Questions That Free Us

Questions That Free Us

More Quotes and Questions || Lent :: Week 4

We talked on the phone for over an hour.  She was borrowing her Mama’s cell phone because a girl and her Nana need to talk, you know. 

Conversations with a 7 year old granddaughter take time.  Books once read to them are now read by them.  You don’t want to miss a minute.

We were about “1 hour and 17 minutes” into the conversation (according to Haddie) when I realized I needed to go get gas in my van before an afternoon rehearsal.  

At that point, our conversation went something like this …

“Haddie, Nana has to go put gas in my van so I won’t be able to talk on the phone much longer.  I’m a little nervous about pumping gas, though.  Papa usually puts gas in my van for me but he’s out of town today and I’m going to have to do it myself.  Maybe you can pray for me that I won’t be nervous.”

“I’ll pray for you Nana but tell me …what frightens you so much about pumping gas.”  

And there it was.  The question of all questions.  What did frighten me about it?  Why had I suddenly become so fearful of something I had been doing quite easily for years and years?  

“Well Haddie, I’m afraid gas will get on my hands or my clothes.  I have hand sanitizer in the van … “

What I didn’t want to admit was that my fear was irrational…silly even.  The real fear was that I would get gasoline on my hands or clothes and somehow cause harm to someone else along the way.  The what if’s …what if this dreadful thing happens because I made a mistake or something didn’t work like it was supposed to. 

I was too embarrassed to tell a 7 year old that her 57 year old Nana took that fear to a deeper level than I could admit.  

But here we were …girl to girl and real life was happening.  I shared the surface of my fear and she got to the heart of it.  What are you really afraid of?  

Did I subconsciously assume I was powerful enough to keep all bad things from happening?  Was it within my short-arm reach to prevent all disasters …illnesses …sadness …pain …suffering …hurt?  

Could it be that I never want to make a mistake?  Always be perfect?  Never fail? 

Is something even deeper going on of my lack of trust in a God who made the entire universe and everything in it?  Do I believe that He is sovereign over all things and that nothing can happen that He can’t turn around for good?  Have I bought into the lie that His arm is shorter than my own and maybe He can’t reach out and save me from myself?  

And  is the hard-to-swallow reality that I’ve somehow tried to put myself in the place of God the actual pill I’m choking on? 

One simple question  had unlocked the deeper fear which unlocked the lie buried beneath it all.  “What frightens you about …?”

Haddie became the big girl and prayed for her  Nana with such a pure-hearted prayer.  She asked God for a simple favor …”Help Nana to not be nervous about pumping gas…”   and ended her prayer with, “and God, help her to remember hand sanitizer.” 🙂 

And somewhere in the space of those few minutes prior to pumping gas, I found freedom in the question.  

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32 (NIV)


If you’re new here, WELCOME! I’d love to keep the conversation going. What questions help you get to the root of your fear?

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 7 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Brian Johnson’s book on his lifelong journey with fear and anxiety was an excellent read. The book is When God Becomes Real. Brian is Bethel pastor, Bill Johnson’s son and the worship psstor of Bethel.

    1. Thanks David! I’ll have to grab that book. God has been so gracious to guide me along the way to peace. Every little bit helps. Say hi to Gail and the family for me !

  2. This quote from your article:
    “Do I believe that He is sovereign over all things and that nothing can happen that He can’t turn around for good?“
    This is what I needed to read and be reminded of. Please pray for our family if you think of me over the next month. We are facing some very difficult and heart wrenching situations.
    Thank you for sharing and encouraging me. ♥️

    1. Oh Annette, I will be praying for you and your family. As our family grows, it seems the journey gets more emotional. Love you and will be holding you all before our Father in Heaven. Thanks for your constant encouragement to me even in your hard season.

  3. Shalom, my friend. May the peace of God be with you.

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