The Grip of Fear {and how to overcome it}

This really happened.

She was walking to pick her children up from school.  They were not old enough to walk by themselves.  School finished at 3.25pm.  As she crossed the street from her house, she pulled her phone and looked at the time.  It read 4.20pm.

Confusion struck first.  4.20?  That was a whole hour later than it should have been.  What had happened?  Had she lost a whole hour?

She wasn’t wearing a watch, so it wasn’t possible to tell what had happened.  Surely she hadn’t lost track of time…

She quickened her pace a little.  Her heart quickened a little too.

 

The streets were quiet.  Nothing to be heard but the chirping birds and the occasional rumble of a distant car.

If it was 4.20, then where were her children?  It couldn’t be 4.20…surely they would have found their way home, or found someone who could have helped them…surely they would have gone back into school and said that mum hadn’t picked them up…

But none of those things had happened.  So where were they?  What HAD happened?

Her pace quickened again and her mind filled with a muddle of fear and rationality.  Surely the time on her phone had somehow changed.  But HOW? But surely it had been altered without her realising…but what if that HADN’T happened?

Fear and rationality do not mix.  They are oil and water in our minds.  We can’t think straight and with fear.  All that happens is, when they both preside over our minds, we sway between them, churning one beside the other.  Fear overtakes.  Then rationality overtakes.  The it’s back to fear again.  One might be deeper and stronger, but the end product?  Just an overwhelming set of toxic emotions that fail to help us.

Somehow that day, the time on my phone changed.  I don’t know how.

I arrived at school, breathless and panicked, to see rows of cars, casually still.  Parents milling about, chatting, waiting.  The school bell rang and the kids poured out.

It seems crazy to repeat it.  It probably seems crazy to read it.  But fear grips hard if you let it.  It is a poisonous death knell to peace.

Max Lucado writes in his book ‘Fearless’: “Imagine your life wholly untouched by angst.  What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?”

Lucado

Faith is the peaceful antidote to fear.

Overcoming Fear

I long for that antidote to be fully evident in my life.  For it to pervade every fibre of my being so that angst, anxiety, fear have no place in my heart and mind.

But how do we get there?

We look to the one who says Do not fear, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10).

  1. PRAY

George Muller was a 19th Century evangelist who built an orphanage where he cared for over 10, 000 orphans.   Muller prayed about everything, building a remarkable ministry by determining never to ask for a penny, but to pray it in.

Our heavenly father knows what we need and he wants us to bring our requests to him.  Prayer is the means by which we grow closer to him, build our relationship with him and know that he hears us.

When we pray to the One who says Do not fear, we can trust his faithfulness in knowing that he has all things in his hands.

Mulle

2. READ

It is difficult to trust someone we don’t know.  Even when our children are small, we teach them not to trust people they don’t know.  How then can we trust God if we don’t know him?

The more we read the Bible, the more we see God and his faithfulness.  We will know what he has to say about our lives, our fears and anxieties.  When we see and know what God has done, our faith will increase.

3. LEARN

In those moments, when we are away from having a physical Bible in our hands, when we are uttering silent prayers, what else can we do?  Know the word.  Learn scriptures that we can call to mind when we are lost, or alone, or scared, or feeling the wild pull of anxiety tugging hard.

We will know he says:

Do not fear, for I am with you Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and of good courage Deuteronomy 31:6

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

psalm 56 3

4. DO IT AGAIN

Forming these healthy habits will only come when we repeat them.  I am not always sure that anxiety won’t come knocking at my door.  I am not always sure that I won’t open it and let it in, like a whirlwind.  But I do know that the more I pray, read and learn the Bible, the less room there is for fear to live.

Early on in my married life, I remember my husband’s advice.  When thoughts come creeping in that are unhelpful, or damaging, or riddled with the disease of fear, flick them out.  Make a conscious effort to ping them back and away, so they don’t occupy even the smallest corner of the smallest room in your mind.  And replace them with words that are full of life and peace.

Grace and Love

 

Helen x

Comments

  1. Joyce reid says:

    I’m going to try harder to”ping” unhelpful thoughts away. What a great new thing to practise.

    Like

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