You Are More Than You Know, Moving from a fear-based life to faith-based freedom is a journey that takes time and courage. While remaining scared and small can feel comfortable, taking hold of strength and determination opens our eyes to a measure of the Lord's goodness we've never seen. In You Are More Than You Know, Patsy's trademark humor spills out as she answers the question she is most often asked-How did you overcome your own debilitating fears?-and along the way helps readers face their own anxieties, dismay, worries, and despair. Through honest and intimate glimpses into a heart changed by the power of hope, this book is a guide for the journey to find more of you… and much more of what God has for you.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Patsy is a best-selling author and has written books in several genres, including devotional, fiction, children’s, and gift offerings. She is one of the founding speakers at Women of Faith and trains people for the platform. Patsy has spoken to millions of women (and men) offering spiritual and emotional hope. She and her husband, Les, live in Franklin, Tennessee. They have two sons, two spunky grandsons, and one highly-opinionated granddog, Sammie.
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You Are More Than You Know
Face Your Fears, Find Your Strengths
By Patsy Clairmont
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2015 Patsy Clairmont
All rights reserved.
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe.
—A. A. Milne
I thought learning to ride my new bicycle would be facing my greatest fear. I was nine years old and it was tall and I was not. While reluctant to initiate actual moving contact with my bike I was overjoyed to receive it. But then it's one thing to have something in one's possession and another to own it in the sense you actively embrace its purpose. I dreamt about it though. In my dreams I beat all the neighborhood kids in speed races while my ponytail stood straight out behind me like a raccoon's tail in gale force winds. Truth, though, was my legs were short—which prevented any official speed records because I was too busy trying to keep the metal contraption upright while my ponytail slapped me silly as I gyrated from side to side. Eventually I conquered my fear of falling by learning to toe-tap the petals as they spun, which kept the bicycle moving fast enough to keep it and me from crashing.
Life soon taught me much bigger lessons about fear and falling as I felt like a flea perched on the edge of an eagle's wing swooping above Kilimanjaro. In reality though, all five feet of me was tucked inside a basket held aloft by hot air (not mine) that pulsated inside a balloon suspended over the Maasai Mara in Africa. Below us, elephants stampeded. Honest. I really couldn't make this up. Not about me.
If you had known me as a young adult, you would not have believed that I, Ms. Anxiety, would allow myself to be put in that kind of intimidating scene. Ever! Oh, who am I kidding? If you had met me last week you would have been suspicious! I tend to be skittish and verbal about heights and falling. Besides, I'm resistant to handing over the "steering wheel" of my life to anyone.
And get this: When I asked the hot-air-man, who was steering the wicker crate, what his name was, he replied, "Moses."
"Moses!" I squealed. "You've got to be kidding! Why, you didn't even make it to the Promised Land and you're driving my basket?"
To which he announced, "We will be crashing soon."
Oh, yes he did.
"Listen, Mo, don't say the word crash even as a joke," I insisted.
"Oh, it's no joke," he assured me. "We have little to no control when the basket collides with the earth. We just bounce along with it until it comes to a stop." A wry grin seemed to catch the edge of his mouth, as though Moses enjoyed this information.(It seemed to me as though this data should have been offered to the participants prior to boarding.)
Any man who will say the words crash and collide to a former agoraphobic as we dangle in mid-air obviously has abandonment issues and was left far too long to bob about in the Nile. It suddenly occurred to me that all that separated me from a free fall were a few ropes and a deflatable balloon.
A vivid picture of us landing amidst a hungry pride of lions and being pounced upon filled the screen of my mind. Fear does that. It rushes in and paints boldly on our vulnerability in hopes we'll subscribe to fear's next scary edition.
And my reaction might have been more inflated, if there had been time. Except suddenly, as Moses had predicted, we crashed and bounced until we skidded to a stop. Quite jarring. We crawled out. No lions in sight. There was just a distant herd of great horned beasts and a skulking hyena who surveyed our arrival with disdain.
Once my feet were planted on terra firma where I felt a tad more in control, I liked Balloon-Moses way better. But then I've always been drawn to Moses. Not the hot air one, but the wilderness Moses. The Bible one who, against all odds and his own wild fears, lived to view the Promised Land.
It is through the rigors of God's people and the frailty of their humanity, that we will take our own skittering pulse. Because, lets face it, life can be scary. 9/11 scary. Tornado scary. Pain scary. Job-loss scary. War scary. Death scary. Yada, yada scary.
And it's the "yada, yada" fears I want to focus on—those that loom large in our eyes, or even the ones we cannot see yet. The unfamiliar noise in the night, the breaking-news report, the approaching-storm warnings, the aging process, etc. It's my belief and experience that if we can handle the daily fears, we will be better prepared to deal with the more profound fears. Although any little fear can potentially morph into a biggie when we are in the struggle. Symptoms tend to magnify their threat via emotional intensity conveying danger in the moment.
Like the time I was at a friend's house in the Deep South ... think Texas deep. I was walking through the kitchen when I realized there was a sizable scorpion on the wall. Yes, a scorpion. How do you spell s-c-r-e-a-m?
My hosts had retired for the evening several hours prior, so to actually scream seemed inappropriate, if not ungrateful. Packing my bags and calling a cab was an option, but my dilemma was they had two young children and I felt responsible to do something with this hostile critter so that they were not left in harm's way. While I don't have arachnophobia (fear of spiders), neither do I have warm fuzzies for anything that can send me rushing to the nearest emergency room.
In the "moment," that Texas creepy crawler appeared to be the size of a dinner plate and its arched tail looked like a cannon. I searched about looking for a weapon. I thought, Dynamite ... shotgun ... jackhammer. But all I could find was a mason jar, a paper plate, and a coffee cup. Then I had a come-to-Jesus talk with myself, followed by some mental cheerleading. "C'mon, honey, you are way bigger than him. Weigh bigger!" Yes, I meant to spell it that way. "You can do this!" I said in a whimper.
My hands were shaking, my heart was doing the butterfly stroke, and sweat had reached the top of my knee socks. Then suddenly I reacted. I trapped him with the jar against the wall, scraped him down inside the jar with the plate, and covered the jar with the plate, setting the coffee cup on top as an anchor.
Well ... almost.
My body wasn't finished reacting. My heart ricocheted off my tonsils, my body tremors vibrated my headscarf, and my socks squished with each step I took. I double-checked my prisoner—okay, triple-checked—to reassure myself of its secure entrapment and then went to bed. That night I awoke frequently to check the walls and my bed for creepy crawlers.
The next morning I anticipated a medal from my hosts for my heroic combat, but instead I got a shrug and a smile. Seems scorpions are no big deal when you face the enemy on a regular basis. (FYI: I'm almost certain someone had shrunk the scorpion ... he didn't look anywhere near as gargantuan in the light of day. And the cannon on his rear-end had shriveled into a derringer.)
I didn't know when I first saw the scorpion that I could handle him all by myself. In fact, I was certain I couldn't. And I wouldn't have tried if I could have figured another way out. But what a relief afterward when I realized I did it.
Little me tackled a new fear and won. I had more courage than I knew.
As I said, while I am not arachnophobic, I was an agoraphobic—afraid of open spaces and crowds of people. Although I would argue that by the time I was housebound I had collected many more fears than just spaces and people ... fears that short-circuited my freedom and fried my reasoning skills.
I was afraid of doctors, hospitals, medicine, elevators, heights, tunnels, bridges, people's opinions, just to name a few. Fear does to us what I did to the scorpion ... it traps us and makes our world smaller. And then it sends scary messages to our brain, setting off seismic physical reactions, which have the potential of creating an environment of internal terror.
Here's the good news: Just as there is a way into the cycle of paralyzing fear, there is a way out of the intimidating labyrinth.
Fear suggests that it came on suddenly when actually it's been setting up housekeeping inside of us most of our lives. Satan has just been waiting for a situation where he would catch us off guard and set off fear explosives.
If you are bound up in fear that keeps you from living life to its fullest, I want to say that it is possible to one day go on safarito a far land, dangle in a hot-air balloon over stampeding animals, and lasso scorpions as a pastime.
You may be thinking, I'd be happy to just be more functional with the freedom to come and go in my life without the shadowed companion of anxiety in tow. I understand. I remember when my prayer was to simply get to the grocery store and back home again without a panic attack.
I couldn't imagine how delicious freedom would be, how wide the door would open, or how far around the globe it would take me. I didn't know ... God's expansive heart.
Was it (recovery) fast? Nope. Was it easy? Not for moi. Has it been worth it? Oh, glorious world and darling people, yes, yes, yes!
Oh, wait ... am I saying I never have to battle my way through anxiety? Of course not. But therein lies the liberty ... now I know how. It doesn't trap me or hold me prisoner as it once did. Nor does it threaten me with isolation and incrimination.
The reason is that I discovered the startling truth: We are more because God is more than we can even imagine ... and He created us with unending potential.
As we grow stronger mentally, it helps us to balance emotionally. And while it is a journey toward mental, emotional, and social harmony, gratefully there are many spectacular views along the path whether pedaling on our bike, in an aerial basket, or afoot. As we take hold of this understanding, we become calmer, hopeful, and much more joyful.
We are a virtual surprise party waiting to celebrate. Just about the time we think we know ourselves, we do or say something that startles or even impresses us. Right?
It's because we are more than we know. (Yes, I'll be saying this often.) I believe if we can grasp even a speck of God's greatness it will free us from fighting for control wherever we find ourselves.
Deliberate on ...
"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36 NASB).
What promotes your inner harmony? (e.g., music, quiet, certain people)
Do you believe you are more than you know? (e.g., braver, smarter, sturdier)
In your words, describe God's expansive heart.CHAPTER 2
Okay Queenie, Hand Over the Scepter!
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
—Thomas à Kempis
Control is such a stir stick. We think, if we have it, we will feel safer, steadier, and saner so we fight for it like our kingdom depends on it. But truth is, in this life, we are in control of very little.
For instance, take ... the weather, the economy, our health, people's opinions, their actions, traffic (eek!), history, hormones (double eek!), tomorrow, ten minutes ago, etc. See what I mean?
Life is unruly. Like my hair, which has thinned, fuzzed up, and turned many shades of white and gray with streaks of blonde and brown. Good gravy, Gertie, what's that about?
My mom lived to be eighty-eight and her hair was a sandy blonde, period. My grandmother who lived to be ninety-seven had gray hair, end of story. While mine is a wad of indecision, like the price of real estate.
And real estate is what we are after with our control issues ... right? We want to know that our kingdom is under our reign. We want to have the ultimate say-so over our acre of life. We'd appreciate some royal respect and acknowledgement when we raise our scepter.
In my twenties, I tried desperately to regain a sense of being in charge of my acre after experiencing a series of panic attacks. Try as I might, though, I continued to feel intimidated and threatened by almost everything and everyone. These feelings did not align themselves with royalty.
I was hyper-vigilant, concerned someone or something would push a hidden button that would trigger panic in me. I didn't understand what was making my body turn against me nor did I know how to make peace with my taunt emotions. So I withdrew from society and took refuge in my home and eventually my bed. I felt as if I were in exile.
A panic attack causes adrenaline to shoot through our bodies like a high-speed sprinkler system, which puts us into both flight and fright reactions. Our heart pounds, our body has tremors, our eyes lose focus, we break out in sweats, we feel nauseous, we struggle to breathe, and our thoughts spin. And that's just for openers.
It took me years before I figured out what I'm about to tell you. Maybe I wasn't ready until then for the personal responsibility it would require of me. I'm not sure. But one thing I know, when I learned this truth, it saved me from a life of acute anxiety.
Here it is ... God created our will to be stronger than our emotions, so that when our feelings are unreasonable, inaccurate, or out of control, we don't have to become a victim of their intensity. We can choose to be brave and take deliberate steps toward health and balance.
Our Creator designed us with a will so we can override our frenzied feelings and set our mind to live the best version of who he intended us to be. Yes, even in the midst of emotional and mental derision. Not as queens but as servants.
That is a simple truth, but it becomes difficult to execute during an inner, symptom-ridden, emotional tirade. Believe me, I know. I remember when anxiety episodes caused my hands to shake with tremors, my eyes would lose focus, and my breaths came in short gasps. At that point, my skimpy determination would fizzle and fear would escalate.
Determination to be well is a good place to begin change, but that alone is not enough. It needs to be backed up with a mental and emotional plan that aligns itself with God's counsel.
The truth is, we can do it. Honest. Ask me. I'm the girl who went from a vow to spend my life hiding in my bed to eventually become the woman who has hot-footed it back and forth across America and beyond for almost four decades speaking to literally millions of women.
I am a member of five airlines' frequent flyer clubs. I'm a Flying Colonel on one airline and a two-million-mile card holder on another. The point is, I get around.
So I believe it is possible to discover a plan that will allow you to lead a life full of meaning and adventure. For me, it didn't happen all at once.
And emotional sticky wickets.
At least that's what it felt like when I was involved in the demanding work of getting well. For me it was the hardest work I had ever done. I found that to override unhealthy emotions takes focus, determination, and energy. It also takes the help of others. We weren't meant to do this life alone.
Let me say, practice matters when implementing a new survival plan. Progress matters as well, because it's a way to measure our success of implementing our strategies. But watch out for the stumbling block of perfection.
Satan is a rock thrower bent on our ruination, and the rock of perfectionism is one of his favorite projectiles to hurl. He knows that when it hits, it will bruise and lacerate us with shame, discouragement, and hopelessness.
Satan does not fight fair. His intention is our destruction. His language is lies. Carefully crafted lies to fit inside our vulnerability.
But God is invested in our ongoing welfare. He speaks of peace, love, and "more." So to live in God's provision of inner resting places, and to not be seduced, deceived, or intimidated by the enemy, we have to be savvy to God's counsel and how to integrate it into our lives. Conquering fear is our God-given right. He empowers us to win.
The reason we are more than we know is because God is greater than we can imagine.
Read that again.
It's the last half of that sentence—because God is greater than we can imagine—that we need to lean into before we can embrace the first half. Otherwise we think we are the big deal, which is ego-hype that sets us up for a fall. But understand that it is the greatness of our God and his generosity that gives us worth, meaning, and a powerful future, and it is Christ who carries us even in our weakness.
God is in control. Isn't that a relief ... at least most of the time? Like managing the solar system, maintaining the earth's alignment, and lighting the stars? Yes, I think we'd all agree that he who created the heavens and the earth should also manage them. But the closer his control comes to our life—especially when it's going differently than we imagined—the more we tend to react against it. It's not easy to release our grip on our imaginary scepter.
Let's face it ... it's hard to let go. Let go of fears, offenses, children, unfulfilled dreams, youth, health, influence, perceived rights, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Oh, the endlessness of et cetera!
Excerpted from You Are More Than You Know by Patsy Clairmont. Copyright © 2015 Patsy Clairmont. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Boo! 1
Chapter 1 Keep Pedaling 11
Chapter 2 Okay Queenie, Hand Over the Scepter! 23
Chapter 3 Mother, May I…? 37
Chapter 4 The Gift of Denial 51
Chapter 5 Taskmaster Friend 63
Chapter 6 Boundaries 79
Chapter 7 Hole in Your Bucket 95
Chapter 8 Basket Case 107
Chapter 9 Spring Thaw 119
Chapter 10 Welcome Home, Joy 137
Chapter 11 Sizzle 149
Conclusion: Rowdy 165
The Lord Will Be Your Confidence 171
Soothe Yourself 173
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought You Are More Than You Know: Face Your Fears, Grow Stronger was great! It was full of humor with excellent advice. I really needed to read this book. I will be looking for more books by Patsy Clairmont. I highly recommend this book as it is true inspiration. 5+ stars