14 Nov 2012

For when you’re sinking in fear

Fear can feel a lot like quicksand.

It occurs to me late at night as I lie in bed and sigh and roll and shift and think about that last chapter I wrote and what words are missing and what words need to be cut right out. Peter is spread out in the exact same position as his four-year-old son lying on the floor next to our bed. Both of them heaved on their backs with right arm splayed out behind their heads.

I’ve been trudging forward and not moving all day on Monday. There’s a running list exhausting my head, there is a global webcast I’m editing content for, there’s a countdown to connecting women (in) real life that I’m dreaming about, and my creativity won’t come out to play because all this fear is getting in the way. Most of the morning I’d spent flailing and panicking and getting absolutely no where except caught deeper in this fear I can’t swallow past.

Quicksand I think.

In my boys’ favorite travel guide The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook they share this on how to escape from quicksand:

  1. When walking in quicksand country, carry a stout pole- it will help you get out should you need to.
  2. As soon as you start to sink, lay the pole on the surface of the quicksand.
  3. Flop onto your back on top of the pole. Place the pole at a right angle from your spine to keep your hips afloat.

Did you get that last point? They advise you to lie down on top of the quicksand. Not to try and run away. Not to try and pull yourself out. Not to struggle. But to surrender and be still.

4. After a minute or two, equilibrium in the quicksand will be achieved, and you will no longer sink.

Your body a right-angled cross with that sturdy walking stick will float on top of the panicked sand.

I need a stout pole. This is quicksand country.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
~Edward Mote



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Encouragement and useful information all at the same time. Thank you for dreaming those God-sized dreams that so many of us get to enjoy after they are fleshed out into reality.

  2. 2

    Yes!!! I love this. Prayers for you today friend.

  3. 3

    Dear Ms. Lisa, your words have boosted me more times than I can count. So today I pray that God will help you write some more -to get just the perfect words down on the page so we can all get more of a glimpse of his glory through you.

    Much love,

  4. 4

    I have never thought of fear as being like quicksand. I can see that. We sink into those thoughts of fear, meditate on them & then that creates more fear. It’s a cycle. I wrote on Holley’s blog & said that God was bringing me to a place where I just start doing things afraid. He’s teaching me to lay down fears & trust that He will bring about His desired purpose. I just need to following His leading.

  5. 5

    This was buoying. Maybe it’s the old adage of misery loves company. Or maybe it’s the everlasting, inexplicable mystery of the Gospel that buoys my soul through your words. Whatever it is, thank you for letting us walk alongside you in this journey….or lay next to you in our own proverbial sea of quicksand. You are a gift, my friend.

  6. 6

    Your post made me cry. After so many years of suffering from severe anxiety I try so hard to keep fear at bay. For me the quicksand catches up with me when my daughter is napping and my son is asleep in my arms. I worry about my husband, our finances (will he get severely depressed again? How are we ever going to pay off the student loans? Will we be able to afford next year’s health insurance premium?), if I should return to work, will we have another baby?; the list goes on and on from the mundane to the ridiculous.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand,
    Thanks for the reminder.

  7. 7

    Dreams aren’t for the faint of heart are they? Love the way God speaks to you through your kids books. He uses whatever will speak to us, even a children’s book when we are tired and weary.

  8. 8

    I’m so glad you’ve surrendered to it, b/c your words -even in quicksand- are so very inspiring and more often than not *exactly* what I’m thinking myself and haven’t been able to articulate. I know I have a lot to learn from you.

  9. 9

    Praying for you as you are still!! Your words are beautiful and touch so many…don’t be afrad!

  10. 11

    I SO needed to hear that today. Thank you!

  11. 12

    I’ve never thought about laying on top of quicksand, surrendering and being still. I love your words here. Too often I struggle to get out of a situation, or accomplish something in my own strength. He is able. We simply need to rest. Praying He will give you the words.

  12. 13

    This kind of goes with the principal of self compassion to let yourself feel the fear and just sit with it. Lean in. The time will pass, and before you know you’ll be remembering all these things that are stressing you now.

  13. 14

    Oh, this was so good. Thank you. I needed to hear it today. One of my favorite of your posts ever.

  14. 15

    Praying down the fear, (yours and mine) that you’d be able to get the work done, that you’d feel the strength of Christ and the joy of serving Him through the work.

    Lord, fill Lisa-Jo, leaving no room for anything but pure truth, that you have called her, that she is able and worthy because you make her so. Let the words and work come steady, without reservation or hesitancy–let your peace reign, let her conquer in your name, Jesus. Amen! Xxxoooo love you, girlfriend.

  15. 16

    Absolutely marvelous! I needed this today, so thank you, friend.

  16. 17

    Good, practical lesson.
    Love how you end it … with a praise.

  17. 18

    Trying to find my walking stick to hold me upright until my equilibrium returns! Thank you for this viewpoint.

  18. 19

    Oh. Lay down in shape of a cross & be still. Quit fighting it. … When we struggle to fight, we just dig ourselves in further. {sigh} Such a simple concept, yet so difficult to remember.

    Thank you so much for having your ears & heart open to Him and relaying such an important message. Be still in Him. I know this. I just keep forgetting. Fighting tears of relief.

  19. 20

    Oh yes. Quicksand. Everytime I sit down to write… if I am writing with the goal of publishing… I freeze up and tell myself I can’t do it. That is EXACTLY what it feels like!

  20. 21

    “Be still and surrender…’ I have cried and prayed and sought His face for that answer…your sons could’ve pointed it out to me in the pages of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook…two things to take away from reading this…
    and a little child shall lead them…
    God uses many media to send the message…
    oh, make that three…
    be still and surrender. Thank you.
    Peace and good to you,

  21. 22

    ah, yes…love how the Cross saves us every.time….praying God gives you words and peace, Lisa-Jo :)

  22. 24

    LOVE this!! To pieces.

  23. 25

    Praying for you, sister. I am going to crawl right on top of that quicksand myself, now. Thank you.

  24. 26

    I think some of my very favorite solutions are those which are so counter-intuitive, and that also require us to do something that feels like it will take us even closer to that which we fear.

    While very few of us will probably ever encounter real quicksand, you are right, there is plenty of it in our regular lives. I am sitting here laughing at a mental image of all us women lying on the floors of our kitchens, offices, and even grocery stores as we grow still to get past the fear, and the looks of people as they walk around and over us.

    Thanks for your encouraging story, Lisa-Jo!

  25. 27

    Don’t you just love when the best lessons come from kids’ books…or from your children themselves? What a lovely picture of surrender. Thank you.


  1. […] my kids have given up trying to understand most of what I’ve said this week. :-) Go read the post and you will understand much better what I couldn’t get […]

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