Fear Lied to Me

I used to have a strong relationship with Fear. For most of my life, I thought Fear was my friend. I carried Fear wherever I went, and believed what it said about my situation and surroundings. I believed Fear made me cautious and smart. I believed carrying Fear with me made me safe from any danger. Fear started small, but slowly grew larger. Before I knew it, I had stopped carrying Fear, and Fear started to carry me.

When Fear starting carrying me, it made me believe I couldn’t leave my house without panic attacks. Fear told me I couldn’t be left alone at home. Fear made me clean every inch of my home over and over again in an effort to keep myself safe. Fear told me I couldn’t walk through stores without the walls caving in on me. Fear told me our cars would wreck and the planes we got on would crash.  Fear made me sure everyone around me would die or leave me. Fear tormented my sleep and threatened to squeeze the life out of me. However, everything changed in 2014, when I began to understand that Fear had been lying to me. 

Life looks a lot different these days. The girl Fear lied to has grown into a confident woman of God. I have learned so much about who I am because I have gotten to know who my Father is. The girl Fear once lied to knows how to tell that ugly spirit to go back to the pit of hell. (Fear, You don’t Own Me) Fear isn’t a companion I freely carry anymore, and it doesn’t get to tell me how I live my life. I have learned so much about fear and have several favorite scriptures I carry with me in place of fear.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says this in the NIV translation:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalms 118:6 says this in the NIV translation:

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Isaiah 41:13 says this in the Passion Translation:

I am Yahweh, your mighty God! I will grip your right hand and won’t let you go! I whisper to you: “Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you.”

However, a few weeks ago, Fear lied to me again. News about COVID-19 started to surface and people around me started to panic. At first, I thought people were overreacting. I couldn’t imagine that a virus could be so scary. It all just felt so unreal.  Plus, I am a confident woman of God, I don’t listen to Fear’s lies. However, as days turned into a weeks and life as we know it started to drastically change, my opinion changed and I started to think maybe Fear had a point.

Dan and I went to a grocery store to pick up a few things and the empty shelves took my breath away. Fear started to tell me that we wouldn’t be able to get what we needed and we wouldn’t be able to survive on what we had. As we walked through the store, someone behind me coughed and Fear told me they probably were infecting us with COVID-19. As Dan and I checked out, a man yelled “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and Fear told me a crazed lunatic was going to kill us (in reality it was a Father trying to get his sons attention, but Fear doesn’t really play well with reality). By the time we got to our car, Fear was no longer whispering lies in my mind. Fear was yelling so loudly I could barely hear myself think.

I told Dan I was struggling with Fear and he simply said “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you like this” and then he started speaking truth over me. I’d love to tell you I was so encouraged by the words coming out of his mouth, but really, I didn’t hear the truth. What I heard was “You failed”. It had been years since Fear had lied to me and, instead of standing in the truth I know, I listened. I spent a few days beating myself up and spiraling a bit into more lies. How could I call myself a rooted woman of God if a virus was able to strike so much fear into my life?

Days after the grocery trip, the Missouri Governor issued a stay at home order and I started working from home. Dan’s job changed too, however as an essential worker he is still going into work. Since I wasn’t going anywhere, I decided it was going to be a good time to do some heart work. So I started to dig deeper into scripture. I started asking the Father to change my heart. I asked Him to show me the places I was allowing Fear to grow and lies to take root. Before many of the lies were pulled out of my heart, the restrictions at Dan’s job changed even more and we made the decision that Dan would be the only one leaving the house.

After we made that decision I found a new rhythm. I truly did dig into scripture more and worked through a lot of the fear that I had been holding on to. I dug up lies that I had believing not only about COVID-19, but about so many other things as well. I started to feel safe again. The lies that Fear had told me were easy to push aside. The shame of feeling fearful had started to go away.

Then, last night, we found ourselves in one of the scariest situations we have been in a long time. After dealing with shortness of breath most of the day, my doctor texted and encouraged me to go to the ER. When I read the words, panic started to sink in. We were going to where all the sickness was stored. No actually, we weren’t going anywhere… Dan probably wasn’t going to be able to go with me. As the thought of being in the ER alone started to sink in, I started to crumble. Dan grabbed me in his arms, and told me we would be okay. He reminded me not to borrow trouble. I took as deep of a breath as I could, pulled myself together and off to the ER we went.

Upon arriving at the ER, they took my temperature before even allowing me in the front doors and they confirmed Dan couldn’t come in. Dan was parking the car and I texted him to tell him that he couldn’t join me and he responded “I am sorry I can’t be there, but I’m still here.” Tears started to well up in my eyes, but honestly there was no time to really process what was happening. I barely could say my name and “shortness of breath” before I found myself being wheeled back to a room and hooked up to several machines.

After the first wave of tests were done, I texted Dan to give him an update. He said “Okay, I am here.” The doctor came in, and ordered another wave of tests. While waiting for those texts Dan texted again “I’m here.”

As the wait for news and next steps threatened to steal any resolve I had left, Dan reminded me again that he wasn’t going anywhere. He texted me this photo and said “See, I’m right here”.

img_6169

Thankfully, after a few long hours and a few medications, my breathing had regulated quite a bit. The doctors confirmed nothing life threatening was causing my shortness of breath and released me with prescriptions and orders to follow up with my doctor the next day.

This morning, after Dan went to work and I slowly started to process what had happened not even 12 hours prior, I realized that while I was worried and fearful in the hospital, the worry and fear never got out of hand. While I felt very alone in that hospital room, Dan was always there. He never left. I couldn’t see him, but he was there. Just knowing he was there, made it easy for me to to not listen to the lies Fear was whispering in my head.

I have used this analogy before, however, stay with me here. If you were walking through your living room and looked out into the street in front of your house and saw a naked person it would be startling to say the very least. Seeing the person isn’t what matters, its what you do after you see the person that’s important. If you quickly turn your head and go back to your business while thinking “that was weird” you haven’t done anything wrong. However if you stare at the person and start to lust and get lost in your thoughts there is a real problem.

I think fear is a lot like a naked person in our streets. We live in a fallen world. Bad things are going to happen. We are going to walk through seasons full of unknown outcomes. Fear is a human response when we are faced with situations that we can’t control and don’t know how they will end. However, just like we have a choice when a naked person is in our street. We have a choice when Fear shows up. We can look away, ignore the Fear and go about our business or we can continue to look at Fear. Fear is pretty bold. So if we continue to look at fear, Fear will invite himself to sit in our yard and talk for a bit, until suddenly Fear doesn’t seem so bad and it’s running around in our houses. However, I would argue that when Fear shows up in our streets we need to open our doors and tell it to leave and never come back. We have been given the authority to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and we have a choice to decide if we are going to walk in that authority or not.

If there was a naked person in our street and I opened my door and screamed at the person to get out of our street, that person may not be afraid of me alone. However, when they see my big strong husband behind me and they realize I am not alone that naked person is going to run. At the start of this post, I shared a few of my all time favorite scriptures about fear. You need to read them again, but you need to pay attention to something…

Deuteronomy 31:6 says:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalms 118:6 says:

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Isaiah 41:13 says:

I am Yahweh, your mighty God! I will grip your right hand and won’t let you go! I whisper to you: “Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you.”

Something about Dan texting me from the parking lot of the hospital and assuring me he was there, made what could have been a very scary situation not so scary. I think it’s incredibly powerful, the Father knew telling us “do not fear” wasn’t always going to be enough, He knew we were going to need to be reminded that He was with us. When fear sneaks onto our streets like a naked person, we can confidently tell it to get out of our neighborhood, because the Father is with us. I love what Psalms 92:12 says in the Passion Translation:

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control,
the soothing comfort of your presence
calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.

There are so many things in our world that are scary right now, but friend, I want to remind you Fear is a liar and we don’t have to listen to him. The promise that the Father never leaves us carries peace with it. If you are feeling fearful today, I just want to tell you that you have no reason to feel shame. Fear is a human reaction to everything that is going on. However, you can’t live there. The Father has more for us. You don’t have to get lost in your thoughts. Instead, you can walk in peace because He is with you.

 

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