Here it comes, that tightness across the chest, stomach-in-my-throat-kind-of-feeling. I hope you’ve never felt it but I suspect you have. Recently I’ve noticed this sweeping over me more and more regularly to the point where it has become my status quo. It seems to be my go-to reaction for every situation. It’s fear. That dark ominous churning in the gut that signals the start of the end…
Fear and I have a long history.
He’s been like an unwanted suitor hanging around my heels for as long as I can remember. I recall a time when his attempts to infiltrate my life became too much to bear. I don’t even know how it began, how he first crept in, but slowly and surely he stole away my freedom. Rational fear soon grew to take hold of the irrational. Before I realised it I could see a potential disaster in every situation, even my greatest happinesses were flawed by his voice saying this joy wouldn’t last, those things I treasured would surely be snatched away suddenly and without warning. I found myself in a painful, dark hole, buried deep beneath my mountain of concerns, my pile of negativity, very far from the light.
Thankfully I also very clearly recall the day I decided enough was enough. I could either live my life in this cave Fear had assigned me, cowering in the darkness until the day I died, or I could fight for my freedom. Little did I know that day when I decided to fight, just how hard that battle would be. I began each day to talk to my fear, (Yep I know it sounds insane) well maybe ‘quote’ is a better word for what I did. Every time that familiar feeling of dread began to crawl over me, I would quote to him the life-changing truth of God’s word. “Greater is He that is in me” “Nothing can separate me from the love of God” ” He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it” “over and around about me are the everlasting arms”. Quickly my catalogue of weapons from God’s word grew. Day in, day out, I would launch them at my grinning enemy. At first it made no difference. He seemed to smirk at my attempts to oust him, as if he knew sooner or later I would give up and crawl back into my cave. But what he did not know was that I COULD not give up. People I loved dearly had lived for decades in that cave. I knew its cavernous walls like the back of my hand. I had seen the pain of it’s imprint etched on their faces, carved into every choice that they made, and I did not want their fate. No, I would steady myself and remind my soul that this was worth the fight. The alternative was unbearable. Slowly but surely, almost imperceivably his strength faded. One day I woke up and realised he was gone, the cave was no more, I was free.
I have lived in this freedom now for almost a decade, but today I realised something; fear doesn’t know when he is beaten. He’s a clever little rat and crawls back into our lives when we least expect it. This time he didn’t announce his arrival, he just slipped back in the door and made himself comfortable as if this was how things had always been. I fell for it, accepted it, readjusted to the new status quo until my beautiful husband pointed out that I did not have to (he has a habit of spotting things I don’t; I think that’s why God gave me him). “Perfect love casts out all fear,” he reminded me.
So here I am beginning to fight again, deciding to take up arms and show fear the door. I wonder will you fight with me? If fear has tried to lodge in your home, in your life, in your mind, you do not need to make him welcome; there is an alternative. You can consistently and repeatedly remind him of what God has said, fight his lies with truth. Fear does not own you, but he will if you let him. Please, please don’t let him. You weren’t made for that cave, and no matter how deep in that hole you find yourself God can ALWAYS bring you freedom. You just have to follow his voice instead of fear’s.
So here’s to those brave enough to face fear head on. I am praying for strength for you. And on those days when you feel like crawling back into the cave, take a peek at the sunlight of freedom, and remind yourself it’s worth fighting for, for you and for those who come behind you, toddling in your footsteps.