Grace Fox’s book-“MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM”

 

I am delighted to interview my good friend Grace Fox who has written a book about a topic that we all crave; freedom.  So what’s stopping us? The old enemy of Fear! Once I started reading Grace’s book I could not put it down because it talked to me about areas of my life I was not even aware of. But here’s the best part; Grace doesn’t leave us stranded, she gives practical insights into how to overcome fear. This interview is but a  nibble of the contents of the book; I know you will want more.

“Courage comes when we act upon the truth of God’s promise to be with us.”

 Grace Fox is an international author and speaker described as “deep, daring, and devoted.” She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines including Focus on the Family, Insights and Power for Living, and she’s authored four books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She speaks regularly at women’s conferences and at World Vision’s “Girls Night Out” events. Radio and television programs such as “100 Huntley Street,” “It’s a New Day” and “FamilyLife Today” consider her a trusted guest.

Grace is also national co-director of International Messengers Canada, a ministry committed to sharing Christ in Eastern Europe. She and her husband live in Abbotsford, British Columbia and have three grown children and three grandchildren. www.gracefox.com In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and motorbiking.

Q: Grace, you’re presently producing a teaching DVD and study guide to accompany your latest book Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. Tell us why you’ve written on this topic.

A: Fear is a big deal – so big, in fact, that God’s Word addresses it 366 times. I believe it’s one of Satan’s most effective tools used to render believers ineffective. Enough is enough. It’s time to move beyond our fears to embrace life as fully as God intended.

Q: Describe the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.

A: Healthy fear promotes self-preservation and steers us towards wise decisions and actions. For example, the fear of developing major health issues spurs me to eat properly, exercise, and get enough rest. Fear of my kids making poor choices causes me to be intentional in my parenting. Fear of flashing red lights in my rear view mirror causes me to obey the speed limit, wear my seatbelt and use my turn signals.

Unhealthy fear can hinder our ability to make decisions, cause sleeplessness and stress, rob of us joy and peace and prevent us from fully embracing God’s purpose for our lives. Intense fears such as phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder fall into this category, but so do many common fears with which we struggle.

Q: How does destructive fear stunt our emotional or spiritual growth?

A: Emotionally – sometimes we need help to process a hurtful past. Trouble is, our fear of rejection might get in the way. We worry about what others might think of us if they knew what we’d done or experienced, and so we refuse to seek the help we need. The result? We can’t move forward into healing and wholeness.

Spiritually – the fear of inadequacy, fear of an unknown future, and fear of financial insecurity often hinder us from saying yes when God presents us with opportunities guaranteed to stretch us beyond our comfort zone. If we never move beyond those fears, we’ll never experience God’s adequacy in new ways.

Q: Your book looks at eight key areas where women face their greatest fears. What are some of these and what was the top fear women expressed?

A: These eight key areas are based on a survey that I conducted before writing the book. About 350 women ages 19-80 responded and revealed that the most common fears included the fear of rejection, facing the ghosts of the past, inadequacy, financial insecurity, growing old, the storms of life and an unknown future. The #1 fear was the fear for our kids’ well-being.  

Q: You faced a frightening situation with your newborn daughter. Tell us about that. How did you overcome your fear for her well-being?

A: My husband and I were missionaries in Nepal when our second child was born – with hydrocephalus (excess water on the brain). Doctors said she needed immediate surgery but they couldn’t perform it because of inadequate facilities. When we tried to make arrangements to fly home, international airlines refused to issue me a ticket because they considered me a medical high risk after having had a C-section.

As a result, my husband took the baby to North America when she was three days old and I was forced to remain in Kathmandu for another week. Saying goodbye to my infant, not knowing whether or not I’d see her alive again, was one of the darkest times of my life. But in that experience I experienced God’s comfort. As I cried and prayed, He filled my mind with the words from the song, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” He gave me no promises about my daughter’s life, but He promised to be faithful no matter what it held.

Our daughter had 11 surgeries in the first couple years of life and battled meningitis before her first birthday. Life was challenging but God fulfilled His promise and proved Himself faithful to us. Remembering that promise was the key to overcoming our fear for Stephanie’s well-being. BTW, she’s 25 now and doing very well although she still requires a shunt for hydrocephalus.

Q: You suggest we need to place our focus on God and not on fear. In practical terms, how do we do this?

A: Here are suggestions based on what I’ve done and found very helpful:

  • Write Scripture promises on 3×5 cards and post them where you’ll see them often. (Your readers can find a free downloadable list of such Scriptures on my website: www.gracefox.com. Look under “Resources.”)
  • Memorize and meditate on Scripture promises throughout the day and as you fall asleep at night. We are transformed as our mind is renewed.
    • Fill your home with praise and worship music.
  • Seek silence in God’s presence – forget about prayer requests. Simply focus on who He is and enjoy Him.
  • Make an altar of remembrance to celebrate God’s faithfulness using ornaments that remind you of specific instances where He’s protected or provided. Or scrapbook or journal to commemorate those significant events. When you feel afraid, look back and find courage in remembering what God has done in the past.
  • Borrow my mantra – “I will trust and not be afraid.” This is the phrase I say aloud when I’m feeling anxious about something, whether it’s a sudden onslaught of fear or a nagging sense of uneasiness that won’t go away. It helps keep my thoughts focused on God when fear threatens to overwhelm me.
  • Make a habit of talking to and praising God throughout your day. Invite Him into the mundane so you become accustomed to the sense of His presence with you.

 

Q: Most of us face fear of the unknown. How do you encourage readers to look at the future and the fear that seems to come with it?

A: Rather than panicking at what might happen (the what-ifs), recall the certainties of the past and how God has been faithful. If we fail to do so, we’re likely to imitate the Israelites – when they focused on their fears rather than on God’s faithfulness, they complained about their circumstances, and then fell into rebellion and idolatry. Why would we be any different?

When fearful thoughts about the future come, we need to choose not to entertain them. Instead, we need to choose to remember that God – who has been faithful in the past – never changes. He will be faithful every day of our lives. Our future circumstances are not guaranteed, but God’s love and presence are. Even if our worst fears come true, God is able to bring good from the situation.

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: The fear of inadequacy is huge. When presented with opportunities that are obviously beyond our comfort zone and natural capability, many of us respond with “Who, me? I can’t do that.” Here are some strategies for overcoming this fear:

  • Be honest about how we feel. Tell God we’re afraid of failure or of making a mistake.
  • Do it afraid. Move forward expecting Him to equip us.
  • Be honest with others. This gives them the freedom to be honest in return and provides opportunity for mutual encouragement.
  • Realize that how we respond to God’s call reveals what we believe to be true about Him. If we refuse to say yes, we’re declaring that God is too small to accomplish the task through us. To my regret, I’ve done that in the past. But with God’s help, I’ll never do it again. I want to experience everything God has in store for me.

 

Q: What do you mean by the comment, “Some women camouflage their fear of rejection by wearing a mask of artificiality?”

A: A.W. Tozer says humans share a desire to “put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty.” I can relate to that! We long for approval and acceptance so we pretend to be someone we’re not. We wear a plastic smile on the outside so others think everything’s okay on the inside. Sometimes we lie to prevent others from knowing the truth about us – the truth that we’re not perfect….that we yell at our kids in anger, we can’t shake our feelings of worthlessness brought on by childhood abuse that’s never been addressed, we harbor unforgiveness toward someone who’s hurt us, we dissatisfied with our marriage and our spiritual life feels empty.

The fear of rejection causes us to wear a plastic smile and can prevent us from enjoying authentic relationships. If only we could fully understand God’s amazing unconditional love for us. Imagine the freedom we’d experience!

Q: You write that we have been programmed to think that perfection is the key to acceptance. Can you explain what you mean?

A: Who’s most successful in our society? Top achievers get the promotions. The most beautiful women win the pageants. The strongest win the race. Those who radiate self-confidence, strength, and beauty are most readily accepted. But God’s economy is different. He embraces those who admit their weakness and cry to Him for help. He loves us not because we’re so good but because He’s so good. He loves us not for what we should be, but for who we are with all our brokenness because He wants to fill us with His goodness and His strength.

Q: You conclude your book with a chapter about body image. What does it mean to make peace with our bodies?

A: Making peace with our bodies means being comfortable with them despite their imperfections. It means we no longer feel the need to compare ourselves to other women (how depressing is that?) We begin to recognize our body as an old friend that’s carried us through life’s ups and downs rather than an enemy that’s making life difficult for us with its aches and veins, leaks and creaks.

Q: What can men learn about the women they love from reading your book?

A: They can learn what fears she might struggle with, where they come from, and how to encourage her to overcome them. They might even discover some insights about their own fears (yes, men have them, too!).

Q: Where can readers buy Moving From Fear to Freedom?  

A: Any stores where Christian books are sold, Amazon, and my website: www.gracefox.com/books. Your readers might also be interested in following my devotional blog. I post every Monday , Wednesday, and Friday, sharing insights from my own quiet time: www.gracefox.com/blog.

Q: When will the study guide and teaching DVD be released?

A: Early in 2011. I’m very excited about this project. I’m partnering with Stonecroft Ministries to make it available for their small groups, but our goal is to make this message available for small groups across North America and beyond. It’s ideal for Sunday school classes, mid-week small groups, women’s recovery programs and even for prison ministries. Every woman everywhere deals with fear at some time or other. My website will announce its release and where it’s available.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: