Those last few months in Oregon seemed to drag by as I finished up my service assignment. Only 10 months prior I had landed in Oregon with the hope and promise of a new adventure. Over those 10 months I had been grown and stretched in so many different ways. I learned how to get along with roommates, how to put my own self aside for the needs of others, and been challenged at a whole new level in my walk with Christ. I was definitely heading home a bit more mature, grown up and with my sharp edges a bit more worn down by the Holy Spirit. Life was no longer so much about me but more about what God wanted to do in and through me.
However, I also headed home with a new friend. Dare I call her that? Probably not, since a friend is one you want to have around and who has your best interest at heart. Fear has none of those attributes but none the less…it had by that time become a part of the fabric of my life and I had learned how to adjust….It’s kind of like putting on your shoes every day…only to find a nasty little pebble that keeps rattling around. Instead of taking off the shoe and shaking the rock out… I kept the shoe on in hopes that maybe it would go away on it’s own, or at best, become a bit more comfortable to live with.
You see, the fear that had been small at first…was slowly growing into a bigger problem. I thought that once I got home and was with my family…where I could see them, interact with them, and physically know they were fine…that the fear would go away. Somehow, it would all be better and I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.
Funny thing about fear…especially fear that seems irrational to everyone else..it causes you to hide. Why? Well for me there came a real sense of embarrassment and shame at being so fearful. I was supposed to be this young, vibrant, independent young women and yet truth be told much of my life was filled with daily fear…and it was getting worse.
Where I used to simply worry about my safety and the safety of loved ones…now I worried about riding in a car, or staying by myself at home. What if someone broke in and harmed me or my family…what if the car careened off the road and killed everyone in it? At night I lay awake terrified of someone breaking in and every sound…the normal creaking of the house, the wind blowing the limbs on the tree or the chirp of crickets…sounds that in the past felt familiar and comforting…all of a sudden brought fear to my heart. Many nights I was awake more than I was asleep and as I lay there I prayed and prayed and prayed…and cried out to God…What is wrong with me!! Why can’t I just get over this? It is so stupid! And yet…the fear remained.
Despite the fear I continued to press forward in life like nothing was wrong….I was pretty good at hiding the turmoil that raged in my heart and mind on a daily basis. That next year I headed to college….got engaged to a wonderful young man and worked hard to make life just be normal…whatever that was anymore.
We married that next year and once again I thought that once we were married then I could stop the worry…the fear. My husband, now fully aware of the fear that gripped my life became increasingly frustrated with me and what he saw as irrational fears. And honestly I didn’t blame him…I was frustrated with myself and my seemingly inability to just “get over it!”
I don’t know at what point it happened, but as some point…as my husband prayed and asked God for revelation into how he could best help me God spoke to his heart….He told him “Fear is not rational, it can not be explained away…only by my power can it be defeated. You can not fix this! You can not fix her! All I want you to do is Love her! Love her and let me heal her!”
It was at that point…as my husband shared with me what God had shown him..that I had my own breakthrough…..It was as if the light bulbs went on for me. All of a sudden I understood what I had never grasped before…
God loves me despite my fear! And he wants to heal me!
You would think that I would have grasped this earlier but sometimes…as Christians…we have this idea of how we are to be, and how we are to act and what we should and should not be controlled by…and when we can’t attain those things on our own then somehow we are a “bad Christian” and just need to work harder.
God doesn’t need me to work harder…he needs me to trust him…to be honest with him about where I am at…to come to him for his healing touch…to admit when it’s too much for me.
It would still take several years for me to arrive at a place that I could say fear no longer controlled my heart and mind in the same way it did in those early years. Through God’s divine touch, through the love of my husband and the wisdom of my pastor and his dear wife…I can now say I walk free of the fear that once gripped my life so strongly.
Does it mean I don’t ever struggle with fear? Absolutely not! I still have to be aware of the enemy that is always wanting to sneak in and take me off guard…to look for the lies of the enemy that want to penetrate my heart and mind with thoughts of fear and worry. But the difference…I now have the weapons to use against the one who would want to bind my heart and mind back up with fear. What are those weapons? They are best found in God’s word.
May they encourage you as they have me…every day, of every week, of every year I breath….
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”