How God is Helping Me Not To Be Afraid

I haven’t written much in a while, mostly because we were gone on a long trip to see family and friends and I wanted to focus on the folks right in front of me. I wanted to really enjoy them. And I did. 

But, before we left for our trip to Arkansas, I had prayed this little feeble prayer. Sometime in the middle of all the packing and the scrubbing of toilets and carrying out the trash, I had asked God if He would please heal me from fear. I had asked Him specifically if He’d do it while we were in Arkansas, of all places, because fear had begun consuming me again. I struggle with this, and I knew God wanted me to be free but I also knew He had to help me because I was sort of drowning. Fear does that–it has this way of making you feel like you can’t breathe, though you’re standing in the middle of the yard gulping in the breeze.

So, we drove for over 700 miles with this hope tucked down in my heart and a few days in, we sat next to my parents at their church and after the singing, the guy on the stool up front started talking. He had this message for us and I knew it was right from God–he talked to us about fear.

I scribbled down notes and marveled at a Maker who heard His little girl’s prayer. I listened earnestly to what that pastor said.

Fear will paralyze your potential.

Fear hinders your communication with God. 

Fear will cause you to walk in insecurity.

Fear will sabotage success.

I nodded my Amens. 
Because I’ve felt more like hiding my head in the sand than reaching my hand out to help. And I’ve been so busy listening to the intimidating voices in my head, that I’d forget to talk to the One who promises to never leave me or forsake me. And I’ve been so consumed with the what-ifs, that I became blind to all the light and beauty around me. Fear does that. It’ll strangle the life-breath right out of you. When God would have us run free, we’re convinced we’ve got to sit on the couch and cry for all the dread.
I’ve got to let God’s voice be the loudest voice in my head. He is with me. And His perfect love demolishes all the despair. So, I’m learning here, to cast my cares on Him because He’s a kind Daddy who really does care about me. I’ve got this choice to either hold on with this white-knuckle grip to all the angst, or I can drop it there at His feet and then turn around. When fear yells out his crippling threats, I use these able feet to walk right out and leave it far behind.
While we were still in Arkansas, I asked my friend to pray for me–this woman who has loved me like her own all my growing-up years. So, I sat on her couch and we prayed through things and at the end, she put her hands on me and asked God to fill me up. Because when you’re filled to the brim with Light and Love, there’s no more room for anything dark or for pestering thoughts that just make you afraid.
But, I knew I’d still have to do my homework. I’d still have to take my thoughts captive and make them obey. 
We drove the long trek home and scattered toys on these floors again and the next morning, we woke up to a Michigan spring. My eyelids fluttered open and I felt it again–that annoying clutch of fear, like a choke-hold around my heart. I have to choose again and again–whose voice is gonna be the loudest in my head? I made my coffee and sat on the couch with my Bible and I read my Maker’s words, 

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid. He gave us a spirit of power and  love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I walked out in the yard in utter awe of all the living. The grass felt new beneath my feet–every blade. There’s leaves unfurling in the Maples and ant hills underneath the swing. I sat down in a warm patch of sun and just breathed in and out God-peace. The kind that prevails and helps you see all the light in beauty right at your finger-tips.

And it’s not that the panic doesn’t seep back in. It’s just that I’m adjusting my soul-dials to a different tune. God’s sweet grace. I can hear His voice–He’s got the whole world in His hands and I am His. Peace overcomes and fear flees.

The shadows on the lawn are just dappled rays of light. I once was blind. Now, I can see.

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