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Finally, Facing Our Fear

Finally, be strong in The Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. and pray in the spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians - 6:10-18

Do I put my armor on every morning? No...or I wouldn’t continue to struggle with fear like I do. What about you?

I had a friend remind me of the above verses recently. My struggle with fear is a spiritual battle against evil. I have to put my armor on every day, or I am left vulnerable to enemy attack.

This is not my first struggle with consuming fear. I have struggled with fear my entire life. It feels like an old "friend" (an unwelcome one). I worry and my stomach twists in knots, playing things over and over in my mind, thinking of all the horrible possibilities. I always jump to the worst possible thing that could happen, convincing myself that it's going to turn out awful every time.

I can catch myself saying to others; "It's just my personality. It's the way I am. I tend to worry a lot and get anxious."

Actually, I realize saying that is just an easy way to try to explain away my sin. God tells us many times in His Word not to worry, and not to be anxious. He never tells me with condemnation (Romans 8:1), but gently and patiently.

I think there are brief moments when it's okay to be afraid; we are human. This world is a scary place sometimes. We all experience fear, founded or not. But when we obsess over our fear, and keep going over and over it in our minds, until it is consuming all our thoughts (and energy!); this is not okay. We need to take our fears to Jesus, release them, and then LEAVE THEM WITH HIM.

But what if He doesn't do anything? What if our worst fear comes true?

So.. we take our fears back up again, and keep them on own own shoulders, afraid we can't trust God with them.

But even on the days when we do put my armor on, what do we do with the list of fears raging inside our heads? How do we find victory on a daily basis (not just on extra good days) in the battle against fear?

We could try a lot of different things, but I believe there is only one thing that truly works every time.

We need to get our "Sword" out. Our "Sword" is the Word of God. It has the power we need to defeat our fears, and our enemy who uses fear to attack us.

Here are the steps I believe will help us find victory over our fears:

  1. Write out your list of fears - be specific. God already knows your fears: this list is for you.
  2. Confess each fear to God. Take that fear and bring it into His light. Tell Him your worst fears - He knows them anyway. Again, this process is more for you.
  3. Write down the lie you are believing about each specific fear.
  4. Replace the lie with a Scripture that you look up or a statement of truth - write it on a notecard.
  5. Put the note cards somewhere convenient and easy to see. Any time you feel fear rearing it's ugly head, get out the notecards and read them out loud until you've found peace again and you are refocused on truth.
  6. Repeat this as often as needed throughout the day (and it may be often!).
  7. Pray for God's protection for your mind and heart as you do this. Satan will attack you and try to cause doubts to form in your mind. Have a trusted friend pray for you through this process.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. - James 4:7-8

He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. - John 8:44

I thought I would give an example of a fear I struggle with, using the steps I described above:

My fear:
I'm afraid that my youngest son, who has severe food allergies, will die from an allergic reaction.

The lie:

I can't trust God with my children; I need to control every situation so that will never happen (as if I can control anything!).

Replace the lie with truth from God's Word:
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (stayed on You), because he trusts in you. Trust in The Lord forever, for The Lord, The Lord is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4 (Other helpful verses here: Isaiah 33:6, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 12:2, 1 John 4:4, 1 Peter 5:7)

List several statements of truth:
(a very wise friend shared these statements of truth with me, specific to Cole and his allergies):

  1. I am the best mom for Cole. God chose me to be his mother. 
  2. God will give me the grace and skills I need to take care of a scary situation if it happens again. 
  3. I am prepared. I have an Epipen and the other equipment and medicine I need if he has an reaction. I know what to do. Epipens work. The likelihood of him dying is very low because I am prepared for an emergency. 
  4. Cole is okay right now. Enjoy him and love him. He is a healthy and happy baby. 
  5. Trust God and His perfect will. He loves Cole more than I do (and these statements apply to all of my children).

I must choose to trust God. Period.

I must choose to trust God with my son. I must choose to trust God with all of my children.

I must choose to trust God with my husband, my family, my finances, my dreams, my heartbreaks, my friends, my life, my heart...my fears.

The opposite of fear is trust. Trusting God is a choice I make (or don't make) every day.

A hard truth for me to swallow: Trusting God doesn't mean we trust God as long as He keeps our worst fears from happening. Do I trust God only if my worst fears never happen? If they do happen, then God must not be trustworthy, right?....This line of thinking is from the enemy and it is bondage.

I will never have any stability or security if I think this way. I must trust God no matter what. I must drop the conditions off of my trust; or it's not really trust. This is where faith comes in.

So let's say my worst fear comes true. What then? How would I survive?

I honestly can't imagine surviving: but I know that somehow, I would. I cannot imagine a more painful, devastating road than losing a child, and my heart aches for those who have. I can't imagine how you would ever be the same. God would have to do a miracle to keep me going, because I wouldn't want to. But in the end, I believe I would get up and choose to live (even if it took a long time for me to feel that way). Because I would have to choose to live for the rest of my family. I would have to choose to keep going so that I could help someone else survive (and even find joy again) the same unimaginable journey. It would be the only way to redeem the pain. It's the only way to redeem the pain in any difficult circumstance.

I pray that God's plan for my life isn't losing one of my children to an allergic reaction, or anything else. I must keep my mind from running ahead of God (with the help of His Spirit). I can't spend my time dwelling on the fears that are not a reality, or I will lose out on the joy God has for me now. God knows when I will need grace for something happening in my life. I will have the strength I need for that time, at that time. Why borrow trouble when it's not even there?! It is a waste of precious time and energy.

So what do I do from here?

I must be active and deliberate about facing my fears. I must give them to God. I must trust Him in all things. I must replace the lies in my head with the truth of God's Word and with encouraging and logical statements of truth (have a trusted loved one help you with these).

I must step out in faith. I cannot let my fears keep me from living the abundant life God wants for me. (see John 10:10) Fear kills abundant life.

As I take a first step of obedience (in whatever circumstance I am in, God will supply the power and courage I will need to take other steps, even when I'm afraid. So, regarding Cole and his allergies, my next steps will be:

  • Keep looking to his Pediatrician again for guidance.
  • Have further testing done for specific food allergies.
  • See an allergy specialist if needed.
  • Make sure my caregivers/babysitters for Cole are educated on what to do if he has an allergic reaction.
  • Try new foods with Cole very cautiously, using the knowledge I've received by researching and talking to friends who have gone through the same experience (I'm so thankful for those friends who remind me I am not alone in this trial).

All of these steps bring me a bit of anxiety at times, but I must take the next steps, with God as my Guide, my Strength, and my Security. Each time I feel the fearful thoughts come to my mind, I need to take them to Jesus (and get out my notecards!).

Where is God calling you to take your next step? Is there something you know He wants you to do but you are afraid? Take a step of faith (and courage from the Holy Spirit), and trust God for the rest. Easier said than done (I know), but let's remember that we have the Creator of the universe on our side, and he is our Dad. He is for us, not against us. (Romans 8:31)

Lord, help us finally use our your Word and our Sword to cut loose this stronghold of fear, and place them into your capable and loving hands. Forgive our endless fears. Help us to give our fears to you as they come, and then leave them there. Lord, help us to let go, and let You. I place my sweet son Cole in your loving hands - as well as my other children Ethan, Maya, Gery and Kendyl. I know You love them more than I could ever imagine. And You love us that much too. We are so grateful for your endless patience with us. Amen.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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