Fight Fear With Truth and Take Captive the What-Ifs

Gold Brush Stroke

Fear is a powerful foe that sneaks in on the coattails of what-ifs.

Fear is a powerful foe that sneaks in on the coattails of what-ifs. Share on X

Late at night and my exhausted mind wouldn’t rest. It kept turning over a plethora of “what-ifs.” 


My oldest would be flying that night to Turkey for a three-week trip with his college. Up to that point, I had wholeheartedly supported this incredible opportunity, even insisting he go despite some financial concerns.

But this night, I had let my guard down and opened the door to an enemy of peace. As my mind replayed episodes of what-if, anxiety and fear mounted.

What if the plane crashed?

What if the country erupted in anarchy while Daniel was there?

What if he became sick?

What if terrorist activity dramatically increased in Turkey in the coming weeks? 

I no sooner shoved one what-if down when another would surface. At times, panic threatened to overwhelm me.

I knew I was being silly. My fear had no basis. This life holds risks, here at home as well as abroad. We are all aware of that.

Furthermore, I knew the college staff leading the trip had taken all the necessary precautions and were qualified to lead this trip. They’d taken hundreds of students to Turkey over many years. 

And I was truly excited for Daniel.

Yet when I began to ask what-if questions, rationale, as well as faith, got shoved aside. I began to fear what I had previously accepted, even welcomed. 

fight fear with truth

Faith In What? 

As I entertained what-if scenarios around Daniel’s trip, a question danced at the edge of my thoughts: Would my faith be strong enough to handle the loss of this precious son? 

The answer depends on where I place that faith.

So maybe a better question to ask when fear threatens is, am I placing my faith in solid rock or shifting sand?

 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” Matthew 7:24-27

Is my faith placed in the plane’s ability to safely carrying my son across the ocean?

Is my faith placed in the adults and guides who organized and are leading the trip?

Is my faith placed in Turkey’s government to keep terrorists at bay? 

Or is my faith placed in the one thing that will never fail: the Lord God? 

Fearful? Ask yourself this question: Am I placing my faith in solid rock or shifting sand? Share on X

One Solid Anchor

As Kara Tippetts battled cancer, she learned to place her faith in the one solid anchor. She didn’t place her faith  in the doctor’s abilities to heal her or her husband’s strength to cope. Her faith securely rested in the promises of the Sustainer.

Nearing the end of her life, Kara assured her husband and young children that God’s grace would be sufficient for them at the time of her Home-going. She didn’t pretend to know what that grace would look like or how it would play out, but she trusted God’s promises. 

God promised. He is faithful. His grace is and will be sufficient for all things we face.

It’s not enough to believe it true for Kara and her family. We need to believe it to be true for our own reality. 

To defeat fear, we need to believe God's promises are true for our own reality, not only someone else's. Share on X

Defeat Fear With Truth

As near-panic threatened to rob me of my night’s rest, I regrouped by telling myself the truth. 

  1. God loves Daniel even more than I do. (John 3:16)
  2. I have no reason to believe something bad will happen. However, if something did happen to Daniel, I would not be alone in handling it. God’s grace would sustain me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  3. The promises of God stand, no matter what earthly circumstances I face. His truth is truth, period. (Philippians 4:19)
  4. His ways are higher than mine. I don’t need to understand them, just trust that He is in control. (Isaiah 55:8)

After I filled my mind with Truth, it didn’t take long for the what-ifs to slip away and my heartbeat to return to normal. I went to bed with a renewed measure of peace. 

Filling our hearts and minds with God's truth will bring a renewed measure of peace. Share on X

Do You Believe God’s Truths for Your Reality?

The truth is you and I will never be strong enough to handle the brokenness of this world or Satan’s temptations. Nothing of this world is enough to ensure a comfortable life. 

Ugliness will be displayed. Painful things will happen. The unthinkable may become reality. 

And there is nothing temporal that can offer peace when turmoil swirls, contentment when fear rears its head, or joy when our hearts ache. 

But in Christ we have hope in all things. As a children of God, adopted into His Kingdom, we have His promise of grace, His strength that will sustain us through the most horrific circumstances. 

But do I believe it for my reality? Do you? 

Are you struggling with fear? Combat it by delving deeper into God’s truths for your life. 

“Since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:21-23

Reflections: Do you struggle with fear? When wondering if your faith is/will be strong enough if “this or that,” consider asking instead if you’ve placed your faith in the only Firm Foundation?

I’m excited to continue recording blessings this year. Since beginning over 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,500 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go in 2015: #3891–3911, read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Having a fifth one (Zachary) around the dinner table again; Mother’s Day gift of bulk tea arrived from Daniel–love it!; Daniel’s 3-week adventure begins–so excited for him!
  • Incredibly blue sky; Finding fresh peppermint; My first sighting of our resident eaglet
  • Nicest cell phone customer service agent–made the call almost enjoyable; First Skype call from Danny in Turkey–never mind that it was blurry, this mama’s heart sang; Walk with a friend tonight
  • *Made progress on technical website issues; *Connect 4 Launchers tournament–I came so close to beating the boys (well sort of); *Zachary off (but not too far) on his next adventure–his summer job
  • Rachel’s joy at having Zachary back for the weekend; Puddles to ride bikes through; Frog choruses filling the air
  • Lovely slow start to this Saturday; Celebrating my nephew’s college graduation; Car rides–they invite conversations not likely to happen otherwise
  • *Potluck breakfast at church–meals don’t get much better; *Powerful sermon by guest pastor Kenety Gee about our internal baggage; *Successful afternoon of morel hunting with Zach before he headed to work for the week


By His Grace,



  1. Laura Naiser on May 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Great post, Julie! And one I can relate to. I have a terrible phobia of flying and have had to fly more in the first half of this year than in the last three years combined! I have to take those what-if thoughts captive quickly or I can spiral out of control in no time. Thanks for the encouraging reminder and some good suggestions.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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