When Fear paralyzes
The definition of fear is as follows:
"a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm.
Antonyms: courage, security, calm, intrepidity"
-taken from dictionary.com
So what causes this fear? According to the definition it could be a real or an imagined threat. In my case, lately, my past experiences and failures have invited fear into my life. As I have been walking into this new life as a single mom and widow, I have had to make some very tough decisions on my own. In my near future, I will be making some life-changing decisions and that is a beautiful thing but can also invite in fear. I say invite, because I believe the enemy is the owner of fear. The Bible clearly states in 2 Timothy 1:7 that "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." Fear is not from God. I know this, I have always known this. So what happened? How did I let fear in so easily?
Many of us miss out on so many of God's blessings and delay God's plan by allowing fear to get into our hearts. Maybe it's a new job, maybe it's a new relationship, or maybe God is calling you into a new ministry, that you know nothing about.
Let me clarify that the fear I am referring to is not the same fear the Bible talks about Proverbs 1:7: "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." This fear is a heart of reverence, deep respect, worship. Nothing like the terrifying description from above. The fear the enemy brings invites apprehension, panic and dread into our lives. More than a few times these past few weeks, I would wake up in a state of fright, cold and out of breath. It was like a heavy ice blanket was put on me. So what was going on before these fear attacks? My thoughts before bed were out of control, thinking, trying to figure things out, analyzing, helping God figure out what was best for me. I had taken my eyes and focus off of Jesus, I lost my peace and began to try to figure it out myself. Another thing that brings fear is dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. Been doing a lot of that lately myself. "Well, this happened in my past, so what if...". Ah yes! The dreaded, hateful "what if".
"What if I fail?" "What if, what if, what if". The what ifs are destroyers. Those 2 words can and will destroy anything good in their path. At least, in my case when I allow the "what ifs" to get loud and have a place in my heart, I freeze in fear and then I run. Shut the door on blessings, on challenges, on newness of life because "what if". I hurt people I love because the "what ifs" were too much to handle. A doctor told me I was strong in the "fight or flight" personality mainly due to all of the battles I have had to fight for my son, all of the sleepless nights waiting for a seizure to take him over or to watch his breathing during a pneumonia. My body now refuses to sleep deeply, I must always be ready to stand up, fight or run.
When I allow fear to take control, I am no longer trustworthy or stable. This is very scary. Fear is a destroyer. I am truly understanding the difference between God's nudge to change direction and the paralyzing stomping fear. God will speak to us when we are going wrong, but He doesn't use fear. His still small voice blended with conviction and a soft nudge to say "hey, this isn't the right way". Once we obey, a complete and total peace embraces our hearts. I notice that when I obey fear, it just gives birth to more fear and dread. Not to mention, the pain and heartache I cause others by following fear instead of God's voice. Where does it end?
So these next few weeks I will be on a journey, digging up the roots of these fears that want to destroy me, that want me to miss out on God's amazing blessings and plan for my life and that of my children. I invite you to join me as I explore the word of God and seek God's guidance and freedom from fear and anxiety. I hope this will also help you if you are having fears that are disabling God's blessing in your life. It's about trusting God and His plan. It's about letting go of worry and anxiety, about taking chances when we know it is God's will. I don't know about you, but I am ready to live in God's peace and in His will, not in the will of fear.
My hope is to study and share at least 3 verses on fear a day, or a full story in the Bible about someone who faced fear and conquered it. I will be sharing what I learn. I am hoping this will be a blessing to you all.
Til next time...