My arms shook as I lifted them to the clothesline, attempting to hang wet laundry out to dry.
I could hear my heart beating in my chest as my eyes darted left and right.
I was convinced someone was going to jump over the wall into our rental property.
Just like the day before.
My eyes kept going back to the wall where the burglar had crouched the previous morning, after he smashed the window next to our back door.
Broken glass was still scattered on the ground.
My pulse would not slow down.
The fear was suffocating.
It tightened in my chest and caught my breath in its grip.
I had watched the same thing happen to a few different friends. They each had post-traumatic fear symptoms that lingered for months after being mugged on the streets of Cape Town.
Fear is a crippling enemy.
It breaks us down with a breath and brings us to our knees.
The question is, what do we do once we’re down there?
In her new book, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, author Trillia Newbell urges readers to turn to God and His Word.
Trillia believes that the Lord is the one who can give us the peace that passes understanding — even in the face of fear.
I agree — not only because the Bible says so, but because I’ve experienced it myself.
Standing outside at my clothesline the morning after our attempted robbery, I knew I had a choice. I could let fear get the best of me … or I could ask God for help.
By His grace and with His help, I chose the latter.
My fears didn’t dissipate instantly. My pulse didn’t immediately slow to a regular rhythm.
But He helped me stay out there in my backyard when I was tempted to go back in the house. He helped me sleep at night when the glass was still broken and the wind howled through the house.
He stilled the raging storm for His disciples, and 2,000 years later, He stilled my fearful heart.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Trillia Newbell, author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves. I received a review copy of this book from Moody Publishers, and it was such a delight to meet Trillia via video.
Click the video below to be encouraged by Trillia’s words of wisdom and vibrant personality. You’ll see that she is a woman who loves God and His Word.
As I mention in the interview, one thing that pleasantly surprised me about this book was the broad coverage of the topic of fear.
Before I started reading, I anticipated the pages to address issues such as a fear of death, fear of loneliness, fear of sickness, etc. What I didn’t expect was to find a whole section on the fear of man.
Trillia’s dealings with the fear of man were some of my favorite parts of the book.
She admits her own struggle with this common temptation to care too much about what other people think: “I loved the praise of people and hated the idea of doing wrong.”
She hits the nail on the head when addressing current trends: “Social media has a way of pulling out the fear of man. We check to see who has ‘liked’ our post or picture, fearing what we write, hoping to be noticed.” Does that sound familiar?
These lines hit me right between the eyes:
“Tragically, you and I deny Christ every time we care more about what others think of us than of what God has already declared. Every time we seek man’s approval and praise, we say to the Lord that His sacrifice was not enough.”
Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves is full of biblical encouragement: “The sweet cure for our fear of failure is the gospel, which reminds us of our limitations and weakness and our need for a Savior…. All our imperfections are perfect in the sight of God because of Jesus.”
Trillia concludes with a chapter entitled, “Growing in the Fear of the Lord.” This is the answer to overcoming earthly fears — to possess a reverent fear of the Lord.’
I especially appreciated Trillia’s emphasis on God’s work and His grace. Referring to Philippians 1:6, Trillia writes:
“The Christian is not left to grow on her own. God began the work in you, and He will finish it. He will teach you to fear Him. The work of growing in the Lord will culminate in a complete, joy-filled, perfect fear of the Lord on the day you see Jesus. You can and should actively seek this growth, by the grace of God, knowing that nothing you do will earn your righteous standing before the Lord.”
No matter what fears you fight against — whether it’s the fear of a burglar breaking into your house or the fear of other people’s opinions, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves is a helpful, biblical resource. It is full of rich, gospel content and points readers to the One who has overcome the world and all its fears.
Trillia Newbell is the author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. Along with writing, she is pursuing her M.A. in biblical counseling from Southern Theological Seminary. For fun, she enjoys group fitness (she used to be a fitness instructor!), cycling, and listening to a variety of music. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.
Related articles: Living in Fear and How to Defeat Fear through Faith