Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: anxiety (page 2 of 7)

What 2017 Taught Me About Hope

This blog post is co-authored by my boyfriend, Owen Wolf.

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A Year of Hope

2017 is coming to an end. Another year filled to the brim with memories that are already fading away as 2018 looms ahead with unwritten adventures.

This year has been a crazy one for me. I was heavily involved in my church and finished my last year at community college. Eventually, I decided to take a break from being a youth leader as I started my senior year of college. Not only that, but I’m also in a relationship (as you can clearly see)!

One theme of 2017 that Owen and I have clearly seen in our lives is Hope. Owen had lost hope while focusing on the temporal. He did not want to think about the road ahead.

However, I struggled to grip onto the anchor of hope in a different way. Anxiety paralyzed me as I tried to gaze into something not meant to be seen. I was trying to control my future, to set in stone what is really shifting sand.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the past or try to grasp for control of the future. But both ways of thinking can cause us to lose hope. As we have grown, Owen and I now see the importance of standing on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ.

 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:29 NIV)

Our salvation is secured in Jesus. We don’t have to worry about our past or future with God. He washes all of the old things away, and He makes all things new.

An Eternal Perspective

We need to start acting in the present while having a more eternal perspective. The Bible tells us to think about today and not worry about tomorrow, but it also tells us to focus on the Kingdom of God.

Eternity is not just some concept from the far away future; it is a reality for the past, present, and future. Eternity is in this very moment. We are eternal souls in temporary bodies.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)

What 2017 Taught Me About Hope

My challenge for you today is to look back on 2017. What do you remember? Chances are, you only remember the highlight reels of the good and bad times.

When Owen and I tried looking back on the past two years, we found that we could hardly remember anything!

The point is to remember that this life is fleeting. It is good to live life to the fullest and be present, and to plan for the years you may have left. However, it is even more important to have an eternal perspective. Ask God what that looks like for you, and what legacy He wants you to leave.

We can hold on to hope, knowing that God is with us every step of the way and that He is ultimately in control of our lives. He has great plans for us, and 2018 is only just the beginning.

Happy New Year, lovely one! I hope you have a fabulous and blessed 2018.


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In a Boat With Fear and Jesus

Picture this: Three girls are sitting in a canoe on windy waters. One of them is in the middle, clutching onto the sides of the boat for dear life as it tilts and bobs. Even though her friends are paddling and assuring her that everything is perfectly fine, she can’t stop shaking and singing “Oceans” by Hillsong.

That girl is me. 

A picture of me, overcoming my fear by going canoeing.

It sounds ridiculous now, considering how I was wearing a life jacket and was in a boat with two skillfully trained swimmers who I love and trust. But sitting in that canoe last weekend reminded me just how shaky and unstable this life can feel sometimes. Like a beautiful, scary, and mysterious adventure. 

 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 29-31 NIV)

Focus

I know I quote this passage a lot, but it is just that relevant. Anyone who has struggled with anxiety or fear can relate to Peter’s woes in those stormy waters.

As I was trying to keep calm on that canoe, all I could think about was the movie, The Shack. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It’s an inspiring story about a man named Mack, who has an encounter with God after a series of tragic, faith-shaking events in his life.

In one scene of the movie, Mack is in a boat, being plagued by dismal waters. He can’t see any way out. He is completely consumed by darkness and fear.

That is, until Jesus shows up. Suddenly God is asking Mack to focus his gaze on Him instead of the dark waves around him. When Mack finally musters the courage and faith to do this, he finds that the storm around him dissipates. He is free to see only Jesus.

There came a point when I was sitting in that little canoe that I realized I would have to trust Jesus and that He is who He says He is. My fear didn’t matter, and it would serve no purpose in my life other than to paralyze me. 

Trust

When I stop to think about what might have happened to me if I had tipped over the canoe, I realize that God would have kept me safe. He has never let me down before, so why would He start now? Instead of being like Peter and focusing on the rough waters around me, I should have just kept my eyes on Jesus. 

I don’t know where you are in life or your walk with God, lovely reader. Maybe you don’t even know who Jesus is. But I urge you to remember that nothing you can do will cease the waves and storms of this life. Only God’s perfect peace can bring you through it.

It can be so easy to look at all of the problems and stress around us, but we need to remember that there is a God who is bigger than any storm we may face. 

Despite my anxiety-ridden first experience at canoeing, I still ended up having a blast with my friends. I also learned that faith requires trust, despite the stormy seas of life. If I keep looking at the King who holds my entire world, I know that no matter what, I am safe. 

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8 NIV)


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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Part 1

Hello lovely readers and followers! Today I’m launching a new series called Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor. This series will be focusing on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Madeline swallowed back the lump in her throat as she ran her hands through her dark, sweaty locks.

She had been practicing for hours, on that old dusty laminate floor–turning and leaping to try and master every single move. She knew she never would, but that didn’t matter. It was a ballerina’s curse.

She finally gave in, her stomach crying out for nourishment. When was her last meal? She stood up trembling, realizing that both appetite and sleep were hard to come by these days.

As she left the desolate studio, Madeline just couldn’t shake the feeling of a shadow following her out the door. It was always there, oppressing her soul with fear and throwing off every turn or step she took. Life was a dance, and she just couldn’t find her rhythm.

By the time Madeline parked her car and made it up the stairs to her apartment, her feet were killing her. She could barely move her toes, as pointe shoes had a way of melting them together into a blistering fury.

She was so preoccupied by her aching feet that she barely noticed the small box in front of her door. It caught the corner of her eye, like a ray of light breaking up the shadows.

“What?” Madeline picked up the box, scrutinizing it as she entered her apartment. Christmas was a month ago, and she didn’t really have any friends to drop off a surprise gift.

When Madeline sat on her sofa and turned on a lamp, she noticed the piece of paper taped to the box. Taking it eagerly into her delicate hand, Madeline read aloud.

My dear Madeline,

I know you’ve been weary lately. Life can be so hard and confusing. I hope this gift takes some pressure off of you. Remember that whenever life becomes too much, you can always call on My name. My burden is light enough for you to dance through. Take this armor and have courage. 

Love, Jesus.

Madeline blinked as she dropped the paper. Was this a joke? She didn’t come from a religious family, and her dance academy didn’t exactly boast many devout Christians.

Take this armor and have courage. She didn’t know what the letter meant, but receiving a box that claimed to hold God’s armor peaked her curiosity.

Madeline sighed and opened the box. When she saw the pair of powder pink suede boots, her breath caught.

“No way,” she mused as she slipped them on her feet. The moment she stood and her soles hit the bottom, Madeline felt relief flood her body. The pain in her feet instantly vanished, as well as the hunger and fatigue.

They fit perfectly.

“Whoa.” Madeline couldn’t help but grin. Without another thought, she grabbed her jacket and ran outside.

The parking lot of the apartment complex was dark, the winter moon tucked beneath a blanket of clouds. Madeline didn’t care. She giggled like a child as she swayed and turned, using the blanket of snow beneath her feet to give her leverage as she spun like a figurine.

There was no pain. No fear. No stress.

Only freedom. Only peace.

When she finally stopped dancing, Madeline looked out over the snow glazed parking lot. Although her world was dark and silent, every single footprint she had left behind shimmered like a light, casting away any shadow that had surrounded her.

Madeline gasped as she saw what was etched into the snow print of each step. She raised her foot to examine the bottom of her new boot. Sure enough, engraved into its sole was one word.

“Jesus,” Madeline exhaled as the fog rolled out of her mouth. She didn’t understand much about God, and at this point, she didn’t have to. All she knew was that she needed this Jesus, and she would do anything to find Him.

Madeline turned to head toward her car, but then stopped when she noticed the figure standing near the curb. A low male voice echoed across the lot.

“Looking for something?”


…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15 NIV). 

Thanks for reading and supporting! What do you think of the series so far? Click here for Part 2 of Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor!

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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts! 

Abundant Life

I’m just gonna’ say it. I feel like all I ever do is write posts for those times when life is overwhelming or falling apart. You know, the hard times.

I’m an encouraging person, so writing posts that lift others up during their life battles is something that I love to do. I know God has used hard times to draw me closer to Him so that I could watch Him be glorified. I also hope the same can be said for you, lovely reader.

But what about life’s good moments? Moments when new opportunities are on the horizon, or when accomplishments have been made. Moments when prayers are answered or when relationships are going well.

Seems great, right? A season of joy should make us feel nothing but grateful…but what if it doesn’t? 

I’m the kind of person who can get anxious for no reason at all. I like to be in control of things in order to feel secure.

But where does this leave room for God?

This kind of anxious thinking and desire for control, even in good times, is a sign that we lack trust in Jesus. I say we, because I know I’m not alone. Sometimes blessings can terrify us because we are afraid to lose them. 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)

Read this verse again. Our enemy is not our circumstances–whether good or bad–and it’s not God. Our enemy is the thief–the devil. Instead of enjoying life and praising God for our blessings, the devil wants to steal our joy and destroy our trust.

He wants to kill our faith.

We have to remember that God sees the whole picture of our lives. His knowledge is not limited like ours. Even when things go bad or if life doesn’t make sense, God can still work all things for our good.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 NKJV)

Sometimes I can’t believe this–that God is always for me! He wants to see His children enjoy life and live it to the fullest. The thief may come to destroy and steal from us, but Jesus came to give us abundant life.

We cannot see into the future, and we cannot control every outcome of our lives. I think that the best way to overcome this fear is to just let go and seek God like never before.

Lovely readers, don’t stop stepping out in faith when it comes to trying new things. Don’t shut yourself off from the fountain of life and joy that is in Jesus. Sometimes life’s greatest moments can teach us one of the greatest lessons of all.

They teach us to surrender. 


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Out of Focus

I didn’t realize I was having a panic attack until I couldn’t breathe. I felt my throat constrict as I tried desperately to remember how to control my inhales and exhales. The only thing that seemed to bring me back was saying the name of Jesus.

Anxiety is not something that is easily understood. I think that a lot of times, Christians simplify it by saying that anxiety is just a sign of a lack of faith. Even I was starting to wonder if my belief was strong enough.

However, my world-shaking experience that day was not just from a lack of faith. I finally realized that, at the root of my anxiety, I had somehow lost focus on God. I knew that I could trust Him,  but He wasn’t at the forefront of my mind and heart in the way that Jesus should always be.

Sound familiar? It’s actually something the Apostle Peter experienced.

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:29-30 NKJV)

Although most of us look at Peter’s rebuke for having a lack of faith, we often forget where this unbelief and fear actually originated. Peter lost his focus. Instead of looking toward Jesus as he took his steps on top of the violent waves, he got distracted by the storm around him.

I am a Peter sometimes. I step off of the boat and into some of the great things that God has called me to be a part of, and I forget to fix my eyes on Him.

I am so busy trying to be the “good girl” and please those around me, and do anything  that I can to help and make up for my weaknesses. My intentions are good, maybe even noble, but they’re also deceptively self-destructive.

Now that I’ve made the decision to step back from a couple of things, I’ve found a small void that can now be filled by the presence of Jesus. I can let Him in even more.

Work is good. School is good. Ministry is good. But what happens when jobs, positions, and people become idols in our lives? What happens when they fall apart or are ripped away from us?

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-43 NKJV)

We can easily fall into the Martha trap of doing and serving (which is fine when done right). But when things stop going our way or become too much, we realize that what we really need is to focus on God and rest in His presence like Mary.

Falling apart or feeling anxious when life gets stressful does not make you a “bad Christian.” It makes you human. At least you’re stepping off of the boat.

Lovely reader, you don’t have to live this way permanently. Little by little, start fixing your eyes on Jesus. Put  your time, thoughts, and energy on His unrelenting love.

Right now, I’m still learning to do this, but that’s okay. God is still walking with me, cheering me on. He is for me, and He is for you too (Romans 8:31)! Even in my moment of dire panic, He never left my side.

For now I’ll keep pressing in and reaching out to Jesus, trusting that my fears will keep fading, until they are no more.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)


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