QUIET-TIME REFLECTIONS firstname.lastname@example.org
Week of: Jan. 24, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.”
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Fear is very much related to how we process our thoughts. As a young girl I can remember my peers telling me about the boogieman. Thinking about him often caused me to fear being left alone, and darkness always elevated those fears. I was sure he was lurking around the corner and was going to hurt me at anytime. It wasn’t until I reached a level of maturity that I was able to conclude on my own that he was not real. It didn’t matter how many adults tried to tell me that he did not exist; I had to somehow adjust my thinking and believe in my heart that they were indeed telling me the truth.
As a teenager my fears turned to my parents dying in some kind of car accident and then me having to live with relatives or worse yet strangers. Failure was also another fear of mine. I placed high expectations on myself and I often feared disappointing others. Because I lacked self-confidence, I was convinced that I would never have a boyfriend and I would always be alone. I also had an overwhelming fear of news events that often caused me to fear becoming a victim of a crime. Ironically, today my family teases me because I have to watch the top of the news.
Unfortunately, these fears carried on into adulthood where they began to magnify. When I became a mother I was gripped with the fear that my babies would die. I also dealt with high anxiety levels every time my husband didn’t come through the door at the expected time. And when someone was diagnosed with cancer, I knew I would be next. Some of you reading today might be tempted to think, “she was messed up in the head,” and I could respect that. I actually began to question my own sanity over time. Thankfully after seeking out some help years later, I learned that much of this fear had manifested from what physiologists now refer to as “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Originally my OB/GYN chalked my fears up to the typical “baby blues,” prescribed some medication and sent me on my way.
(PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing an event that results in psychological trauma. This disorder may be diagnosed after a person has experienced a traumatic event, and long after the event, the person still mentally re-experiences the event along with the same feelings of anxiety that the original event produced.
This disorder often manifests itself through flashbacks and disturbances in sleep. It is not uncommon for people who have experienced unexpected tragedy, combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, or violent personal attacks to be diagnosed with this disorder. In my case I had never properly processed what I experienced the morning of Feb. 12, 1984 when my family home caught fire. The charred ruins and the deaths of my brother and cousin weighed heavily on my mind long after that event. I suffered silently for many years before I discovered that I had not grieved or processed that event properly.
It was after the birth of my second child by emergency C-section that I was sure my fears were becoming a reality. I can remember trembling uncontrollably during her birth and especially after we learned that our baby girl had suffered a lack of oxygen and seizures at birth. It was touch and go for several days. We were told to brace ourselves for possible blindness, or the possibility that her mobile skills would be low functioning. This would all depend on the area of possible brain damage. It was during that time that I really believe God was beginning my journey from fear to a genuine sense of faith. 14 days in the ICU afforded me plenty of prayer time and as you can imagine, God and I had many conversations. Most went something like “God if you will…then I will…”
I am happy to report that God held up His end of our conversations and our baby girl is now 19 years old. There was no brain damage, no blindness, and she actually walked at 9 ½ months. I would like you to understand that I have never forgotten that miracle. However, back then I was grateful for the miracle; but I stayed locked in fear until one day about 10 years later, I finally lived up to my end of the bargain and unlocked the door and let God into my heart (Rev. 3:20). It was there that God began to heal me from being paralyzed by my fears along with many other things we had to work on. It was certainly not a pleasant process; and if I’m not careful I’m back in God’s classroom receiving reminders. I want to encourage you today that it is possible to be free from worry, fear, and anxiety; when we replace those things with genuine faith in the God of the Bible (Exodus 20:3).
May I share a few ways that I keep myself grounded in faith over fear these days? First and foremost, I claim God’s promises as I work to stand firm in God’s truth. Hebrews 13:5 reminds me that God will never leave or forsake His children. We will have all we need to make it through our days, those that are easy, and those that might be more challenging when we stay connected to Him. Although I have not yet fully arrived, I have asked Jesus into my heart to be my Lord and Savior, therefore His instructions to “fear not” (Isaiah 41:10) apply to me today. The truth is, in this life bad things will happen to good people. We live in a fallen world full of sin and disease. But, do not be deceived! God is still very much in control of this earth and His people. GOD wins (Revelation 20:11-15) and if you are a believer in Christ, you win too! The end has already been written.
I also like to meditate on Psalm 56:3-4 - “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Being free from fear does not mean you will no longer have valid concerns. What it means is that you will surrender your concerns to God immediately. You will pray often and trust that His outcome will be for the greater purpose of God’s Kingdom plan. And you will rest in His peace (John 14:27).
Finally, I keep the following passages on 3x5 index cards. My top card reads: “Fear vanishes when exposed to the promises of God’s Word.” I encourage you to look up these Scriptures and allow God to use them to strengthen you. Be blessed.
FEAR: Duet. 31:6, Psalm 118:6, 2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 13:6, Psalm 27:1, Luke 1:30,Isaiah 41:13, Luke 2:10, John 14:27, Exodus 14:13, Psalm 23:4.