Air Date 11/16/2018

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In a discussion based on her book 30 Days to Taming Your Fears, Deborah Pegues offers hope to those who feel overwhelmed by anxiety, providing practical suggestions for overcoming it with God's help.

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Episode Transcript



Deborah Pegues: When the fear pops up, you have to be ready to combat the fear. And you have to declare the Word. You have to declare it. I find that faith comes by hearing. And so when I’m fearful, I hear - I need to hear myself. I need to encourage myself.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Deborah Pegues is with us today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, the most frequent command in the Bible is not to be afraid, and God doesn’t want us to live in fear. I believe that. Uh, Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Um, even if you don’t live in a constant state of fear - and I hope you don’t - um, you will likely face fear at some point. And here at Focus on the Family, we want you to live freely in Christ and to live abundantly in Christ. And that is our goal - in your marriage, in your parenting and in your household and your friendships. That is a life worth living. Um, if you’re struggling with fear, we’re here for you. We have caring Christian counselors you can talk to. They can help you with resources. Supporters of the ministry are capable of supplying that. And we are grateful to each and every person who donates, and this is what we put it toward. So take advantage of it. Give us a call and, uh, get some help.

John: Yeah. Our number is 800-232-6459, 800-A-FAMILY. And, uh, our guest today is gonna provide some practical help and hope regarding fear and those anxieties that we all tend to have at one point or another. Deborah Pegues has been with us before. In fact, her previous visit was one of our Best Of programs for the year. And, uh, she’s a certified behavioral consultant, a Bible teacher, a speaker. Uh, she’s authored 16 books, and one of those addresses this head-on. It’s called 30 Days to Taming Your Fears: Practical Help for a More Peaceful and Productive Life.


Jim: Wow. Deborah, you’re a busy woman.

Deborah: I am busy.

Jim: Welcome to Focus.

Deborah: Thank you.

Jim: Welcome back, I should say.

Deborah: Thank you very much.

Jim: Hey, let’s get into it. Why does fear have such an impact on us? Why do we let it get ahold of us in the way it does? And it kinda takes us captive.

Deborah: Well, and it’s real. Let’s just start out by saying we probably will never be outside of its presence, and so we just have to understand that that fear is anticipating a loss and dreading something that may happen. And sometimes, it’s real, and sometimes it’s not real. But the point is we have to learn how to live with it, and we don’t have to be in - in bondage to it. I - I love what Goliath said, and I always say “Goliath was right.” He said, “If you fight me and kill me, we’ll be your servants.” That’s what he said to the Israelites. And I always say, “You gotta imagine fear is a - a giant.” And so Goliath has given you the secret to success on overcoming fear. He said “If you fight me and kill me, we’ll be your servant.” In other words, if you overcome me, then the fear will serve you.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: He said, “But otherwise, if we prevail, then you’re gonna serve us.” And that’s what I found. If I fight it, resist it, overcome it, render it lifeless in my life...

Jim: Well, let’s give the listeners that background for you. As a little girl, did you have fear? Was this - you seem like a very confident woman, very accomplished woman.

Deborah: I - we don’t have to go back that far. I’m - I’m fearful right now.


Jim: Come on.

Deborah: No.

Jim: But if you go back, what was happening in your childhood that gave you an awareness of fear?

Deborah: Probably just lack of exposure to a lot of things. But there were so many fears, and let me just talk about a few. I grew up in a very, um, let’s say, verbally abusive home. And so I was afraid I would grow up and marry the wrong man.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Uh, and so that was a great fear. So I was suspect of anybody that I met. It’s like, “You’re probably gonna turn out to be very abusive, and I’m not gonna tolerate it.”

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So that was a fear. But I think most of my fears are related to being safe - being safe. And so I was morbidly afraid of flying.

Jim: Huh.

Deborah: And you - you want to know something funny, ‘cause you’re in this area? I was afraid of flying to Denver. I would actually reroute a flight if I thought it gonna cross over Denver - and definitely not gonna land here.

Jim: Because of the mountains?

Deborah: Yes. Because I - that landing. And yesterday, when we landed here, it was awful.


Jim: It really is.

John: Turbulence...

Jim: If you want a roller coaster ride, you fly between Denver and Colorado Springs. That is quite a ride.

Deborah: That is just so crazy. That is so crazy.

Jim: Well...

Deborah: But - but I don’t - here’s the deal. I didn’t let it keep me from coming.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: So my first adventure here in this area, I - I have to tell you what. There was a very profound revelation from the Lord because when they called me to do another media outlet here and I said, “Oh, I’d love to do it, but I don’t fly to Denver. Do you ever come to Los Angeles?”


Deborah: They’re like, “No.” And I was praying about it. And in my heart, I heard the spirit, say, “Your blessing is in the place that you fear.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And from then on, I used that as a guideline. My blessing is in the place that I fear. I need to confront that fear.

Jim: Well, and let me - let me ask that next question. Fear can, in your mind - and in the book, 30 Days to Taming Your Fear, you talk about how fear can become an ally. A lot of people that are fearful listening right now are saying, “That - that’s ridiculous.” How do you turn fear into an ally?

Deborah: First of all, you analyze it. Is this a dread? Is this real? Is it based in something factual? Because even facts can make you fearful. But I - when I was growing up, we had such a strict Pentecostal background. I was afraid the rapture would come any minute ‘cause they said the rapture is going to come any minute, and indeed it could. And you won’t be called up if you’re caught sinning. I was so afraid of sinning.

John: Hmm.

Deborah: I mean...

Jim: Which isn’t a bad thing.

Deborah: Not a bad thing.

Jim: But not - not to have it rooted in fear.

Deborah: Right. Not in fear. Not the love, ‘cause I’m going to spend eternity with God. I was afraid I was gonna spend eternity in hell.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So that kept me away from the people who were doing drugs, uh, clubbing, partying.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: I’m like, “No,” because I don’t want to be in a position where I get caught and the rapture comes, and I’m gonna be here forever with the Antichrist.

Jim: So the adults in your life achieved their goal of keeping you out of trouble, it sounds like?

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. But I found it - also, it became debilitating ‘cause when I graduated from college and had to travel for business, I was afraid to get in taxi cabs with people. Every news story, I just knew that was gonna be my experience. You know, a taxi driver’s gonna take you...

John: You’re gonna be the headlines tomorrow.

Deborah: Right. They’re going to take you up and kill you.

Jim: Well, if - you know, watching the news can be horrible, especially for young people.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: I mean, if you have a 12-, 13-year-old, and you happen to - you know, you’re watching the news every night, and your child’s sitting there next to you, there’s a lot going on.

Deborah: There’s a lot going on...

Jim: That’s not good.

Deborah: ...Which is why it’s so critical to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. I am not kidding you. When you have those fearful thoughts, you gotta replace them with something ‘cause they’re gonna always be bombarding you. That’s why I love what the Psalmist said in Psalms 34. He says, “I sought to the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” Isn’t that amazing?

Jim: That’s a good thing. That’s a promise.

Deborah: All of them - all of them. You know, not some of them.

Jim: But to do that - to achieve that, you’ve gotta be rooted in Christ and have that confidence that, even in my death, however that will happen...

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: ...It will happen at some point. Nobody lives forever.

Deborah: Nobody lives forever.

Jim: Um... you know, when that happens, I need to be confident in my faith that God will be there to meet me on the other side.

Deborah: And we don’t live in fear that it may happen today, and I’m just going to - you know, I’m - I am really trying to - I mean, as I pass 65...


Jim: Don’t - don’t tell us.

John: You mean on the highway?

Deborah: Oh, right. Yeah. Right. On the...

Jim: You don’t look 65.

Deborah: I’m older than that.


Deborah: But I thought, you know, nobody’s gonna live forever. So one of the fears I talk about in the book is the fear of death. And I thought, well, if you prepare for it, and maybe that can begin to assuage some of the fears. A lot of times, it’s the unknown. Well, if I know for sure that I’m gonna spend eternity with God - but if I know for sure that I’ve left the - that my loved ones in good shape, you know, and I haven’t left chaos. And so I think that’s one of the things you do when you’re trying to battle that fear of death.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s one of the core fears. We’re gonna get to those...

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: ...A little later. But I wanna talk about the basic definitions of the types of fear. In your book, you mention anxiety, fear itself and then full-blown phobia. Uh, for those that aren’t, uh, you know, studying these things, what are the distinctions?

Deborah: Well, let’s talk about anxiety because it is anticipating - anticipating a negative outcome.

Jim: Huh. One that hasn’t happened yet.

Deborah: So it’s always future - hasn’t happened, may never happen...

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: ...Probably won’t, but it’s anticipating that. I have some dread. Because when you define fear generally as a dread of a loss, I’m anticipating that at some point, I’m gonna lose something.

Jim: How does that become crippling for someone who can’t get control of that? How does it debilitate you?

Deborah: It debilitates you when you succumb to it and say, “Yes, that’s right, so I’m not even gonna try it.” The only way to deal with fear is to face it. And I told somebody the other day, “If you are afraid of getting on the elevator, just get on there and go one floor, and just walk back down.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: You have to take baby steps. You don’t have to do this thing cold turkey. You don’t have to take the elevator up to the top of the CN Tower.

Jim: Well, yeah. Some of the hotels I’ve stayed in, I’ve definitely checked the certificate.


Jim: So it’s not like lose your mind, but, uh - that’s why I love my wife Jean ‘cause she’ll, you know, if I’m in, uh, in the truck doing yard work, and I’m gonna run to the dump or something, I may forget to put my seat belt on. And she’ll say, “You know what? God gave you a brain.”

Deborah: That’s right. So you do your part.

Jim: ‘Cause I’ll say, “Well, if God - you know, if He’s gonna take me, He’s gonna take me.” “Yeah, but He also gave you a brain to put your seat belt on, right?”


Deborah: My husband says that. “If it’s your time, it’s your time.” Like, I don’t want it to be my time.

Jim: This is probably a common discussion between husbands and wives.

Deborah: Right.

Jim: You - though an application of this type of anxiety I think would fit here with - in addition to your landing at Denver...


Jim: ...Which we in Colorado would encourage everybody to come fly to Denver.

Deborah: Oh, my gosh.

Jim: But earthquakes. Being in California...

Deborah: Oh, my goodness.

Jim: I grew up in California, so I - you know, it’s kind of a thrill as a kid when you got the rumble.

Deborah: No, no, no, no. That has got to be the most unnerving experience one could have.

Jim: Well...

Deborah: And I wasn’t - I didn’t grow up in LA. I - when I was, like, about 22 years old, I came to Los Angeles. But just that idea that the whole ground is shaking, the - the whole city is shaking, that left me with such paranoia until I - I had bags packed by the door, so I can run out the door.

Jim: Now some people would say that was wise, not foolish.

Deborah: I know, but mine - mine was a little obsessive ‘cause I checked them every night.

Jim: But what’s - well, that’s the point I think I want to get to for someone...

Deborah: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim: ...Who is going, “Okay, what’s the differentiation if I’ve got an - an anxiety about it, or if it’s just good common sense?”

Deborah: So here’s - here’s a good idea - a good, uh, example. I was coming here today, and let’s say that I have some anxiety about, I told you earlier, of giving the wrong scripture. So that’s a mild anxiety that I’m thinking, “Okay, maybe if I give the wrong scripture and that’s not the one that was in my head for that application,” whatever. That’s a mild anxiety. I’m anticipating a negative outcome. And we don’t have to anticipate a negative outcome.

Jim: That’s true.

Deborah: But, you know, you can choose not to. Let me just interject this. I drive on the freeways a lot. And we moved to a new area where the people - the average speed on the freeway is like 85, 90.

Jim: That’s crazy.

Deborah: And I said, “This is crazy.” So - and I - I’m in the fast lane - the special lane, and I told my husband, “I just - I am so nervous doing that because I’m afraid a car will cut over in front of me.” And he says, “Well, why don’t you anticipate a car not doing that?”


Jim: And let me read the newspaper while you’re driving me.

Deborah: Yeah. Okay. Like, “So why don’t you just anticipate that everything’s gonna go fine?” I thought, “Well, that’s a novel idea.” But we have to watch what we anticipate. That’s why the Bible says, don’t be anxious for anything. Don’t anticipate a negative outcome. Why don’t you retrain your brain to think that this is going to be a positive outcome?

Jim: Now, where’s the phobia component come in? That’s anxiety. And you have normal fear. I think we pretty much understand what fear is. But what’s phobia?

Deborah: But phobia is an irrational fear. You know, “I think the building is going to fall down on me.”

Jim: When there’s no problem?

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. And it could just - you may have heard about something like that many years ago. In fact, many years ago, my dad was taking us on a trip to his mom’s house. And it was a creek. And there was a bridge over the creek. And the support fell down. And our car went into the water. But we weren’t in any danger. It didn’t even come up to the waist or whatever. But that was very scary. So even now, I think twice before I go over a bridge.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: But I don’t have the phobia where I won’t go over.

Jim: Yeah. You’ll find another way around.

Deborah: You see because phobias hold you captive. And you just - I absolutely will not do that.

Jim: So anxiety is more or less a presence of fear.

Deborah: Well, and it’s more future.

Jim: Future-oriented...

Deborah: I say fear itself, anxiety, fear and phobia - fear is right now. I’m afraid of what’s happening right now.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: It’s more present. I’m afraid. But the anxiety is anticipating.

Jim: Yeah. Now, the five core fears - you touched on one, the fear of death. I think that’s pretty natural.

Deborah: That’s pretty natural.

Jim: Human beings have that fear of their life ending, and I get that. What are the other four?

Deborah: Well, the fear of inadequacy.

Jim: Wow.

Deborah: Yes. Most people are afraid of public speaking just, fear of looking bad, all of that...

Jim: What about teenagers? I think of their life when it comes to inadequacy...

Deborah: Yes, and we don’t...

Jim: ...because they’re full of inadequacy.

Deborah: And we don’t have to be inadequate. Well, first of all, I always say, first of all, acknowledge the fact that, in your own strength, you are - everybody’s inadequate.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: See. If you just - I said, “Okay. I’m inadequate in my own strength. But with God, I can do all things.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And so - so that’s going to be my mindset. I need to just show up because the scripture’s talk about that, you know? Our sufficiency is from God.

Jim: So how did you learn that discipline to always come from that perspective, especially in times of stress? Because sometimes people forget or they ignore leaning into God in that moment.

Deborah: You cannot afford to not lean into God. This is why the word has to be foundational because we’re going to always have fears that present themselves either physically, relationally, emotionally or financial. It’s like a stool. It has a base and four legs. And so the base is my core beliefs. So I must always have these beliefs flow down and impact these areas of my life. And so when I - I’m always analyzing myself. Where am I emotionally? Do I have these fears? Fear that somebody’s going to - I’m going to miss out on something or fear of looking bad. Or financially, am I afraid that I’m going to not have enough? I’m going to grow old, and my money is not going to last long enough. I have to step back and say, “Is this lining up with the Word of God? What does the Word of God say about that?” That has to be so preeminent in our minds. What does the word of God say about that? Because that’s where our life is.

Jim: This is good - how to overcome fear. Your book, 30 Days to Taming Your Fears: Practical Help for a More Peaceful and Productive Life - full of great practical advice. And Deborah Pegues’ our guest today on Focus on the Family. You have your hand up. What do you want to add?

Deborah: Well, the other fears - I want to run through the five fears.

Jim: Yeah, we’ll get back to those.

Deborah: Okay. You want...

Jim: I was going to say, “Okay. Now that we’ve re-identified...”

Deborah: Okay.

Jim: “...Who you are...”

Deborah: Okay.

Jim: “...What are the other fears?”

Deborah: Well, fear of loneliness - fear of loneliness - and so that includes the fear of rejection. And I have been in that space where I went along to get along or said yes when I wanted to say no because ultimately I didn’t want to be alienated.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Deborah: And so I became very dysfunctional in some of my relationships. I let people use my credit cards because I wanted them to know I was really nice.

Jim: I was going to ask you if I could borrow one of those?


Jim: I’d like to get some lunch later.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Okay. So that idea of loneliness - what’s another one?

Deborah: Fear of losing control - you know, I just - and especially if you grew up in an environment that was chaotic, you tend to be controlling. It’s like, “I never want my life to be out of control like that. So from now on, I’m going to make sure everything’s lined up.” And you just become a real bore.

Jim: Let me ask you in this regard. You know, having children, one of the things that I’ve noticed in talking with other people, too - I think this can be a struggle in marriage when you’re raising kids because moms - not everybody - so don’t hear that I’m stereotyping anybody. But moms tend to live in this fear and control dynamic in their parenting. Dads can, too. But I think dads tend to take these things in more stride because they look at the long view. Moms are looking at the moment. They’re fearful their kids won’t grow up to be all that they want them to be or that their behavior is not mature. And why isn’t our 15-year-old acting, you know, in a way that’s more biblical and more God-fearing? Talk about a woman and her fears in that way with her children.

Deborah: Well and especially, I find this in women who are - who - where there’s a separation of children - either there’s shared responsibility with the father, and they’re not together. And so I find that each parent will often feel the alienation or rejection or feel that that child is going to have more allegiance to the other parent. And so listen. We have to stop and go back to the Bible. The Bible is training a child according to his bent and so that you don’t need to worry about that. You don’t need to be fearful of that. You need to do what’s right.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because I always say we always - even a lot of us Christians, we say we live by faith. But we operate in fear.

Jim: Right, and it shouldn’t be.

Deborah: And so if you’re going to live in faith, live in faith. And so you’ve got to hold that behavior up to God and say, “Listen. Is this wise?” You know, I sought the Lord. He heard me. I sought the Lord. He heard me and delivered me from that fear. He set me free so that I can go on and be an effective parent and not someone who’s afraid of losing the allegiance or the love of the child.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I’m dealing with a young lady like - with that right now. She’s 14 years old. But she gets pretty much to do whatever she wants to do.

Jim: And that’s not healthy.

Deborah: It’s not healthy. She spends lots of money. I took her to lunch. And I said, “Okay. I’m budget conscious. Your lunch can cost $15.” She goes, “Oh, that’s not the entree I wanted. I want this one that’s over here that’s, like, 20, 25.” So her part of lunch came to about 30 bucks. I said, “From now on, when we go to lunch, I’m ordering for you.”


Jim: There you go. Well, is that control or is that teaching?


Deborah: No. I’m trying to teach her assessing value.

Jim: You’re controlling the budget here.

Deborah: Not according to my budget.

Jim: This is crazy.

John: Hey, Deborah, in regards to your own life and this journey through fear - I mean, you’re an expert because you’ve written a book about this, right? I’m smiling as I say that.

Deborah: I’m not an expert. I fight fear all the time.

John: What’s the journey been like? I mean, you sought the Lord once, twice, twenty-five times?

Deborah: All the time.

John: Talk about that process because, for a lot of us, this doesn’t happen overnight.

Deborah: It’s a daily thing. When the fear pops up, you have to be ready to combat the fear. And you have to declare the Word. You have to declare it. I find that faith comes by hearing. And so when I’m fearful, I hear - I need to hear myself. I need to encourage myself. Yesterday when the plane was doing this little roller coaster thing...


Deborah: And I just said, “Lord, I want to thank you that you’ve given your angels charge, responsibility over me to keep me in all my ways. And I just want to thank you in advance that we’re going to land at that airport intact. Nothing’s going to harm me, according to the Scriptures.” His angels have been charged to take me in all my ways. And so I say that. Whatever the nature of the fear is, we need a scripture to combat them. And I’m really big on people committing those to memory not so that you can say, “I know this scripture.” You need to know it for yourself. You need to declare it.

Jim: So it’s top of mind.

Deborah: Always.

Jim: I mean, that’s the reason so you know the Word of God in the moment.

Deborah: I need to fill my mind with that.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I need to fill my mind so that when I’m squeezed, when I’m pressured, that’s what comes out. We had a pastor once who used to say, “Now, what happens when you squeeze a tube of certain toothpaste? And what comes out?” And we’d say, “Toothpaste.” And he said, “Nope. That’s not what comes out.” That particular toothpaste - he would name the brand. I don’t want to name the brand. He would - let’s just say it was called Crackerjack. He said, “No, Crackerjack toothpaste comes out because whatever you put in you, that’s exactly what comes out of you when you are squeezed.”

Jim: Let me take us back to loneliness. I’ll pick some of these five core fears apart over the next few minutes. But when you look at loneliness, I saw something that stated the index - the loneliness index, which has been kept now I guess the last 20 years. We’re the most lonely we’ve ever been even though we’re the most connected with social media, et cetera. And experts are trying to discern why is this happening. Why are we so connected on all the social media platforms, yet we’re so lonely? So what is that fear of loneliness? Why is that index rising? We’ll assume that it’s accurate. It’s the highest it’s ever been. Why?

Deborah: The technology is causing it to rise because we are now counting our friends - friends - by how many friends we have on social media. And even I will post something sometimes, and I’ll go back and see how many people liked it. It’s like, am I judging my value by how many likes I get instead of taking that time maybe reaching out to a friend and just picking up the phone - not texting, you know? We don’t have to stay on the phone 30 minutes. But we really got to get back to reaching out and that human touch. I’m challenging myself with this because I moved way outside of where my friends live - 50 miles away. And I thought, “Okay. We’re not geographically compatible anymore.”


Jim: Man, you got tough standards.

Deborah: Well, but you know what? I realized when a friend - I got word yesterday that a close friend’s husband had died. She had been on my heart for a week. And I just didn’t call her. It’s like, “I’ll text her. Whatever.” Then I thought, “I am going to stop that. I’m just going to stop that.” Because listen, we were made to be relational, not - we need up close and personal. I need to know what your fears, wants and desires are. And you need to hear mine. And we can pray together.

Jim: Well, interestingly enough, it would suggest to me that it’s not satisfying our souls.

Deborah: It’s not.

Jim: So digital - it may create communication, but it doesn’t satisfy the yearning in our soul for connection.

Deborah: It doesn’t.

Jim: And that’s why the loneliness index may be going up. That’s my read of it.

Deborah: And so we’re still alone. I believe that’s why in the garden when God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone” - we don’t need to be disconnected like that. That’s why I believe you should be part of a church, a life group, a group of people who care about you and your concerns. And when you have an issue, they can come around you and be that kind of support.

Jim: That’s real. Hey, Deborah, you share a brief story in your book about how your observations of your mother affected some major decisions that you had to make. What was that relationship like, and how did it impact you?

Deborah: Well, my mom was very powerless. She had no education and no resources outside of access to my father’s resources. And he controlled the resources. And we weren’t rich, but he knew how to manage money well. But I felt that she had to take a lot of abuse because she just didn’t have any options. And so that affected me because it made me stay in school. I’m thinking I’m going to go to school. And I’m going to stay focused. I’m going to have my own money. But you see. I went too extreme with it because I said, “No man is ever going to treat me like that.” And so I was fearful that I would be in that kind of bondage and be that vulnerable. And so when I - by the time I met my husband, I’m like, “I need you to know I go shopping every weekend. I don’t plan to stop.” And he’s like, “Okay.”


Jim: This is Darnell, your husband? Yeah?

Deborah: Yes, and I’m like, “Oh, just okay?” I thought you were going to say, “No, you can’t.” And I’m going like, “Yes, I can ‘cause I have my own money.” Well, I had some great mentors, and they taught me how to be a wife - a kind, gentle wife. And so I thank God for them. But that shaped me. That shaped me until such time as the Word of God came into my life through this mentor and taught me how to love without an attitude.

Jim: So that captures quite a few - that fear of loss, that fear of abuse...

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: ...That whole thing. How does a woman - I mean, when you said that, I’m sure some women shouted out, as they’re listening, “Yeah, you go girl!”

Deborah: No, no. But...

Jim: How - how do you bridle that - what I would say is kind of that modern feminist attitude - how do you bridle that so you’re more of a biblical wife?

Deborah: Because I have to embrace, for that very reason, what you just said. I have to embrace the biblical idea of how marriage works. Everything that comes into the marriage belongs to the marriage. Now I know there may be some irresponsible men and women out there, but we have decided in our marriage that everything belongs to the marriage and that I submit to my husband, and I really do. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna be a doormat, I’m not gonna express what I feel, but there’s a way to do it. And - and when it all - when it’s all said and done, I’m gonna salute what he said, but I’m gonna be praying. I’m gonna be his most effective intercessor.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I do. And when we were first married, I was - I’m a CPA by training. My husband wasn’t, and he wanted to handle the money. And I thought, “Oh, my gosh. No, I’m most qualified to handle the money.”


Deborah: But my mentor told me - this is - this is great advice. She said, “Remember this. Whatever you do, he won’t do. If you want a man to be strong in a certain area, take your hands off of it and pray.” And today, my husband handles our money. He is so good at it. I can go shopping. He can tell me everywhere I went by the time I - I’m back home.


Jim: So you’re proud of his management?

Deborah: Oh, I am. I am.

Jim: That’s good.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: That’s a big transition.

Deborah: Well, it was a big transition, and it was an act of my will to submit.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: That’s not a bad word. It’s God’s way. When you do things God’s way, you get his results. So we’ve been happily married 39 years. It’s not an issue.

Jim: Do you know how many phone calls you just caused us?


Jim: How many people are gonna call in and say, “Deborah said what?”

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: Submit is the nastiest word in the Christian dictionary.

Deborah: No. No, but it isn’t because all you’re saying is, “Do it God’s way.”

Jim: No, I like it. I understand it.

Deborah: Yes. Yes.

Jim: But for us men, that means we have a responsibility.

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: And, uh...

Deborah: We - and we submit to each other.

Jim: Right. That’s really true.

Deborah: And I think the men forget to mention that.

Jim: You mentioned the, uh, the financial, uh, background. And I think you went to University of Southern California, right?

Deborah: I did.

Jim: Was that a master’s degree?

Deborah: Yes, in finance.

Jim: Well done.

John: Wow.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I hated finance.


Deborah: Oh, I loved it. I loved it. I love money.

Jim: I did marketing. But um, what’s some of that spiritual financial advice you could give to those who do lack and that fear, you know, they fear that lack, whether they’re in an older age situation or they’re middle-aged and they’re saying, “I just don’t have enough to meet, uh, the need”? And that fear that can be all-consuming.

Deborah: I know. Here’s my key to not fearing lack of - in finances because I feel like I’ve insured myself against lack. How did I - how do we do that? He says, “Give and it shall be given to you.” So I - and we tithe. We tithe. We do the three levels of giving. We - we give tithes - 10 percent of our income. We’ve never - I am not kidding you. We have never not tithed in our 39 years of marriage. But because of that, I am very ornery when it looks like the enemy’s gonna take my money. I’m like, “Oh, no, you don’t. I’m insured against lack.”


So we - we tithe. We give offerings over and above our tithes. And we give alms. Those are, uh, good deeds you do for other people. And listen, there have been times we did that when it really didn’t work on paper for us to do it, but we said, “God, we are trusting you. We are trusting you.” And so I always say, “I’m insured against lack.” God is gonna honor his word. Give and it will be given to you. So I have - I’ve been surrounded with all kinds of favors. We’ve been given trips around the world, across the world, just didn’t have to pay anything for it because we stand on that and expect that.

Jim: That’s amazing.

Deborah: So my expectation...

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: ...Is that God’s gonna honor his word.

Jim: But even if you didn’t get that, you’d be okay, right?

Deborah: Oh, we’re gonna be okay because I don’t have to have an abundance stored up. I need to know - I need to believe that God is gonna provide for my daily needs.

Jim: When I say that because it’s important not to give with expectation, really.

Deborah: Well, it’s - here’s the deal. You don’t give to get.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: But you give and expect God to honor his word.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So it’s not like I gave you one, you gotta give me two.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: You just have the confidence of knowing that God has promised that, and he’s gonna honor that.

Jim: Well, that is good stuff. Uh, Deborah Pegues, author of the book 30 Days to Taming Your Fears. Uh, this is an awesome resource, especially this idea of a 30-day, um, trial. Give it a go. See if it helps you.

Deborah: Give it a go.

Jim: See if it gives you peace, which is what God promises.

Deborah: Absolutely. I think...

Jim: Peace.

Deborah: I think we don’t realize that God doesn’t mind being put to the test.

Jim: That’s right.

Deborah: He doesn’t. And I like putting him to the test.

Jim: He’s the God that says, “Test me.”

Deborah: He said “Test me.” I’m like, “All righty then, let’s go.”


Jim: Well that is good. Deborah, so encouraging and so inspirational. I want to remind you, the listener, that Focus on the Family is here for you. We want, um, your relationship with the Lord to be strong and vibrant and healthy. Uh, we want you to trust him and to live without the fear that we’ve been talking about today. And if you need more guidance in this area and you don’t know where to begin, we are here for you. Just call us. We have caring counselors. We have a PDF - a little download you can get called Coming Home, and it’s an article to help you take those first steps in trusting Jesus as your savior. That’s where it really starts, right, Deborah?

Deborah: It starts there. That has to be the basics.

Jim: Yeah. And so we would love to introduce you into a relationship with Christ if you’re not there yet. Um, again, the counselors are here. Uh, we want to send you, for a donation of any amount, uh, a copy of Deborah’s book 30 Days to Taming Your Fears. And that’s our way of saying, “Thank you.” So take any of those actions that you need to take. And we are here in your corner.

John: We are a phone call away. Our number is 800-232-6459. Online you can find that PDF Jim mentioned, Coming Home and copies of Deborah’s book and a way to donate as well -

Well, have a great weekend, and join us on Monday. We’ll hear from Kathy Lipp and Cheri Gregory, helping you learn how to manage drama during the holidays.


Cheri Gregory: I think especially for the holidays, what overwhelms me the most, is this sense that I’ve got to keep everybody happy.

End of Teaser

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Deborah Pegues

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Deborah Smith Pegues is a best-selling author of 16 books including the award-winning 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, which has sold more than a million copies. She is an international speaker and interpersonal communications strategist whose trademark teaching is on how foundational beliefs dictate behavior in every aspect of life. Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and former vice president for MCA/Universal Studios, Inc. As founder and CEO of The Pegues Group, Inc., she has consulted with mega-churches, high profile personalities and entrepreneurs on financial and relational issues. Deborah and her husband, Darnell, reside in southern California. Learn more about Deborah by visiting her website,