I've blogged about the topic of fear before, although very few people I know...know. It's one of those "dirty secrets" I don't share a whole lot. And y'know what? The enemy looooves it when we keep our struggles to ourselves. No one can join us in prayer, we feel alone and "weird," and we have to battle it alone. Which only adds to the fear and worry!!
I have made a commitment to God that I would be open about this, in the hopes that it will help someone out there on their journey. Plus, the freedom to share about it lessens my burden and has the added benefit of encouraging people to pray for me! Plus, when we're open about these things, it takes the wind out of the enemy's sails.
After I finally shared about my struggle with two trusted women at my church, one said, "Oh, I bet the enemy just hates it that you told us that!" I like it when I can tick him off.
So let us begin this journey together. Let's take a look at FEAR.
First of all, here's a great acronym for F.E.A.R.:
False Evidence Appearing Real.
As Christians, as Christ-followers and friends of God, there is truly nothing to fear.
Worry comes in many forms.
While sick with a stomach bug Friday night (during the one night my hubby was away from home in months, how does that work??), I had somewhat of a "fear attack." Less panic, more fear. And nothing super-specific, just a vague unsettled feeling. It didn't end there, however. It tapped into a deeper fear of being sick and alone and it was hard for me to shake for a couple days afterward. The sickness hit me in waves, too, much like labor, which also tapped into my fears concerning my upcoming birth. Great combination, huh?
I take incidents like that and call them "spiritual wake-up calls." I tell myself, "You're out of balance, girl. Get it together." I know that isn't how God wants me to live my life.
I know my fears are based on non-reality and lies of the enemy. But still, especially when I'm sick, it's easy to let my mind wander and to allow the worry to creep in.
I'm purposely using fear and worry interchangeably here, and I think that's appropriate. When I'm worried, it's because I'm scared and when I'm feeling worried, the root of it is fear.
So. I set myself on a path to make myself right again with the Lord. I had a loooong talk with my husband (thank you, Love, you are my rock) and picked up my Joyce Meyer book, "The Battlefield of the Mind." I went through and read the applicable chapters and the chapter entitled "Our Responsibility--God's Responsibility" had a truth that stood out the most made a brave statement:
"Worry is a sin against God."
My fear, my worry...it's not "normal?" It's not "just part of being human?"
A sin!! Against God! Reaaaaalllllyyyy???
And the more I read, the more I talked to my husband, the more I listened to the Holy Spirit...the answer was clear. Yes. Worry is a sin against God. It's nothing to be taken lightly. While it may be common and while it may seem normal and like everyone else is doing it, it's still a sin! If you want to argue that point, then I'll say it's a sin for me.
So that lead me to two objectives:
1. Get right with God again. Basically, renew my mind.
2. Fight off the enemy's attacks with this fear and worry nonsense.
1. Repent of the worry. Ask for, and receive, his peace.
2a. My hubby, Drew, gave me a great suggestion and he called it a "prayer target." Choose something to pray about. Something I feel strongly about, something "close" to me, something that that really matters. And every time I feel the fear or worry creeping in, PRAY. The line of thought goes that if you're praying every time you feel attacked, the attacks stop. The enemy doesn't want to be met with prayer, especially when it edifies the church and brings glory to God! My prayer is for our church, that is is truly a light to the community and is serving people's needs. More specifically, I'm praying for our pastor and for the women's ministry leader. For their ministries, for their protection, for vision, etc. The enemy won't like that one bit.
2b. Drew also encouraged me to take a look at those moments when the fear does creep in, to see what's setting it off. There's probably a root to it, be it a lie or an emotion, and knowing that will help me #1, see it coming and #2, fight back even more.