I don't mean to brag but I'm like really, really good at fearing. Like expert level. Fear olympian, here! I fear things LIKE IT'S MY JOB. My entire, I LITERALLY MEAN ENTIRE, life has been stamped with battling fear. As a young tot I was afraid of everything as small as bugs (yeah, even butterflies), mannequins, any type of conflict, watching the news, and my greatest fear... death.
My life is seemingly divided into chapters of fears that have nearly consumed me.
Fear of Death: Chapter 1-
Soon after my grandma died I had the hardest time dealing with grief. This fear of death grew to where I physically couldn't be in a room by myself without being completely panicked. I was paralyzed by fear. My parents took me to a counselor to help me cope with this loss and these fears. My nightmares of really horrific things continued and I remember feeling stuck. I remember as a little girl in second grade feeling so terrified to sleep by myself. I didn't know how I would ever escape from these awful paralyzing fears.
One day, I felt a breakthrough moment in the countless hours that my sweet dad spent with me drilling bible verses to combat my fears. He came up with these hand movements to help me memorize bible verses specifically about fear. He would point to his eye and I would boldly proclaim, "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:13) Then my daddy would hold up four fingers and I'd nearly shout, "FOR God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7) These bible verses had more impact than any counseling session I had ever gone to. This is when God's word CAME ALIVE to me.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
As I held onto these verses as if they were my life anthem, I saw Jesus remove my fears each day and teach me to trust in Him at a very young age. This completely changed my life. I do believe that the fear of death has been something I've had to daily surrender to God. He's still healing my heart through each season of fighting fears.
Fear of Death: Chapter 2-
Fast forward a few years later, when I was in high school my daddy was diagnosed with cancer. Y'all, cancer sucks. The fear of death entered my feeble heart once again. My dad is one of the most compassionate, kind-hearted, godly men I have ever known. This fear of losing him brought me to me knees. I remember crying out to God with my face literally in the carpet, asking God to heal my dad and to give him strength and to take the cancer out completely. God has blessed me immeasurably with a cancer-free daddy and I am beyond grateful for this healing in his body.
Fear of Death: Chapter 3-
A week before moving off to college, my mom got in a nearly fatal car accident. She called me screaming, wailing that she was crushed in her vehicle and that her legs were broken. There was so much panic and terror in her voice. This phone call had me pleading immediately with God to save her. I sped to the accident scene. I parked and ran to her accordion crushed van and cried as I saw how much pain she was in. I thought she was dying. Re-enter: fear of death. Because I was so hysterical and having an asthma attack the police officers had me move to the other side of the road. I thought this was the last time I'd see my mom alive. I fought and yelled and fought some more. As I paced the other side of the road, I saw the first responders with Life Flight using the "Jaws of Life" to get the door off the crushed car. The other man that crashed into my mom was being covered with a sheet. They took him into the helicopter and took my mom in an ambulance. A stranger stood with me on the side of the road. She held me close, helped me breathe again through my panic/asthma attack, and she prayed with me. An actual, real-life angel. I wish I knew who this woman was so I could thank her for giving me hope, telling me it was going to be okay and helping me breathe. My mom was in ICU and went through many surgeries on her legs, back, and neck. She is a living and breathing testament to God's healing and provision in her life. God has been so incredibly faithful in healing my mom through such a devastating accident. Even in the midst of our deepest fears, He is so so faithful.
Fear of Death: Chapter 4-
This chapter is still fresh. This healing is still happening. If any of you know our story on how we miscarried last October, you know that the fear of death in the womb is one of my greatest fears that I have to DAILY surrender to the God who sustains me. This fear has consumed my thoughts in many sleepless nights. These fears caused me to have a ton of questions that only God could answer. (20 Questions For God After Child Loss) God is in the process of taking these fears from me and replacing them with a promise that He will NEVER leave me. He will carry me in each season and He, Himself will be my peace.
Anyone smelling a theme in my life here?! The fear of death sneaks its way back into my life as we encounter suffering and trials of many kinds. like we were promised.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Dealing with fear my entire life has been something that comes in waves. Just when I think I've got this little habit of fearing under control, I'm tempted to despair and lose hope and faith. I know that the devil can use this fear to cause me to doubt God or not trust in Him. I can't let the devil take a foothold in my life. So knowing this is how the devil may attack me, I need to be armed and ready.
My fear came in the form of dwelling on "what ifs". It came in the form of comparison or fear of rejection. It came to steal my joy. It came to cripple me and bury me. Fear came to suffocate and paralyze me. It came in the form of instant terror and nausea. Fear came and lingered in my depression and anxiety. It came in the nightmares. It came in the daytime. Fear invaded my thoughts, my beliefs, and my spirit. For God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
My anthem verses helped me combat the lies of the enemy.
The lies sounded a little bit like this:
You will never be enough.
God will not heal you (or your family).
God won't provide.
You can't feel God, so He has left you. You are alone.
You are stuck.
There is no way out.
What if... (insert greatest fears here)
Do you find yourself wrestling with fears? No? Just me? Well, here's a couple of questions I ask myself to process through fears.
Always ask yourself-
"What is the lie I am believing?" -
It usually has something to do with God not protecting or providing. Protecting the people I love, or providing our needs or providing healing.
"What does God want me to know in this season?"-
And then, dear friend, we cry out to God and sit and listen. It's awkward to sit in silence, right? I urge you to do it. Try it! Our Father wants to meet with us in these times of desperation and hopelessness so He can fill us back up as we trust in Him. Then dig into the bible and find the hope that you're hungry for. Seek godly counsel. Find a trustworthy friend to lean on and don't be afraid to ask for help. God wants so badly to set your free from your fears! And then, once He has delivered you from them, testify sista!
Psalm 55:4-5, 16-17
"My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking."
"But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice."
When your faith is challenged, lean in and cry out to the Lord.
When your hope is dwindling, cling to Jesus.
When your pain is ever-present, plead for God to give you his peace.
When your heart feels lost, seek Him.
When you don't know if you can go another day because the fear is too intense, see another sunrise and know your life is worth living.
When you feel broken beyond repair, hold onto the hope that our Father will make all things right one day.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
"Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV)
"And which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT)
"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
Here's another post to encourage your heart when you're tempted to fear.