When Fear Threatens to Overwhelm You
The word "fear" is tossed around every day. So much so that it's become just a word people use on a daily basis without giving it real meaning. The truth is fear is scary and dark. It whispers tiny thoughts into your ear. It isolates you and makes you feel completely alone. It clouds your mind until finally the fear fills you like a deep dark pit demanding your attention. Fear mocks you by telling you God is not big enough, that He is not near.
I have always been fearful about everything, ever since I was a child - from making up completely fake scenarios of situations that could happen, to not experiencing certain things because I was afraid. But, it did not escalate out of hand until the last week of last January. My family and I were headed to Disneyworld in Florida. We were munching on junk food while singing loudly to good tunes. Everything was perfect.
We were about a third of the way there when our plans experienced a tiny hiccup. I had this feeling wash over me, a feeling that I cannot quite put into words. I started to feel this odd pain in my chest. I felt like I could not get enough oxygen and my heart was beating so fast I was sure it was going to burst. We were ten hours away from home and stuck in the middle of nowhere. We were unsure of where the nearest hospital was, but thankfully, my mom spotted a state trooper on the side of the road. She quickly flagged him down and the man, with a kind face, was happy to call an ambulance for us.
He kept me calm and gave me helpful instructions to slow my breathing. The state trooper looked at me and asked if he could pray for me. He grabbed my hand and prayed a sweet prayer over my family asking God to keep us safe. Ten minutes later we arrived at the hospital, only to be told I had an asthma attack. We finished out our trip assuming that the doctors were right.
Two weeks after being home my mother and I made our way to a local allergist. I took more tests only to find out there was no way I could have asthma. Then that little voice in my ear started to whisper “you’re not okay.” Three days later and I was back at the hospital for numbing of the face, hands, and feet. I was told to see a cardiologist, only to find no answers there either.
It was not until an appointment with my local doctor that I found answers. Turns out, it was just panic attacks and migraines. At first I was extremely grateful to God that it was nothing worse, but then I wondered what if it was? This thought clouded my mind and produced more fear than I had ever experienced. Over the next months I felt so far away from God, unable to appreciate his love and comfort.
I was so frustrated. I could not understand what God wanted me to take from this experience, until I remembered that two nights before my trip, I asked God to help me put my trust in him.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13
So, I searched out verses like this that proclaimed nothing was bigger than God, but I only found a short amount of comfort in them. I knew God was all-powerful but I still couldn’t trust Him to keep me safe.
Eventually, God showed me that the reason fear engulfed my trust in Him was because in times of need I did not fully lean on him. When I became fearful I ran to my parents, material things, or food. My nagging fear was an obvious sign that I did not think God could protect me. But, I look at these past months and see all the times He was watching over me. He blessed my family with the presence of that state trooper. He allowed the doctors to figure out what was wrong. He guided me back to the night that I asked Him to help me trust Him.
The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that was a coincidence. When fear begins to fill your mind, run to the Lord and do not wait until you’re drowning in terror like I was. Do not keep it bottled inside of you. The more you lean on Him, the less fear you’ll have. Although I don’t know what you might be fearful of today, the best advice I can give you is to put your trust in God.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” -Psalm 56:3
The truth is, I am still afraid. I deal with fear every day. I was so frustrated at God for what happened that I was completely blinded by what He was doing for me. If you’re fearful of something, then I urge you to just take a moment with him and pray. Lean on him for guidance and understanding. He hears you and yearns for you to talk to Him about what you're battling with. Do not push Him away in this time of need. God created us as to be dependent on Him. The Lord will take this time in your life and twist it around into something so beautiful. The God who created you, who placed each hair perfectly upon your head, will not leave you in a time of need.
Remember, when you find yourself fearful, surrender it all to the one who holds your soul in the palms of His hands.
// image via Tumblr (original source unknown)