Fear…Get ‘Cha Gone!

This quote is why I blog: “A wonderfully nurturing atmosphere is created when people help other people by being themselves and sharing their own experiences.” Courage to Change–One Day at a time in Al-Anon II

It reminds me of my friendship with Peggy Frezon. Peggy lives in New York and I’m in Georgia, so we only get to see each other at Guideposts’ writers workshops, like this past weekend in Vero Beach

 

Peggy and I battle The Fear Monster. Sometimes she says, “Fear! Get ‘Cha Gone!”

If the two of us gave in to our fears, we’d stay home in our closets. The things that scare Peggy aren’t frightening to me. And vice-versa.

But Fear is Fear. And it doesn’t play nice. 

Peggy’s afraid to travel.

She rode to a Guideposts workshop in 2004 with a jacket over her head. Her husband was driving. She’s afraid of elevators. And flying (at least right now).

But we’re on our way to becoming fearless!

Her husband  rode the train with her from New York to Vero Beach, Florida. They rented a car for part of the trip. She sat in back seat holding Jesus Calling.

I brought Jesus Calling to Vero Beach, too. Not because I’m afraid to travel.

I’m afraid of rejection.

Of being judged. 

Of not measuring up. 

I’d submitted another story about my depression. I wrote about it here years ago. The group would be discussing my story (my second clinical depression!) at the workshop.

The root of my fear?

Pride. What’ll they think of me?

But guess what?

Nothing I was afraid of happened. 

No one judged me!

No condemnation!

After the trip, Peggy and I emailed each other:

“I think God’s calling us to dip our toes into the water,” I wrote. “To go deeper with Him.”

“Look at the pictures I just texted you!” she wrote. “I took them right before we left!”

Peggy at the ocean. 

One step closer.  

Then another.

Peggy’s so courageous–traveling  from New York to Florida. She captured the moment on video–the same kind of joy I experienced when I wrote the truth and no one rejected me. 

If you can’t see the video below, click here

And then Sunday we sang this song at church. A certain phrase won’t let me go.

“And You call me, deeper still…”

If you can’t see the video below, click here.

Do you fight The Mean Fear Monster too?

Maybe God’s calling us to go deeper.

I pray this post helps.

Love,

Julie (and Peggy) 🙂

 

Comments

  1. Rose Webster-Beauchamp says:

    Wow Julie, as I read this I’m in shock. I love your blog, your contributions to FB and daily devotionals. I too suffer from “not thinking I’m good enough, who can I please today and what do they think about me? I struggle so much to please everyone else I get lost in not pleasing myself. Satan seeks to destroy me so I work on rebuking him daily, sometimes hourly. I’m always bragging to people about you. Yes, I’m friends with Julie Garmon, you know accomplished writer. You are my connection to thinking it through, trusting God and great words of wisdom when I need them.
    I guess somehow this connection we share to the fear monster is just one more reason I love ya.
    If I have Julie sharing her thoughts I can over come the fear monster too.

    • Rose! So, you understand. 🙂 🙂 I love your comment! It went straight to my heart.

      I’m telling you, Fear–no, it doesn’t deserve a capital letter….fear wants us to keep quiet, not to reach out to others, and for sure, not to share our struggles.

      Thank you, thank you. “When we are weak, He is strong!”

  2. Ann Peachman Stewart says:

    I have fought fear all my life, and there were many years when I didn’t fight, but allowed fear to enclose me in a very tiny box. It’s a daily battle. There have been victories and there are definitely still challenges. Thank you for your post and for your honesty and openness. It helps.

    • I’m so very glad you told me, Ann. And I agree 100 percent. Fear would keep us holed up in a tiny room. But you know what I’m discovering? Doing things–pushing through the fear–always, always is worth it. And sometimes I just whisper, “Jesus.” And He helps me.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

  3. Kim says:

    Yes, Fear is my biggest challenge. I kick it to the curb over and over. It does not play nice. It sneaks up, often wearing a disguise and grabs me when I am least suspecting. What I struggle with most is sharing me and being seen. I do not like compliments any better than I do criticism. Well, compliments are better than criticism, but they truly make me uncomfortable. I am getting better. I have shared, been vulnerable, here and at church. I have only found support through this blog community and my faith family. Going deeper this summer leading my first Bible study.

    • Great point, Kim! Yes! Yes! Fear sometimes wears a disguise.

      I’m so proud of you!!! It’s a GINORMOUS step even to post on a blog that comments/criticism is difficult for you. And you’re sharing this in church (and of course, with us).

      Okay….now I’m tearing up…you find support here. On this blog. Thank You, Lord.

      And you’re leading a Bible Study!!!! I’m cheering! All by myself in my office!!! I’m scaring Clyde now!!

      I’m sooooo stinkin’ proud of you!!!! Hate this cliche’ phrase, but, “You Go Girl!!!””

      And please report back to us! It’s gonna be awesome!

  4. Thank you Julie, GREAT post. No doubt that healing and love is found in fearless sharing of our own “thorns in the flesh”. We ALL have something that shakes our faith. Thank God the freedom we find in Him as we let go of fearing anything but Him There we find true freedom, purpose and love for Him and our neighbors. Be true to ourselves and trust that He uses all of our weaknesses to build up and encourage His children…what a GREAT way to live each day trusting that if we only give away our weakest parts we are actually building up others in love…WOW, can life really be that simple? Our fears of anything outside of God certainly complicates things…ahhhh, simplicity. Blessings as you give away your fears.

    • Absolutely agree, Tom. And look! 🙂 You used my word, “Simple!” Wo-hooooooooooooooo! Can it really be….this simple? I think so!!!!!!!!

      And I agree, we ALL have something that shakes our faith. If we don’t, are we even alive? Living? Breathing?

      Thank you. Such insight.

      And “when we are weak, He is strong.”

  5. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Dearest Julie, I would love to read your books on your fight w/depression. Are they still available?

    I believe fear and depression are best friends (to each other – not us!). I could go into the many fears that paralyze me and the depression that drowns my spirit, but I’d rather focus on a few ways I’ve been told over the years to deal with them. Not every method works for everyone or for every episode, but maybe just one will resonate with someone and help them through this day.

    For times of paralyzing fear, I read this from one of the Daily Guideposts writers! She told how fear enveloped her and gave a statement from someone to help deal with each fear as it comes: “Just do it afraid!” Sometimes, I can do this. A 4-inch long wasp on my window? (okay, 4cm!) Grab that fly swatter, tiptoe closer, closer…oh, he moved!! Ahhhh! NO! “Do it afraid!” Whack!

    Another help came from a writer in Bonnie Calhoun’s fiction newsletter (great for those of you who love fiction – check it out!). She mentioned how fear of failure keeps many of us from reaching our full potential. Then she flipped it and talked of “the fear of success.” Looking at some of our fears in this opposite light opens a different way to get past them. If I succeed in a writing career, I might have to fly! Never! Delete that file of incredible story-starters! What? Are you crazy! The next best-seller is in there! I can just drive!

    And for those times depression hits and you can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel,” try repeating this over and over to yourself. It came from a TV evangelist years ago. “Hang on until what you believe is going to happen, happens!” A mentor shared a story with me about praying 28 years for her husband to come to the Lord. This shocked me in two ways: first, he was then an elder at our church, and two, I did NOT want to wait 28 years for my husband to come around! But, “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). “Hang on!”

    Jesus, You promised Your presence, Your protection, and You provision. We come, needing You every second of every minute. Continuing in prayer…

    • Hey, Cathy. I haven’t written any books on fear/depression. I’ve written about it once in Guideposts (that’s the link in this blog post) and I think I’ve mentioned it in Daily Guideposts a time or two.

      Love your thoughts! And right now I’m looking at a big black hornet buzzing inside my house!

      Thank you, thank you!

      Yes, I love Bonnie Calhoun too! xo

  6. Here I thought we all fought the fear monster. 😉 I fear spiders, irrationally. I’m told that it’s a transference fear, that I wasn’t allowed to fear the people who were supposed to love me, so I transferred my fear to spiders. Crazy stuff. Just starting the process of letting Jesus into the places where fear was born, letting Him heal me from the inside. It’s hard stuff.

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Dear Flea, my irrational fears are bees (any kind, I’m not picky) and water. Not sure where the bee part comes from, but my mother says my fear of water started in my teens when my aunt, whom I wanted to be like, screamed when her boyfriend picked her up and threatened, teasingly, to throw her in the lake. He didn’t, but from then on, water has made me shiver in fear.

      It’s great that you are letting Jesus in. Picture your heart w/rooms like a house. Each one has a trouble spot – like my junk room. Ask Jesus to take the troubled parts away and fill those rooms with His presence, His peace. He loves you and wants to fill you with His grace. I’ll keep you in prayer, and ask you to pray for me, for those dark rooms I still haven’t let Jesus fill.

      A new friend,
      Cathy

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Sorry, had to tell you – I just looked up your blogsite and found we share a love for dogs!! Excellent!

      • Cathy, I like how you mentioned your junk room. And something just occurred to me. We’re acknowledging those junk rooms. We’re not leaving them dark and dusty and cluttered.

        We’re calling out fear! We’re saying it doesn’t have a place in our lives. We’re moving forward. We’re getting honest. I really love that in our group. 🙂

    • Hi Flea, it’s me Peggy. I don’t like snakes! You’re right the healing from fears is tough stuff but we are strong enough because we have help in the Lord.

    • For sure, Flea. Tough stuff. I just got a visual of Jesus walking through every area of my heart and life. I love that.

      And, fear is fear. Spiders, snakes, airplanes, fearing what people might think of us…

      Fear…get ‘cha gone!

  7. Julie, your testimony on Guideposts was beautiful. Tears in this girl’s eyes. You were starving, in many ways. Even with plenty available. I’m so glad you shared that. I’ve not been through that … not yet … but most people experience it at some point in their lives. We need to be prepared and knowledgeable about it. Know how to recognize it. But yeah, fear … yeah. You are beautiful. <3

    • Thank you, Shelli. Such a high compliment coming from another writer. You had tears.

      From what I’ve heard, you’re absolutely right. So many of us will, at some point, experience depression.

      One day, I believe you and I will meet…some way, some how.

      XO

  8. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Other Julie G!

    I don’t think fear has been my big battle, although I can remember being terrified of storms when I was little. I’d cry, run and get in bed with my parents or grandparents, whichever place I was at the time, or I’d hide under the bed! Now I LOVE storms! As an adult I used to be afraid of walking over bridges — just the ones with a river running beneath it. The movement of the water made me dizzy and I foresaw being uncontrollably flung over the railing down into the water. But as time went on, having 3 boys, I was often challenged to do things I would never have chosen myself — for their sake! I rode roller coaster, rode a gondola up to the top of a ski mountain, and took a flight in a tiny homebuilt airplane down the California coast and even took the stick for just a moment! It seemed the more things I did that scared me, the less scared I became and braver to try new things. One day while walking across a bridge over our river, it occurred to me I was no longer scared! I thought — when did THAT happen?!

    But if anxiety could be a type of fear, than maybe it IS a battle for me. I have social anxiety. I always thought it was because I grew up with two introverted parents. And I’m sure that was a big part of it, but not all. They kept to themselves. We never had company. They were not joiners of anything — not church, not any clubs or circle of friends, not even library card holders! I never learned many social skills which kept me from feeling confident in those situations. What do I say, when do I say it? How should I say it? I was always unsure of myself. I hated going to school because it was the same thing, only even more pressure, to meet the standards of my peers, which I never did! How I loved days I was home from school due to sickness. It meant I could stay home and away from people and be myself. No pressure! I still battle that in the workplace. It isn’t anything that prevents me from doing my job, but I’d still rather be home! Now I am realizing that it wasn’t due to just having introverted parents. I see now how smothering and controlling my mother was then, as now. And how it drove me to hiding in my room growing up. Making a sanctuary of my own personal space — the only place where I could be the real me. But regardless of the cause, anxiety is my battle. It doesn’t show. I don’t break out in a sweat, don’t appear to be nervous or cranky. But it exhausts me internally, having to endure certain situations for too long. I CRAVE solitude! I love the people in my life but feel a need for a little more space around me than I have. Space that allows me to be more fully who I am. I can be thankful for the grace God has given me to work with what is my reality without it being disastrous for me, but am even more thankful for the times I can be alone and be restored.

    I don’t know if I contributed anything to this “discussion” or if I completely went off grid (!), but it’s what your blog made me think of today 🙂

    God bless you other Julie G 🙂

    • Other Julie. Ohhh, wowwwww.

      What an honest, beautifully written response. I started reading it a couple of hours ago and wanted to wait until I could read it slowly and respond.

      And no, I don’t think this is off the grid at all! Your childhood memories of home are so precious, and so beautifully told. You took us there in your writing. And I DO understand about the social anxiety stuff. Sometimes I can be talking in a group of people and think, why did I just say that? Oh my gosh! That sounded so stupid–like, I can all of a sudden become too aware of myself. Laughing at myself sometimes helps. But I have been hit with that feeling. A lot.

      Rick and I took personality tests recently (with something at church) and I discovered how much I need time alone. I love how you’ve made a sanctuary of your space. And you see it that way b/c that’s exactly what it is! I’m also restored when I’m alone, and I can’t write unless I spend lots of time alone.

      I think it’s incredibly healing to be honest. Just like you were here. Even writing it took courage.

      I know one thing…if we ever meet each other and go on a walk, we’ll just laugh and laugh. And we won’t worry if we say something sorta silly or dumb-sounding!!

      Thank you again for your precious thoughts. Your heart, really.

      🙂 🙂

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Ohhh, thank you for such nice words. Already I was worried about all I said, but feel better now just reading all you said in response. And you know what — I can just picture us taking a walk together on that lovely long driveway of yours and just laughing and laughing together! Someday 🙂 Thank you again and God bless 🙂

        • No need to worry. Especially about posting your thoughts on my site! They were honest and straight from your heart. And social phobia/anxiety is fear. And I do understand. I’d much rather write my thoughts than speak them! In front of real people! xoxoxo

  9. Mary says:

    Fear is my big struggle, too. I think at the base of it, I am afraid of losing control (which is silly in itself – because really, what do I control, other than my own thoughts?) and it leads to all sorts of silly anxieties. Fear of change! Fear of illness! Fear of this-that-or-the-other-thing! (Picture God here, rolling his eyes.)

    I love what Cathy says: we need to concentrate on how we can fight back. Naturally, prayer is at the heart of the fight. Another huge weapon is to admit it and talk about it. Fear is like a shadow, and if you shine the light on it, it might not totally go away, but it sure lightens up. I’ve made closer, more genuine friends when I say, “Here is who I really am. This is a weakness I have.” Most times, people reply, “Oh, me too! I’m so glad I’m not alone!” As I recall, I first reached out to you, Julie, when I was struggling through some fears. I read your article in Guideposts about your depression and thought, “Maybe she will understand. Maybe I can write to her.” I was bowled over by your genuine, thoughtful response – it gave me strength – and a new online friend.

    So, want to have some fun with this? Here’s the silly “Get Up And Move” part of this week’s post. My husband told me a story about the Superman / WonderWoman pose. Use it when you are afraid to fight fear. Right now, wherever you are, STRIKE THIS POSE! You know what I mean? Stand up with your feet spread apart, put your hands on your hips with your elbows out, and throw your chest out and your shoulders back and look straight ahead! Makes you feel stronger, doesn’t it? My husband says that researchers did a study which showed that if people practiced this pose before they went on a job interview, they did better! Makes you laugh, doesn’t it? That’s another great antidote to fear!

    It’s a family joke with us… we strike the pose for each other as a reminder to be strong. I did it this Tuesday from the bleachers as my 16 year old was getting ready to run in his track meet. I saw his face light up with a smile immediately! Of course, then I had to explain it to the other parents… but then, they started laughing, too… and striking the pose!

    I’m laughing right now, picturing all of us standing in front of our PC’s, looking like super heroes! We are a faith-filled bunch!!!!

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Mary, so FUN! For Christmas a year ago, I wrote a 30-day devotional based around the superheroes we all grew up with, finishing in with the Greatest Superhero of All, and you know Who that is! I love the “strike the pose” idea! Sort of the Christian version of, “Go ahead. Make my day.” Wait till I tell my daughters about this one! They already think I’m crazy!

      • Mary says:

        Exactly! “For God has not given me a spirit of fear but of POWER and LOVE and a STRONG MIND” (II Timothy 1:7) I’m learning that when a fear arises, I have to look at it with fresh eyes… in other words, I don’t have to react in the same old way (ie, run and hide, lol.) I can do something different. I don’t think we’re every too old to learn new habits, do you?

        PS. I think the Super Power pose is especially helpful if you hum the theme to Rocky while you’re doing it, teehee!

      • 🙂 🙂 Cathy! Yes! Add Rocky’s theme song. Wow–wish I’d learned all of this growing up. Good stuff!

    • Hey, Mary! I’ll be back to respond first thing tomorrow morning! Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughts!!

      Brenda, Anna, Patricia, Vicky, and Marci’a! Thank you for reading and responding.

      This morning at our porch party, I prayed for everyone who might read this post today.

      Okay, back tomorrow a.m……gotta take a little break! xoxoxo Love you all dearly!

    • MARY! I love it!! Oh, I hope everyone sees your comment! This is wonderful. You know, public speakers are taught to do this–to walk freely around the stage, and look people in the eye–and fear flees.

      And I loved how you said, “God rolling His eyes.” 🙂 🙂 Because we think that, but in the center of my heart, I know He’s patient with us.

      Sometimes, I’ll just pray, “Jesus.” Sooo powerful!

      Yes, yes, yes, and your thoughts about shining the Light on fear! So true!!

      I’m just sick and tired of fear beating up on me. On us! I’m so glad we’re discussing The Fear Monster and not pretending we don’t deal with him–from time to time–but we know, “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world.”

      One of our daughters ran track. Wish I could’ve known this little secret years ago. 🙂

      Big ole hug, Mary. Amazing thoughts! And we can always use Peggy’s words, “Fear–Get ‘cha gone!”

  10. Brenda E. Greene says:

    A beautiful spring morning greeting from my front porch table to you Dear Julie Girl!

    It was 4:35am just this morning when I woke with a sense of foreboding but had no idea why. I began praying for many on my personal prayer list I knew were in need. Then I remembered it was probably just the “enemy of my soul” attempting to steal my joy so I began doing battle by quoting scripture: “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4) “That which is impossible with man is possible with God” (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27) “Let us not grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” Galatians 6:9 and before I knew it, it was 7:30! (Understand satan won’t stay around when scripture is quoted, he’s such a chicken!)

    The joy came when I opened today’s devotional from”Mornings With Jesus” and Dianne Neal Matthews had addressed that very subject in comparing computer scams with how subtle satan is in attempting to steal our joy. “Every day satan tries to gain access to my mind so he can plant lies there. He uses subtle deception designed to make me doubt my identity in Jesus. He wants to steal the joy of that relationship and replace it with fear, confusion, discontent, or rebelliousness.” So…fear, get’cha gone! Love your words this morning!!

    Oh, so what do I fear? Silly…but here goes: that I will not get to read all the books I want to before I die; that I won’t get all my precious pictures in scrapbooks before I leave this earth, and my Hubby of 48 years will never have a close and personal relationship with my “best friend Jesus” in my lifetime. But, my God of hope still reigns so I will not fear! Love you Sweetness!!

    • Brenda. Your sweet words, well, they just bring me to my knees.

      So humble. So like Him.

      And oh how I love what we’re doing right here, right now. We’re learning how to fight the evil one. Because we know he comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and he’s the father of lies.

      Sometimes (always!) we have to FIGHT FEAR. It doesn’t just get tired and go away. Fear doesn’t play nice!!

      Ohh, our GA weather–these mornings! Aren’t they amazing! Mother texted early this morning to say how pretty the day is. She was out watering her flowers.

      Love you, my friend.

  11. Anna Haney says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to share this. So many people don’t understand how depression can attack. And like you, when I have been in those valleys, I felt that I was letting God down. My hubby says, “the best cure for depression is to help someone else.” Maybe. But that’s hard to do when your job is to help other people.
    Love you

    • Agree, agree, agree, Anna! And just to know that we can talk about the big D and still be loved.

      Your husband is absolutely right.

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, you are such an incredible person! I loved reading your Devotionals for years.((: I am afraid of mistakenly eating anything with gluten in it.(): my family is very careful which is great for me. How are your loved ones doing? How’s your novel doing?
    Xxxxoxxo
    Patricia

    • Ohhh, Patricia. Bless your sweet heart. I DO understand. And guess what I did yesterday–so stupid! I had my medicine laid on the counter beside my husband’s. I took his. I have a feeling something had gluten in it–stomach hurt all day long. 🙁

      And it’s not just the one day thing–there are other risks involved for Celiacs who consume gluten. But we do the best we can, and know God’s in charge. Sometimes when I eat out, I ask God to protect me. I do everything I can to make sure food is safe. I haven’t stopped eating out. It’s so daily, isn’t it.

      My novel…waiting on my agent’s thoughts. I’m putting together thoughts for my next one! 🙂

  13. I love how transparent you are! My grief feels a bit like this. The gray that swirls around, and my inability to find pleasure in the everyday things. But moments of joy have popped through, and the crying is less each day. And his Grace is fresh each morning- I am clinging to that one for sure. Such hope you instill, that this too shall pass. Love and hugs to you~

    • Vicky, oh, Vicky. My mouth turned down and my eyes filled.

      Your words always do that do me. You’re clinging to Grace.

      I love you.

  14. marci says:

    What a good blog – to give each of us something to think about, and ‘dig deep’. Thinking about areas where I have fear. One is to … I confess, be completely open –as you are dear Julie. What would happen if I ‘let it all out’… If I didn’t hold anything back? If I opened every box that has been sealed up inside me for so long. Would that be my putting my foot in the deep water? As you see, you have given me much to think about. When I was young, I think I was fearless. I would walk on a dark street with no fear. I rode in a small plane over the Grand Canyon, and enjoyed every minute, while my brother threw up in everyones barf bag.. Now I have no desire to get on a plane, and he– is Retired Air Force! So he has done lots of flying. God does have a sense of humor! I have my share of small fears, and I see them as drawing me closer to the Lord, as I know I have to trust Him, and lean on Him to get me through, so that is a good thing.

    I really like the quote you wrote at the top of this blog, “A wonderfully nurturing atmosphere is created when people help other people by being themselves and sharing their own experiences”
    You have created such a place, and I am thankful, as I know the others are also. I hope to always be myself and follow your lead in that. To be more open, as you are.

    God Bless you dear Julie.

    • Marci’a….I can’t tell you the JOY I experienced by letting my secret out and being loved anyway.

      Open those boxes! Even if you peel off a tiny corner of the first one and sit back on your heels for a while. God is sooooo very patient with us. I don’t think He’s saying, “Julie! I’m so frustrated with you. What took you so long?!” And yes, that would definitely be putting your feet in deep water.

      The first step is acknowledging our fears. And you’re doing that! I’m cheering for you!

      You know what? I think people are more comfortable around us when we go ahead and just be ourselves.

      XOXOXO

  15. Julie,
    When reading your blog post, I usually find myself nodding my head up and down, saying to myself, “that’s just like me”. This post is no exception. I have always feared rejection. Whether in school, having to read an oral report or today, posting a picture of something I have made or even a response to a post. I look at everyone else and feel I just don’t measure up. I feel as if they can craft and write so much than I can. I have always feared taking that step and being rejected.

    Now, you have given me a reason to chase those fears out of my life. God wants me to trust him and just go deeper. It won’t be easy but nothing worth having (removing the fear from my life) is.

    “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

    Hugs, my friend, Eileen

    • OH, Eileen. Happy tears! Happy tears!!!! Yes! Yes! Yes!

      This is why I write!

      Thank You, Lord.

      I sooo understand you’re feelings. And when we compare ourselves to others, it’s always, always a trap. And to know He loves us–just as we are. Even when we mess up–maybe especially when we mess up.

      So much love to you, my friend.

  16. The Fear Monster? Yup…my word this year is COURAGE. Appropriate to slay the fear monster! Hugs…

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