For as long as I can remember fear has been a huge part of my life. When I was little I would wake up in the middle of the night and crawl into bed with my mom and dad because I was afraid of the dark. I was terrified of flying. I would cry hysterically whenever I would have to get on a plane. Ask my brother-in-law about this one. He got to experience it first hand when he went on vacation with us for the first time. I was afraid of tornadoes and thunderstorms. I would watch the weather all day if there was a chance of a thunderstorm and make myself physically ill over the thought of bad storms. And I would be the first one in the basement at the first sight of rain. When I was a teenager I still slept with my mom because I was afraid someone was going to break into my house. Probably because someone tried one night. As an adult I still fight the fear of storms and flying. I am also afraid something will happen to my children or Rob. I hate staying by myself when Rob is out of town. In fact, until recently I would go stay at my moms while he was gone. I am insecure in relationships which stems from a fear of being abandoned, rejected or betrayed. I am afraid of the "what if" and constantly play out "what if" scenarios in my mind.
A few weeks ago a friend and I began reading the book, "What Women Fear" by Angie Smith. (Angie is a blogger at Bring the Rain. I was vaguely familiar with her story regarding her daughter's birth and death, but I was not aware of the struggle with fear she has had. I encourage you to read her story.) I knew when I picked it up that there would be a few chapters that I would be able to relate to. What I was not prepared for was being able to relate to every single one. Each time I start the chapter I read the title and the subtitle, for example...Chapter 1 Sitting by the Well, fear of the "What if" and I think, "yeah, I can relate" or Chapter 5 Wind and Waves, Fear of death, "Nah, I am not afraid of dying. I know where I am going." And by the end, I am convicted of how the fears she spoke of in the chapter totally relate to me. I think there have been 2 chapters (out of 7 so far) that I feel like were not written just for me. 2 CHAPTERS!!!!!! I would say fear has had a pretty good hold on me.
However, God has used this book, along with memorizing scripture, to help me to come face to face with some of these fears and then overcome them. To be honest, this is something He has been working on for about the past year. You may remember the trip to Mexico and all the "what if" scenarios and the trip to the park. And let's not forget there was a plane ride. Then Africa happened. Where I was flying over the ocean, without my kids. And then there was my 2nd trip to Africa with another plane ride and this time with my kids! Through each one of these trips God worked out some major fears. I came back from my first trip to Africa and wrote a post about what if I would have said no. And my fear changed from being afraid of what could happen to being afraid of what I would have missed.
There is a sentence in the book, "I wanted to look at the ocean like it was beautiful and not something that could swallow me up." (Probably one of my favorite sentences in the whole book.) That is me...I look at things and think "what if". What if the plane crashes? What if a tornado hits my house? What if something happens with this friendship? What if Rob dies? What if my kids get sick? And the list goes on and on.
But now I can ask the question, What if I miss something incredible the Lord has for me? What if I have an incredible experience? What if I have a beautiful friendship if only for a short time? What if I get a special moment with my kids? What if...and the list goes on and on.
I have been forced to ask myself, "Where is my faith?" (Luke 8:25) Is it in my house with locked doors? Is it in the basement? Is it in other people? Is it in the borders of my country? Or is it truly in my Savior...the Sovereign God?
Let's be clear about something, I have not completely overcome these fears. Each day is a battle. Some I win (like riding the ferris wheel Thursday) some I lose (like waking up in the middle of the night and checking to make sure the doors are indeed locked.) But through the power of the Holy Spirit I can face these fears.
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and self-control."
2 Corinthians 10:5
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."