Category Archives: fear

Start book cover by Jon Acuff

Finding Awesome {Book Review – Start by Jon Acuff}

Let me preface this post by saying I currently don’t have a desire to switch “jobs.” I’m home with my children, and I love it. But, I do have dreams–some with my children, and some alongside my children. And I can decide, even in parenting, if I want to trudge down the road of average or take the trail to the awesome.

“…the best map in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you are.” – p. 9, Start

Start book cover by Jon Acuff Start by Jon Acuff invites readers to “punch fear the face, escape average, do work that matters.” Some of you may know Jon from the hilariously honest (and insightful) Christian satire blog, Stuff Christians Like. Or maybe you read his business book, Quitter. (My husband is listening to the audiobook version of Quitter right now, thanks to an awesome NoiseTrade freebie a few weeks ago.)

Even if you’ve never read any of Jon’s writings before, if you have—or ever had—a dream or purpose (and if you’re reading this, you’re alive and you have a purpose), you’ll be interested in reading Start.

Start is a bit like a travel guide on the best adventure you’ve ever taken (you know, life) through the lands of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. Everyone travels through these lands, though each of our journeys looks different than the next person’s. We also can be in multiple lands at once, and often (and should) travel between these lands. (Jon explains this better in the book, I promise.)

Every step along the way, fear and doubt threaten to scare us back to living an “average” life, but we can always fight back. No matter where we are in our journey toward awesome, as Jon says, action always beats intention. We keep moving, we keep dreaming, we keep working hard.

Somehow Jon manages to logically explain the road to awesome while also telling you that you might have to ignore instances of logic in favor of unrelenting hustle to pursue awesome. This book is sure to clarify that not everyone will work his or her “one dream job.” In fact, we may have multiple dreams and our finish on each of those dreams might (will!) look differently than we could ever have imagined.

“The starting line is the only line you completely control. The start is the only moment you’re the boss of. The finish? Don’t kid yourself. That’s months, if not years, away.” – p. 28, Start

The section in Chapter 3 on ignoring those lying internal voices of fear and doubt really, well… spoke to me. If you’re not looking for a dream job, these chapters will still inspire you in other areas of your life. Much of what Jon writes is motivational, but he also includes very practical, applicable tips to start using today.

Start by Jon Acuff

Jon is not just a humorous writer, but a good one, too. (Any “Serious Wednesday” post on Stuff Christians Life can support that statement.) I seriously laughed out loud on page 1, and I uttered many an introspective “huh” throughout the chapters. He’s open about his own failures, and he includes a variety of stories from others to help readers envision what their own awesome start might look like. Jon writes from a foundation of faith, and you can tell his intention and action stem from knowing God as Creator.

After reading about “doing the reps” and “action payments” in the “Harvesting” chapter, I see again how my parenting choices can be choices of “awesome” or “average,” too.

  • Awesome is doing the “reps” of reading the same book five times in a row because it shows my son how much I care and his value to me.
  • Awesome is taking the harder, more time-consuming route of teaching my children specific skills (rather than me doing it myself) because it prepares my children to serve and bless others.
  • Awesome is not just making great lesson plans for homeschool, but acting and completing them because it guides my children’s development and supports my son’s therapies.
  • Awesome is getting as outwardly excited as my kids do (even when I’m exhausted) when my husband comes home because it’s another way to show my husband he matters.

Simple actions, but with exponential results. Plus, there’s so many ways to be awesome in being intentional in my faith, with my time, in my writing, and more. Reading Start reaffirms I’m on my road to awesome. I just need to keep walking and not just sidetracked by “ladders of entitlement” or lures of fear.

We can apply Start’s advice to many areas of life. Want to gain fitness? You gotta start. Want to control overflowing dishes? Action always beats intention.

Start by Jon Acuff

I love what’s written in this book so much, I actually wrote in it. (I usually cringe at writing in books.) Check out Start, read it, and then… start. See some more of my favorite quotes from Start here, here, here, here, and here.

What are you afraid to start? How have you punched fear in the face before?

Disclosure: I’m on the launch team for Start, and received a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review. But, I also purchased a hardcover copy (to get the awesome pre-order deals and because I love physical books), so that shows how I feel about the book. Regardless, all opinions expressed are my own.

Battling Our Fears with Hope

Do you struggle with fear? I have since I was at least 8 years old.


We know God doesn’t want us to fear, so how do we kick it out?

I’m extremely excited to have a post up at HelloMornings today discussing how to battle our fears. Through the Abounding Hope study we’ve been doing with HelloMornings, I’m remembering God’s love and grace and how His presence leaves no room for fear.

Join me at HelloMornings today. I’d love to hear your favorite verses for battling fear and pray for each other there. Click here to access the article.

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back for another Five Minute Friday (with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama) adventure!

A time where we meet to “just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.” Five minutes of writing with no editing or backtracking!

This week’s prompt: “Good-Bye…

All this that I fear – losing these blessings, shirking time by being unintentional, failing again. All this fear? It’s all because I fear saying good-bye.
But what I really want is to say good-bye to fear.
To listen to those words of “Do not be afraid” and only step forward in full, trusting faith. A mother Mary-like faith. A faith without fear.
To go through this life knowing that, yes, bad things do happen. And some bad things I can’t stop. But, still I can kick this fear out without a standing invitation to return.
Word Doodle from (and in memory of)
the amazing Gitzen Girl
But, for some reason (or many reasons), I have to say good-bye again and again and again to that fear. Why isn’t just once enough?
But until the day we reach perfection, I will say good-bye again to fear. See you, Fear. I don’t need you and I don’t want you. I want Trust and Faith instead. Trust and Faith, those children of Love.



And Personification showed up today. (See how I personified “personification” there? Ha ha. Ha.)

Join in on the Five Minute Friday fun and read other amazing posts!

Questions for you: Will you help me kick fear out today? What do you say good-bye to today?

*Side note: Ever think about training for a 5k? I shared some tips and encouragement for training for a 5k together as a family over at The Homeschool Village earlier this week! Come by and let me know your thoughts.

Five Minute Friday: Trust

It’s Friday, and Friday means it’s time again for Five Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama.

A time where we meet to “just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.” Five minutes of writing with no editing or backtracking! (That’s hard!)

This week’s prompt: Trust…


Trust and fear – these act opposite of each other. I cannot live in fear at the exact same time I constantly trust the God who looks out for all of His children. 

When I fear, I am not trusting in that moment. 

But trust does not mean everything will always be perfect, happy, easy, painless. It’s through the sufferings we need to trust the most. 

God does not promise struggle-free. In fact, He tells us we will need perseverance. Why would we be called to persevere if there wasn’t any trouble or challenge to endure through?


I fear big and little things – not getting enough of my to-do list done, saying the wrong thing, devastating medical test results, failing Him utterly. But these are the things God asked me to trust in Him throughout. 

To trust not that these struggles will disappear when I want them to or even in this life, but to trust that He offers the most solid hope throughout it all and loves regardless and evermore. 


Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – 1 Peter 5:6-10


Wow, that five minutes felt fast. Join in on the Five Minute fun at The Gypsy Mama’s, won’t you?

Question for you: How do you trust regardless? 

Five Minute Friday: Grow

It’s time again for Five Minute Friday, hosted by Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama! A time where we meet to “just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.” Five minutes of writing with no editing or backtracking! (That’s hard!)

This week’s prompt: Grow…


Do we ever stop growing?

I have no desire to stop growing in knowledge of God, growing in love, growing in spiritual maturity.

But days roll by when I feel unable to grow. Or rather fail to grow.

Fear inhibits growth, except perhaps to grow more fear. So it might be better to say that fear grows what we do not want. Fear grows insecurity, distrust, and walls. Fear can even grow hatred.

Fear induces growth in the opposite direction of God.

I can grow fear. That’s easy, really. But it’s not what I want.

Image from
So, what do I do? I have to, must (imperative!) turn to Him who grows all goodness.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Turn to our always-loving God who desires and causes me to mature into the likeness for which we created, the image of Love.

“…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27


It seems fear is a topic on my heart lately. Join in on the Five Minute fun over at The Gypsy Mama and read other amazing posts!

Question for you: How are you growing these days?