by Heather Bock
Don’t miss the Journaling the Word Bible giveaway at the end of this post!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8
Lately, my son has periodically been having trouble sleeping. He fears creatures that don’t, never can, exist in his room. He has nightmares that shake him awake. He can’t let go of anxieties about half-hour schoolwork assignments coming the next day. It’s usually different every night, but the common theme is fear.
Last night, he came out afraid because of a particularly intense episode in an animated movie we watched earlier in the evening. I gave him the steps I always give him, mostly based on the verses above:
- Firmly remind yourself of the unlikelihood of what you fear actually occurring and how the worry doesn’t help (Matt. 6:27).
- Pray to God for help.
- Thank God: for His help, protection, provision in the past, present, and future, and for anything else.
- Focus on the good of the day or on the good coming the next day.
Then I prayed over him, for the ability to trust God to take care of him, for spiritual protection from any spirit of fear, for the ability to set his mind on the good.
After I had him tucked in once again, I started to think about the fact that my son was going to have to truly trust God in order to thank Him. He couldn’t be thankful that God would answer his prayers and protect him if he didn’t trust that God would do just that. I’ve learned from experience, though, that if we don’t do the “with thanksgiving” part of Philippians 4:6, the “peace of God” part of 4:7 rarely happens.
These steps are not just helpful for kids’ fears. They help adults just as much, and I’ve found that the step three of thanksgiving is key.
And what is thanksgiving without trust? Sometimes it’s easy to trust that God has our best at heart–yes, when we’re thanking Him for pay raises, good food, and mild weather. What about when we try to thank Him for something that doesn’t look much like a blessing? I wrote about this here, about giving thanks in everything, a lesson I learned a lot through Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. What about when we thank Him for how He WILL provide for us? We’ll have to trust His promise then: “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matt. 6:31-32). For even if God knows you need such things and decides to withhold them for your good or someone else’s good, He will be with you (Jas. 4:8), and He is still good (Mark 10:18).
One more step exists to help conquer fear, but it wasn’t one that could’ve helped my son with his sleeplessness. It’s a step I learned from Ann Voskamp’s most recent book The Broken Way, which I reviewed here.
5. Give to and help others.
When we focus on others more than ourselves, when we pour ourselves out for the people around us, our fears begin to fade. We run out of time to worry about our own problems. We gain perspective.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and use it to start conquering your fears!
Bible Review and Giveaway
Do you like to write in the margins of your Bible about lessons you’ve learned? I’m one of those people. I used to jot down every nugget I found in the margins, to the point that some parts of my Bible were packed with my tiny handwriting. My friend noticed this, and with some other women in a Bible study I was leading, gave me a wide margin Bible as a present. I couldn’t bear to leave my old notes in my old Bible, so I transferred every one of those notes over into my new, roomier Bible. This was actually the genesis of my Bible study called Glimpses of Jesus in Genesis. Every time I came across a note about Jesus in the Old Testament, I would mark it somewhere else, until I had the framework for my study, not knowing at the time that I would be writing a study at all! Because of all this, you can see why I would be partial to a wide margin Bible.
That’s why I was glad when I was given the opportunity to review a Bible called the Journal the Word Bible. The one I received is hard cover, has large print, and is translated in the New King James version. I was impressed with what a pretty Bible it is, a unique size with off-white pages. It includes an elastic band to keep it shut and a ribbon with which to mark your place. It has light lines in the margins, perfect for writing, but also light enough for drawings to illustrate favorite verses.
This isn’t so much me, but I’ve seen more and more people drawing in the margins of their Bibles–visual learners cementing God’s messages in their right brains. Personally, as a Bible study writer, I really don’t like when people draw all over the actual words of Scripture. Every verse is important in the Bible, not just the most popular ones or the ones most meaningful to you at the moment. That’s why wide margin Bibles are so important if this is something you love to do.
All of this is why I’m glad I get to give two away (one for now). Even if you don’t think it would be useful for you, I hope you will be like the friend who gave me mine and give one to a friend who would enjoy it. You never know what it might start for that person!
If you want to enter the drawing, subscribe to my blog:
- Click the button “follow” in the above right column under my picture and type in your email address.
To earn more entries, or if you’re already following my blog,
- Share this book review post via social media. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three).
- Let me know in a comment where you’ve shared.
- Notify me of your name.
Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada only who have not won any giveaways from this blog for one year.
I will announce the winner next Wednesday, so look for it! Thank you!