Do you live with fear? Last night a friend and I were sharing our fears. Only those close to me know that I battle anxiety. It started over ten years ago. When my panic attacks first arrived to greet me I seriously thought I was dying. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was fearful to go to sleep at night. I was pretty much fearful of everything. When they first started, I stayed awake for days at a time, in fear that I would die in my sleep. They came at the same time my migraines really hit hard. So, I was totally thrown for a loop. I felt as though a noose was around my neck and the horse was gonna bolt at any time. Living in fear is not living.
Over the years they have gotten much better. I've been under the care of some amazing doctors who have helped me get it under control. But my attacks still come. Most of the time out of no where. I have learned all the signs that one is coming. Many times a migraine will follow. We aren't sure if the migraines caused the panic or the panic caused the migraines. Either way, it is a toxic combination for me. Let me tell you, my migraines also brought a deep fear.
You just gotta love those people who say, "It's all in your head", or "Just learn to breathe through it". I've had people in my life who haven't understood. Some think it's a weakness. I've even had people say, "Maybe your just not right with the Lord". Really? I gotta tell ya, that one hurts. I'm sure some just think of me as being far from my faith. That couldn't be further from the truth. But for the most part I have been blessed to have loving people surround me. One of those being my husband who is forever at my side.
My faith has grown through my fears. Yes, I know, people say there is no fear in faith. I have heard it said that, fear is the absence of faith. Not so. It is through my fear that I have found my Savior holding my hand. I have witnessed Him calming force wash over me. I have seen His strength move through me. It is my fear that call upon the Lord. He forever answers. He is my Keeper. He is my Calm in the storm. When the tears are flowing when I'm in the midst of an attack He is there to weather the storm with me. There are times He removes that attack and there too are times when the attack remains, but He provides me with all I need to get through. I know with my Savior at my side everything is going to be all right.
It has been in my deepest fears that I found how strong and mighty the Lord is. It is when you feel like your at the end and you have nothing that you find you have everything in Christ.
I have fear of big crowds and being alone in the midst of a mob. This could be why this girl has never gone out to shop on Black Friday. I hate elevators. One of the sweetest gestures from my husband occurs when we step into a crowed elevator. He gently takes my hand. He knows the fear that is about to erupt from inside me. Just feeling his gentle hand brings comfort to me. Lately I have even feared driving. We all have some kind of fear. The thing is, does it hold us back from living? In my case, for many years it truly did. I was in fear in leaving home because I had no idea when a panic attack would hit and then what would I do?
Over time I have learned to accept my panic attacks. My panic attacks have been due to my thyroid, or lack of one if you will. It's one of the signs that my thyroid meds are not working as they should. So, if you could call a panic attack a gift, it's my cue to go in and see my doctor to have blood work done. Sure, I pray the Lord will remove them, but so far, He hasn't. He has brought comfort to me and has given me strength to face each and every one. Just knowing I'm not alone makes all the difference. But see, I believe He has used these attacks to bring me closer to Him. Remember, God can bring beauty from ash. He can take our darkest moments and bring light to them.
He has taught me much about myself through my fears. Most of all, He has taught me to simply open my hand to Him and surrender all. Friends, this is one of the fears I have struggled with. Losing control. Now this one is a mind game because there isn't much we have control over. So, I had to come to totally trust my Savior. No matter what happens in my life He is there. He is there before it happens. He is there during the circumstance and He will be there long after all others have left.
I have struggled with the fear of failure. There are times I am soaring high and others where I feel so very small. In my lowness I cry out to the Lord and He lifts me up above my fears and gives me encouragement to press onward, never giving up, but always trusting Him.
I have heard His voice in the dark of the night. I have felt Him take my hand as I sit in the silence of my truck. He has moved from the pages of His read Word and has given me hope. He has delivered me through those fears that try to hold me captive. Strength rises as the Lord fills us with empowering hope that reminds us that we can conquer all through our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is nothing that can hold us back when we call upon the Lord.
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love." Romans 5:3-5
"For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory." Psalm 32:7
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1
"Be still and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10a
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
When I'm alone at night and fear hits me I open the Word of the Lord. One of the verses that has brought me comfort and strength is Hebrews 4:12-13. Just knowing He knows every detail of my life brings a peace. It lifts up past my fear and gives me the assurance that through all my Savior is there with me and it is through Him that I find victory.
"For the Word of the God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in ALL creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the One to whom we are accountable."
So with each new day I press on, knowing the God of my Salvation, is in total control of my life. He was there from the beginning and He will remain with me until that pure moment of grace when we meet face to face. This life cannot give me perfection. I will face fears and trials I don't want to experience, but through it all, Jesus is there to guide me to safety. It is in His arms I my refuge.
"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling." Philippians 3:12-14
What fears are you facing today? Are you afraid of what is to come? Are you facing an illness your not prepared for and didn't see coming? Is it those who are unsaved that stir your heart to fear? Is it losing your loved ones? Failure? Exposure? Could it be just letting go? We face all kinds of fear on a daily basis. Mine just happens to be met face to face as anxiety. But this is nothing God can't handle. Run to Jesus today. Call upon His name. He can bring a calm. He can stir a prayer. The Holy Spirit is with us, alive and present, ready to move on our behalf. Friends, don't let your fears control you. Meet them face to face, head on, with the knowledge that Christ has the victory. You too can have victory over your fears through letting go and trusting the mighty Savior, who is bigger than any Goliath we will ever encounter.
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Lord Jesus, may You bring healing today for those hurting. Bring comfort to those facing fear. Surround those facing fear with a strength that can only come from Your mighty hand. Remove all doubt and fear from those facing trials today. Ease their burden and give them a peace that surpasses all understanding. Remove their chains of bondage today and bring them a life of freedom. Jesus, thank You. Thank You for being with me and allowing me to face my fears. Giving me all I need to soar above them trusting You are in control of all. As they breathe You in, may You release in them victory that conquers all fear.