What are you afraid of?

By Michael Agnew
By Zabdi Piña
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By John Hames
By Makenzie Romero
By Caroline Khameneh
By Victoria Renken
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Dawn Johnson
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By Rob Nickell
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By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Justus George
By Lori Kuykendall
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Courtney Grimes
By Jessie Yearwood
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Sandhya Curran
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Alf Laukoter
By Neil Wiersum
By Jim Henry
By Jenn Wright
By Kevin Harwood
By Nandi Roszhart
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Melanie Mechsner
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Catherine & Elizabeth Downing
By Gerald Ridgway
By Jill Hoenig
By Sunitha John
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith
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This is going down as one of the most fearful years on record. There’s a global pandemic that has killed 828,000 people. There’s a recession that has left us with double-digit unemployment. There are racial injustices and unrest in the streets. There are murder hornets, hurricanes, and fire tornadoes. That’s right: fire tornadoes. Look it up.

Last fall, before our problems reached 2020 levels, the home security company ADT released a study that identified America’s most common fears by state. The “research” was little more than a Google report showing which fear-related terms were used most in internet searches. But the results were interesting.

Trypophobia — the fear of holes — had the highest search volume across the board and took the top spot in 11 states. Holes. Oh how young and sheltered we were in 2019.

Fear of public speaking was common last year, as were spiders and flying. In Arkansas and Mississippi, the #1 fear was people, which is believable if you’ve ever met someone from Arkansas or Mississippi. Maine was the only state in the union where they were most afraid of the dark.

Texans’ greatest fear was snakes, which is understandable. The Lone Star State is home to more snake species than any other state except Arizona. In Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, their greatest fear was water, which is unfortunate. Residents in Iowa, Utah, and West Virginia searched most for fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, because they are reasonable, well-adjusted people who know that nothing wholesome ever came from a painted-on smile.

But the three states that caught my eye from the list were California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Those states peeled back their defenses a bit more than the others to reveal something more insidious than a fear of something that might cause physical pain. In those three states, the most-searched fear term was failure.

I get that. I fear failure. I’m 47 and I thought I would have accomplished more by this stage in my life. I fear that I’ve missed too many opportunities. I fear loss of respect. I fear that my life hasn’t been worth all that much and that I may, as Thoreau described, “when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Those, I think, are the most dangerous fears — not the ones like earthquakes or plane crashes, not the ones addressed by an insurance policy — but the ones that keep you awake at night. The fears that find expression in anger or greed or judgment or flattery or an extra drink.

Those kinds of fears are potent because they are born of legitimate needs. We need community so we draw lines to exclude others thinking that if some are made outsiders, we’ll get to be insiders. We have a need for identity — we need to know who we are — so we try on emperor-clothes of achievement, approval, or the numbing balm that comes from making people laugh. We fear death and disorder and the future because we misapply our legitimate needs for security, authority, and clarity.

And all these broken cisterns manifest in the ways we interact with our families, our coworkers, our social media feeds, our government, and our fellow disciples.

So what are we to do? Where do we take all these confused fears?

As you might expect, the Bible has some helpful things to say about our fears. Over the next five weeks, Barry Jones and Sissy Mathew are going to lead our church through a study of some of our most common fears and how the gospel addresses them.

This series couldn’t be timelier, because this year has made us all a little fearful. So what else to do but talk about it?

Make plans to tune in Sunday, be it online or in person (you can register now to attend on Sunday!), and consider inviting a friend or coworker to participate with you. Those outside the church are just as fearful as we are inside — perhaps more so. This year has pulled us all into the dark woods of fear, so what better time than 2020 to shine the Light of the world?


God is calling us, the people of Irving Bible Church, to become a multi-ethnic movement of missionary disciples, formed in the way of Jesus for the sake of the world.

We want to be a transformed people who experience vibrant spiritual growth together. We want the Spirit of God to shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus as we follow him.

If you'd like to write for the IBC Blog or would like to request a topic to be covered, we would love to hear from you. Email Us.

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