The difference between being careful and being fearful in today’s world

In these uncertain and scary times, I feel I the need to share this with you. Our world today is riddled with confusion and chaos and we have immediate and constant access to the horrors with the click of a button. It would be easy to become paralyzed by it all.

I’ve listened to parents who are not allowing their children to travel, and friends whose anxiety is keeping them under lock and key. The fear of potential unknowns overshadows the wonders that are available to us, and the evil one grins as if he’s getting his way.

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Here’s what I would like you to know from my vantage point:

I once watched my dad get out of our car, leaving my mom and their four daughters locked inside. We were stopped as we tried to pass through a check station in rural Brazil. He chatted with the “officer” for a while, then he took off his watch and handed it to him. He got back in the car and we drove off. I was very much aware, even as a child, that this could have turned out quite differently.

When I was about 9, we were stuck on a train for hours in the Machu Picchu mountains while young, angry rioters lay on the tracks with machine guns. We all sat still and quiet while my dad calmly explained the “game plan” to each of us in our ears.

My husband and I have walked through multiple countries on either end of the “family train” – him the engine and me the caboose with the kids linked up between us to protect them. Someone offered to buy our kids in a small village market. You can imagine what they wanted them for.

Yes, I remember all of those fearful moments vividly. There are many stories like this, but there are also others.

I can still smell the amazing street food and the taste of hot momo eaten from a plastic bag with a toothpick as our family train chugged along the streets of Nepal. And passing out boxes of raisins to the street kids who were hungry.

I remember the gorgeous produce, cultural cookware and interesting flowers in the market of Nepal.

The spirit of the people of a recovering Christchurch will forever be etched on my heart, as will the grandeur of Mount Cook and drinking ice cold water from a waterfall in Milford Sound.

When we recently lived in a suburb of London, I was scheduled to go to London the day after the Westminster Bridge attack. My daughter was on a school trip in Paris the day the shooting occurred on the Champs-Elysées. My daughter went to London with friends the Friday night before the attack at Borough Market and London Bridge. My husband and daughter were in London the day of this attack.

The same wave of fear and anxiety washed over me when the planes hit the twin towers in New York as did the recent suicide bomber in the subway. The same feelings of uncertainty straightened my posture on the tube system of London as they do now in my car in Texas.

We are keenly aware that anything could happen at any time but I know two things to be true:

  • Depraved and hateful people live everywhere. No country, community, car, train, airplane or home is immune to being invaded or violated and
  • I cannot protect my home, my kids or even myself 100% of the time. I will do my best but I must trust God more. My faith in the knowledge that God does indeed have the whole world in His very capable hands is greater than any potential situation I might encounter.

Our family’s motto as we gallivant this gorgeous globe is, “Be careful, not fearful.” I would be lying to you if I said I don’t fear. But if I give fear full control, I lose every time. I am much more competitive than that and I’d rather die living.

This all being said, to each their own. We should all make choices as to what is best for ourselves and our family. There’s no judgment here, but I urge you to not allow fear to become your prison. I pray that you will not allow anxiety to become your straight jacket. There is so much wonder and beauty out there to be seen, tasted and experienced.

God’s creation is amazing and worth breathing in, up until we breathe in our last.

Now read this: Is worry keeping you up at night?

Andrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the loyal wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage others by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at

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