Milk and Honey Magazine's secret to unlocking fears: trusting Christ! Article on author Scarlet Hiltibidal's new book!

No Longer Afraid

M&H Staff

What does the gospel say about your fears? What does it say about the irrational ones, like sinkholes in the Target parking lot? How does it speak to the rational ones, like pet scan predictions? And does the gospel have a word for the fears you feel you'll have for life, like the possibility of losing the one you love most?

The darling Scarlet Hiltibidal recently wrote a book, Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For, diving into our fears – specifically focused on how the Gospel overcomes them all! 

Growing up in the green room of SNL, being born to a fire-eater and adopted by a SWAT cop, having internal organs explode, and adopting a deaf girl from China, Scarlet Hiltibidal has been given some different life experiences—and lived in fear through most of them. Through this, she realized that though she can't fix herself or protect herself, Jesus walked into this broken, sad, scary place to rescue, love, and cast out her—and your—fear.

Let's get to know Scarlet!

Why did you decide to write a book on fears?

I’ve been writing about my fears since I was in third grade. I actually have a “book” that my mom saved for me. I wrote about myself in the third person on the back of the book: “Scarlet has many ‘trubles’ and ‘alcers.’ Will Scarlet ever overcome her fears? Read the book to find out.” Seriously. :) But I didn’t know Jesus personally then, so it’s just kind of this long list of things that scared me. Some are silly, like a bad haircut. Some are serious, like my parents’ divorce. Anyway, I call that version a dark comedy. I’ve always loved writing, and so I spent years writing about other things and trying to write fiction. But, as I was living life, God was teaching me how to rest in the gospel and bring my fears before Him, rather than being a slave to them. That’s what this book is about. Not a dark comedy, like the one I wrote in third grade, but hopefully funny, and truthful, about God giving me victory over fears I’ve always faced.

How has Christ allowed you to overcome your fears?

About eight years ago, I had a few minutes with a woman who shared what the gospel looks like in her home, and it changed my life. I went through life thinking that Jesus’ death and resurrection was my ticket to heaven, but that I needed to earn His approval every day. Because of this faulty faith I had, I had an underlying anxiety that I was doing Christianity all wrong. This woman I met shared with me that her goal wasn’t to be a perfect person or perfect mom or perfect wife. Her goal was to live the gospel out in her home. She explained what that looked like practically. If she argued with her husband or snapped at her kids, she’d apologize. And then she’d repent, out loud. She’d confess her sin to the Lord and do it in front of her kids,  showing them what it looks like to turn from sin. She suggested that a good life goal was to embrace our weakness and dependence on the Lord rather than try to be good. This idea changed my life. She wasn’t saying “do”; she was saying “done.” She wasn’t saying “you”; she was saying, “Jesus.” Believing this and embracing this — that I could rest in Jesus’ finished work on the cross — has helped me overcome my fears.

Advice for young women placing fear before faith?

I’d say, there’s no way out of your fear without faith. I tried all the other ways. They didn’t work. :) I tried to protect myself. I tried to distract myself. But, fear doesn’t go away when you’re placing your hope in flimsy things. Faith in the reality that Jesus is who He said He was — that He really did defeat death and all the things we’re afraid of — that one day He’ll make all things new … that’s it. That’s what we can count on, and that’s where we can find peace.

Milk and Honey Magazine's secret to unlocking fears: trusting Christ! Article on author Scarlet Hiltibidal's new book!

What do you think Jesus would tell the gals of our generation?

I’m so glad that He left us the Bible so that we don’t have to wonder. I love how it’s timeless and it’s not just a history book or a book of cool stories of God coming through a long time ago. I love that the words He spoke then are completely needed and relevant today. He’d tell young women today to love Him with all their hearts and souls and minds and to love others as they love themselves. He’d tell them to fear not. Because He loves us, and He’s with us, and He has always been enough.  

You mention being a "pretend farmer." What's that all about?

This question made me LOL. Here’s what that’s all about. I married an aspiring country boy. He grew up hunting and fishing and visiting his grandparents who lived “off the land.” He’s always dreamed about living in the country. I was very against it. I grew up in LA, NY, and MIA. But, anyway, here we are. I got the country bug when we visited his grandpa’s land after his grandpa had died. 

We bought a farm last year, and we got chickens and a guard dog and grew some plants, and after a series of unfortunate events, our chickens are gone/dead, our dog is gone (given away because he ate the chickens and went after our neighbors’ chickens), and the garden mostly died. Anyway, now we are a farm with no plants or animals, except one hamster. :) I wouldn’t say the farm has helped me find peace. In the end of my book, I talk about that some. It is definitely more peaceful out here than in the city, but God has been teaching me these past few years that my peace doesn’t come from what’s happening or where I am or what I’m doing. I have peace because Jesus is with me. And I’ve got to keep reminding myself of that truth, because I’m so forgetful. And when I forget that He’s always with me and that He already loves me, I freak out again.

Milk and Honey Magazine's secret to unlocking fears: trusting Christ! Article on author Scarlet Hiltibidal's new book!

Literature God's helped speak to you about overcoming fear?

A big go-to for me is 1 Peter 5:6-7. I used to look only at 1 Peter 5:7, because that one is the “casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” verse, but I’d get stuck, and I’d say, “God, I’m trying. I’m ‘casting’ my anxieties on you, but I’m still scared. What am I doing wrong?” And I realized, what I was doing wrong was that I was only reading the second half of a sentence. If you go back one verse, you see the full sentence. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

So, that’s the key. The first step is to humble yourself. THEN, you are able to cast your anxieties on Him. Practically, for me, this looks like getting onto my actual, physical knees. Not in a ritualistic way, but just to remind myself that I’m weak and needy. It really does help me. Then, I start talking to God out loud, and I tell Him how great He is and I preach the truth to myself and say it to Him and the longer I do that, the more I remember eternity. And it’s so cool. My anxieties start to fade into the background when I remember the hope I have in Jesus. It really works. He’s real and He meets me there in those moments. I have to remember that I’m weak and that I need Him.

Also, I loved the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. It’s about prayer. I started praying differently after I read that. 

As for songs, I like to listen to Seeds Family Worship with my daughters. It’s “kid music,” but it’s all Scripture put to music. I love that. My three-year-old might not understand that she’s singing magic words that are living and active, but they’re getting in her brain, and in mine. They are life-changing and wonderful, and they remind me that I get to do this scary life with the Prince of Peace.

Order Afraid of All Things today! xo