Overcoming Fear

September 15, 2014
An interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.

BILL HYBELS:  One might think if you get the external clutter all fixed in your life, or most of it fixed, then you can live this simplified life and it’s all good. Actually, what clutters up your internal world can really mess with your life, gang. I bear witness, myself.

One peace buster is fear. Fear can break a cycle of peace very rapidly in your life…. Sometimes you have to work a little bit to understand fear’s origin. Where did it come from, this fear, that’s making peace so difficult to maintain? We have to try to get to the origin, the roots of our fears, so we can deal with them.

I’m sure you’ve all had fear lie to you at some point in your life. Just this little idea that gets planted. You have a sore ankle and you say, “Oh, what if it’s cancer? What if some horrible thing is going to happen, and I’m going to have to get treatment? What if it’s even worse than that.”

And we start doing what I call catastrophizing – thinking of something that can go wrong, and instead of holding it in balance, you just hear this voice in your head go: danger, danger, danger.  Something terrible is around the corner. Something ominous is in the air. It’s all going to come crashing down. Danger, danger, danger. That little propensity towards catastrophizing can just play with your mind, all day every day. And it can wreck any sense of peace that you hope to build in your life.

I love the passage from the apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 1:7. It says, I’ve not appointed you to live life with a spirit of timidity. I don’t want you afraid of your shadow all life long. He said, I’ve given you a spirit of confidence, a sound mind, a disciplined thinking pattern.

When I feel fear going my way, I start going through a series of promises in God’s word. Promises like: God is for me, and not against me. If God is for me, who can be against me. And I kind of work up enough courage from the teachings in the Word of God – and the Holy Spirit reinforcing them in my mind – where I can say, “Ok, I’m going to face that fear head on.”

I’m going to do so, not because I think I can just overpower it on my own strength. But I’m going to do so because I’m a treasured child of the most high God. I’m someone that God loves and wants to accompany in this difficult situation.

I don’t know a better way to handle fear than to face it head on. You can try to dance around it but sooner or later, you just have to look it straight in the eye and deal with it.

See Part 3, Financially Reconciled from our interview with pastor Bill Hybels. 

Financially Reconciled

September 1, 2014

An interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.

BILL HYBELS:  One of the ways we get financially reconciled to God is to believe that all we have comes from his hand. If you think about it, it all comes from God, it all belongs to God.

When we were born he gave us life. He gives us talents and abilities. He gives us educational opportunities. And later on, he givesus vocation or employment opportunities. And then if we honor Him and go His way, He blesses our life and our earnings which are really just a manifestation of the goodness and the providence of God.

If you get that wrong and you start thinking that this is really your stuff, that it was all because of you that you earned it and you get to control it because it’s yours – that can be a dangerous way of thinking about money.

I like to draw a line on a piece of paper and I’ll say, if this is your current income, this is what I call God’s provision for your life during this season. Now he’s asking you to accept that and to live beneath that provision level so there’s a little margin in your life. And when people understand this they say, “But it’s hard for me to live underneath the amount of God’s provision.” And I say, “Well that’s where contentment comes in.”

Contentment is a virtue that can be cultivated in your life. You can actually come to a point like the apostle Paul who was able to say that he had learned to be content when he had a lot of God’s provision and when he had only a little of God’s provision.

Now what some people do is they say, “Hey God, I think you screwed up with my provision level.” So what I’m going to do is I’m going to use debt to add to the provision level that you should’ve given to me. I’m going to go into debt to increase my provision level. And then we all know where that leads.

There comes that day when you know you’re a slave to that debt and you feel in bondage. You look back at the time when you were content and lived within the means of God’s provision and you go, “Oh I was smarter then. That was a better move.” So if you can just keep in your mind that there is a current level of God’s provision – with contentment – you can live within that provision, live a joyful life, and stay out of debt and bondage.

See Part 2, Creating a God First Schedule from our interview with pastor Bill Hybels.