The Cure to Fear?

“… for a day in your courts is better than 1,000 years outside… No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprigthly…” Psalm 84

 

Fear and anxiety deplete life. They hang around your neck like a noose, they swarm over you like a cold sweat, they keep your eyes open to anything and everything that “could” happen with no rest. It sucks to live in fear, in the “what if”, in the unknown. There’s no comfort because what can we know? What do we as humans have control over? What circumstances should we be prepared for? It’s depleting, it’s agonizing, it’s overwhelming to live this way.

 

And that’s where I’ve been the last few month – paralyzed by fear. As my friends well know, it started with my health. Things started happening that I had NO control over. They’d happen and it felt as if I were close to death at times! But, I cannot be sick! I cannot DIE! I have so much more planned! So much more I want to accomplish. So many more memories I want to make with my husband, with my friends. So many people I want to see grow. Even as I type it now – I think of those things with an attitude of “mine”.

 

But as death seemed more plausible (was it? I don’t think so. I never was in danger of death as much as anyone else is… But there were many times it FELT like it. My heart beating way too fast for days, my throat closing, my chest pain… It sure did feel like something was very wrong.) So, the more death loomed, the more I lived in fear. It’s happening. It’s going to happen and I have absolutely NO control of it happening. And I started to grieve. Even if I didn’t die, I grieved the pain I was experiencing, the nights missed due to this sickness, my old life that I feel I’ll never be able to return to. The opportunities the doctors say will be “risky” and will need “supervised”. This isn’t what I thought life would be! It made me not look forward to life and not want to out of fear. How can I hope if it’s all going to go away/be wrong?

 

So, this fear has been weighing on me. It still has a little hold. But recently, God gave me the opportunity to take some time dwelling on one of his characteristics: Sovereignty. Sovereignty… Not something I’ve pondered too much before. Why should I? College kids don’t really care what happens tomorrow – Gods plan was easy to trust bc at least he had one. Live or die – who cares! Life is awesome! I realized that the older I have become, the more I cling to what I want out of life. The more responsibilities I have, the more I feel tied down to earth and not heaven. The more people I love, the more I get attached to our experiences together on earth. The more I could lose, you know?

 

Sovereignty was a wake up call. Sovereignty proves that GOD is in control. He has a plan. He knows everything. And it will happen the way he wants it to. Now, something I never understood before is that God isn’t necessarily orchestrating the bad stuff, the stuff I’m afraid of happening, but he is using it. He uses the good and the bad to accomplish his bigger plan and to get us to be a part of it. The more I ponder this, the more anxiety I feel!! Because that means things WILL GO WRONG!! Right? Of course they will! It’s life! Things need to go wrong for God to use them for good! Oh God – what does that mean, what’s going to happen to me? I don’t think I could take more pain, the thought of leaving my husband alone or him leaving me!

 

And God had an answer to these fears. It was a simple answer, one I hear OFTEN. BUT is so hard to accept. His answer is this: Don’t you trust me?

Hmm… well, no, I guess I don’t. You see, God, I want things my way! I want my memories, my life, my relief! I don’t want things to go wrong. But… God doesn’t promise things to always go right. And frankly, he allows free will – which includes evil, which means bad things will happen in this life. BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN, ELLI! And that’s not on God.

What is on him is trust. Am I willing to let him work out good through the bad? I am about to go on a plane and my silly anxiety of course popped up: “Hey Elli, what if you all die in a plane crash?” That’s ridiculous. Not because it’s not possible, but because I can’t control that! And I realized, through the lens of God’s sovereignty that if I did… He’ll use it! Somehow, he will use the plane crash for our good, his glory and the benefit of other people/the expansion of his Kingdom!

 

THAT is crazy. That’s wild! This is ENTIRELY eye opening to me! God can do so much with our trust and our anti-trust (fear/anxiety) prohibits him from enjoying a life lived in his hands. That even if there is pain, hurt, disappointment, failure – he can still use it. Will we trust him with it? Will we LET GO so that he can work? So that we can enjoy life, NOT tied to our circumstances, but free to see what he does with the evil that happens? He can make ALL things good for those who seek Him. For those who fear him. For those who trust him.  His ways are NOT our ways! They’re so much better! We do NOT have to fear for God is with us! His presence alone can reassure us that whatever happens, no matter what, he will be there, with us, with those affected, using it for his glory, our good and the expansion of His Kingdom.

 

Oh Lord, I pray SO MUCH that you help me RELEASE my grip & control on my circumstances! That you BUILD my trust in you by getting to know you – so my trust can be in YOU, who you really are and not in my doubts. Lord, Let me see you for who you really are and NOT what my stupid sinful heart and mind have put you into. I am CONVINCED that all of our problems stem from what we know of you! Lord, open my heart to see your face more and more everyday. Help me let go of my fear, what I cling to, and open my heart to what you have in store. No matter what happens. I know you can make good happen out of ANYTHING! PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is good!

Help me, I’m suffering

Here are some silly thoughts as I’m processing some pain:

As the weeks go by, I can’t help but become more frustrated! Less & less do my past passions seem real. I was young, naive (okay, still both). Unable to understand the extent of what I proclaimed. But coming face to face with pain — it’s hard not to think of anything else other than the pain. And that truth, those passions = dust. Popped, withered, scattered around. Trampled on. Lifeless. Not true to me now!
Yet, God has set me up for this. I see it every day. While my flesh wants to react against it – no, there’s no way out of this. It hurts! That’s all! …My Father raps my shoulder to show me – “Did I not introduce you to certain words, certain people, certain ideas from a young age (those “dusty passions” you threw off so quickly) for this very moment? You fell head over heals for the powerful, steadfast women who soothed you then and are trying to soothe you now. Corrie, Elisabeth, Amy, Rose Marie, Martha… their words lights to you in your emotional distresses, now beacons in your physical and fear. Can’t you remember the truth? Can’t you remember the words in the Book? The truth, the life, the freedom… They’re real. I can handle it. Trust.”
Alas, my issue from years ago haunts me still… But it doesn’t FEEL LIKE IT, God! I just want it to be OVER! To this, I haven’t had an answer and I know I don’t get one. What I get is this: trust everyday. The pain is temporary, but life is eternal.
“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.”
Hebrews 2:1 (weird application, but comforting.)