Tag Archives: anxiety

Face Time Podcast Episode 002: Striving for Perfection with Mary Carlisle Crehore

Today Mary Carlisle Crehore from the RUF campus ministry at the University of Texas is with me as my second Face Time podcast guest. She knows well the pressure to be perfect – the same goal so many teen and college girls are striving to attain. But Mary Carlisle can now reflect back on her years in high school and as a Vanderbilt University student to see the self-imposed standards she was living under for what they were. You will hear her talk honestly about the shame she carried, and the anxiety and fear that stole peace from her in the quest for perfection.

In case you missed the first episode with Martha Kate Stainsby on trying to be good enough as it relates to self-worth, body image and eating disorders you can listen to it: here. The idea behind each of these podcasts is to share the stories of young adult women who endured past struggled with various issues common to teen girls.

I hope for the parent listener and for the teenager, you will glean insight into the mindset (or the root) underneath these struggles as you listen to my guests discuss the lies they were believing about themselves and how they tried to secure an identity in false ways. And then as you hear how the reorienting truth of who Jesus is broke into their hearts, my prayer is you will feel better equipped and hope-filled to speak the gospel into the heart of your daughter or to yourself.

Thank you, Mary Carlisle, for sharing your story!

Show Notes:

  • To learn more about RUF, the college ministry Mary Carlisle was apart of as a college student and now as an intern go to: RUF.org
  • The favorite book referenced by Mary Carlisle is: Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin
  • Scripture references for further reflection: Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 139
Mary Carlisle is from Charlotte, NC, graduated from Vanderbilt University, and now lives in Austin, TX as an RUF Intern at the University of Texas. She spends her days being outdoors as much as possible, running perpetually 10 minutes late, dancing in the car, getting excited about puppies and hanging with students and pizza. Her life goals are to love God and people more than she loves herself and to love the parts of herself and others that she finds unlovable (which will probably take her whole life). She loves to sail and gather around tables with friends and eat delicious food.

Peace for Control Freaks Like Me!

My son pulled a desk out of a classroom and into the hall so we could hang his posters for this week’s Student Council election. There was limited space on the wall in between the other creative signs of hopeful candidates and I wanted my son’s poster centered in a prime spot.

I’m so proud of him for putting himself out there to run, but my mama bear instincts want to protect him from feeling like a failure if his bid for Freshman Senator comes up short, and with so many eighth graders running for only two spots it will be tough. Of course as his mom I know exactly why he would be best and this would be best for him:) but I have no control (or even the right to vote)!

This issue of control, and wrestling with it, keeps popping up in seemingly every circumstance lately and sprinkled throughout multiple conversations and even in my husband’s sermon last week. I know this is not by coincidence. When this happens it is clearly God signaling for my attention.

The rhetorical question of Romans 8:31 is this: “If God is in control who can be against you?”

If the answer is no one, why do we act as our own worst enemy by pitting ourselves against God for control? Instead of trusting his provision, timing, protection and ultimately the working out of his good and perfect plan, we buck up against God’s rule in our own vain attempt to usurp his power and take control.

So on one hand I believe he is in control of all things, yet my self-talk, fear and worry convince me otherwise. How foolish, especially considering I know his character and have seen his faithfulness to me in the past (and again just last week in answering our prayers for a specific college roommate for our daughter)! But not only am I just like Eve who thought God was holding out on her, I’m like the Israelites, who over and over again decried God’s goodness and believed their ways were best.

I know we don’t think of ‘trying to control’ as sin but it is, just as our anxiety and fear can be too. This is because everytime we turn away from God  and fix our eyes on self we are trying to throw off his rule to be our own god.

Most often my attempt to control comes out in the form of nagging my daughter. It’s easy to justify my constant barrage of reminders as helping her keep things from falling through the cracks. But if something does fall through the cracks or she misses an assignment or doesn’t pick up her messy room, aren’t God’s ways better? Won’t he use it to teach and grow her without my “help!” 

Ugh! We are all control-freaks in some way or another. Trying to control other people, others’ opinions, circumstances, time, our day, our image, our health, food, finances, the future, an outcome… No wonder we are filled with so much anxiety!

Philippians 4:4-7 shows us another way, a better way:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

There is a connection here between rejoicing in the Lord (giving thanks and finding joy) and deep-seeded peace. A connection between being level-headedness and not worrying.  

Ding. Ding. Ligh bulb moment!

If this is true, our minds consumed with trying control and our hearts filled with fear keeps us from experiencing peace and joy. Which means – we need to let go of control, but how? 

The answer I believe is found in what follows in Philippians 4:8-9…

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… (P)ractice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Lord, help me put these things into practice by dwelling on who you are for me so that when I feel out of control I may rest in you instead of running to my own resources as a means to gain control.

Past posts on control: Turning over the Keys {Because we lack control anyway} and Control Queen Alert

‘A Heart Set Free’ Book Review & Giveaway!

My heart feels like a tornado has torn through it as I have been weeding through various emotions the past few days. So it’s fitting that the weather outside here in Oklahoma is brewing and fitting my friend Christina Fox‘s newly released book, A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament on dealing with our emotions is what I just read.

I would prefer an escape about right now and I know for most of us the very onset of emotions pertaining to worry, fear, anxiety, shame, grief, sorrow and despair make us want to hide or fast-forward. Therefore when they do bubble up in our hearts we try to stuff them away as best we can, pretending all is well by giving a postivite spin or dishonest answer to the things that aren’t so.

In A Heart Set Free the author helps us understand why we have a hard time truthfully acknowledging what is really going on in our hearts and why it is okay, and actually good, to allow ourselves to remain in hard emotional places. The book of Psalms shows us this as we read the “heart cries of real people who went through real struggles and real trials.” These were people who did not sugar-coat their problems, nor did they stuff them or try to fix it themselves.  Instead they turned to God in the most intense moments of doubt, anger, sorrow, despair, fear and brokenness. And so should we.

God is big enough for our every emotion and even our questioning of Him. His desire is for us to pray our pain and to come to Him in dependence of Him, even when we are angry at Him. So I love that through the Psalms of lament we are given a blueprint of how to come to God in the midst of our emotions, not just “for the sake of catharsis” but with the end goal of bringing about a deeper worship and trust in the Lord. Even when the world feels like it is crashing down all around us.

To see the pattern developed through the flow of the psalms the author walks us through several laments and encourages us at the end of each chapter to work through others on our own.  Over and over again what starts out as cries of desperation, confusion and abandonment gives way to hope and praise. But this is not the path where our emotions will naturally lead us apart from knowing who God is and remembering His truths.

What usually happens instead is our emotions dictate our self-talk and lead us deeper into despair. That is why we must fill our minds with the truths about God. When we are reminded of who He is, even in the midst of darkness peace that surpasses understanding can invade our hearts and transform our emotions.

So though reading this book and learning to follow the structure of the laments will not insulate you from feeling pain, by God’s grace it will help you learn where to take your every emotion so you can move to a place of worship and joy in all seasons. And even today as I wrestle with my own feelings after having read this book I found myself praying my own lament and turning to the Psalms for comfort.

How thankful I am my hope is found in something more sure than my own temporal happiness or ability to control.  Thankful our hope is found in the One who became the Man of Sorrows and suffered for us so He could identify and enter in to our every sorrow, suffering and suffocating emotion.

If you would enjoy a free copy of this book, I have one to give away. The winner will be notified by email after a random selection on Saturday so please click on the link below to follow the instructions for leaving a comment following the prompt and your email address!


To order your own copy, your link straight to Amazon is here.