared to fly before; just imagine how terrified I was flying when 8 months pregnant with my first & then again when he was 18 months old!

    But God is good! He tenderly showed me through His Word that no matter what happens, He is in control. Not a single event takes Him by surprise — no plane crash, no bombing, no football injury…

    Through my time in the Bible, I’ve come to realize that fear is one of the worst manifestations of pride in my life. Yes, I take pride in my ability to keep my family safe, my power to evade death by not flying, my skill in driving defensively… OK — how foolish is that!?! I am in my Father’s hands. Nothing can touch me that He doesn’t allow. And if He allows an accident to take my life, then I have gained Heaven & nothing could be better than that!

    Ah, surrender… Surrendering my weakness & fear for His greatness & love. “…for perfect love casts out fear.”

    Have a beautiful day, friend!

  19. Ohhh, Melody. We are twins!!!! Yep, He’s shown me how Pride, Fear, and Control and first cousins.

    I so understand everything you said. I ADORE your first line. Grinning in Georgia. Yep, yep, yep.

    And it boils down to surrender, doesn’t it. He’s been so patient with me–waited so long for me to begin to start letting go.


  20. Absolutely awesome. And a go-to emotion – I’ve never thought about it that way. I really don’t know what mine is. I think I become immobilized, overwhelmed. I have to pray hard against it sometimes. Or surprise it by just moving forward. Hm.

  21. Flea, I love how you put that–surprise it by just moving forward. Love it, love it! Thanks so much for understanding…to a redhead from a redhead. 🙂

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