I remember it like it was yesterday.
I would wake up in the middle of the night, frozen with fear.
My heart was pounding, my eyes were wide, my arms were glued to the side of my body.
It happened often – and it was terrifying. The same dream, the same fear, the same paralyzing terror.
Most nights, I would stare at the dancing reflection on my bedroom door and that would calm me. It meant my dad was in the living room watching television. Sometimes that was enough.
But other nights, when the terror was most palpable, I would will myself (after 20 minutes of what seemed like actual immobilization) to run out into the living room and sit in a fetal position on the couch.
I would sit quietly for several minutes with my father – him reclining easily in his chair, me wrapping my arms around my legs, gripping my fingers together like a vise grip.
Finally, I would ask him for reassurance.
“Promise me you won’t die of cancer.”
And he would gently turn his head toward me, sometimes beckoning me to him, other times just saying exactly what I needed to hear. And after some time, I would slip quietly back into my bedroom and fall asleep, praying I wouldn’t have the dream again.
I spent much of my childhood gripped by that nightmare – that possibility. I crossed the bridge, allowed the idea to prance about in my head. I spent too much time worrying that it would actually happen.
And then it did.
Fear (other than the natural fear of touching the stove and other such necessary ones) is a waste of time.
Did you hear me, sweet friends?
Fear and worry are a waste of time.
There’s a reason the bible tells us not to spend our time worrying.
Because it’s a waste of time.
All those years I allowed fear to control me did nothing to change the ultimate ending.
I lost my Dad to cancer in May of 1999, ten days after my wedding (story here).
I developed cancer in my ankle several years later (story here).
And many of my friends and dear ones have struggled with the disease. Some have lost, some have won, but it was a reality.
All of that time, flat on my bed, allowing the war in my mind to beat me was NOT WORTH IT. It didn’t help me have strength, peace, or most importantly, it didn’t keep the cancer from coming.
Simply put, fear does not give us the weapons we need to fight the battle of the mind. It actually provokes us, prods us, penetrates our joy and keeps us from living victorious lives.
So what do we do?
Use tools that help us CHOOSE to live with JOY (ideas here!).
Practice the art of diverting our thoughts to those of that are full of Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
There are some books I have read and enjoyed that help when fear comes knocking on my door:
- Get Out of that Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance – Beth Moore
- The Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer
- Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds – Beth Moore
There are more ideas where this came from, but those are a good place to start.
I have also written down scripture on notecards and placed them in a box in my purse, getting them out anywhere I needed them – the doctor’s office, waiting in line at the grocery store, walking through my house.
The more we practice CHOOSING joy and CHOOSING not to fear or be anxious, the more we grow accustomed to making it a regular habit in our lives.
Just today I was driving in the car with my Mom, reliving some of those childhood fearful places. And my daughter perked up in the backseat and asked why I was afraid.
I explained to her that my being afraid was like expecting a rocking chair to get me to the grocery store. It did nothing for me.
I have a feeling someone needed to read this today. You are afraid of an outcome you aren’t sure about – your kids, your husband, your wife, your job, your health, your finances.
Do all you can possibly do to fix it.
Then stop worrying.
Change your patterns of the mind.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matt 6:25-27 NIV
If you’d like more scriptures that deal with worrying and anxiety, this website has 50 scriptures verses for women about worrying. You can also check out some of these posts about CHOOSING – I hope they encourage your heart today. I am praying for you, friend.
Grief: screaming pain and the journey to joy
Will you help us find this sweet puppy, Maisy?
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