Thursday, March 20, 2014

On overcoming fear

I have been wanting to post on this subject for a long, long time now. But it is so very intimate and deep of a subject for me that it has remained floating in my head and never actually made it from there out through my fingertips until now. I have shared personally my experiences in this area with a select few, but the more I share the more I see the common thread of this being an issue for so many. It is time. Time for me to write. Time to see more set free.

I don't know exactly when fear became an issue for me. I remember being a little girl and having an irrational fear of our house catching on fire while I was asleep. I had a little box prepared of all the things I wanted to save if that would happen. My parents would pray with me at night so I could fall asleep. But this is really one of the only things I remember having intense amounts of fear about as a child. I honestly don't remember much fear at all as a teenager. Then I got married. Then I became a mom. And fear began to all but consume me.

I don't know about you, but the mere thought of anything happening to one of my babies used to send me spiraling into a vortex of anxiety where I literally felt like I might suffocate. I shed many real tears over things that were not real circumstances. And I believed a lie. I believed that this made me a better mother. I believed that it was only proof of me caring so deeply. I didn't realize how it was affecting me and torturing me.

Then I had a vision. In my mind I was picturing our living room. I heard our front doorbell ring. When I opened the door there was a man standing on our front porch. He said that he was going to come in and eat dinner at our table and when he was finished he was going to kill me and our whole family. I immediately slammed and locked the door in his face. End the vision. The Lord then told me that the man on the porch was Fear. And that that's what fear does. It comes in and feasts on all that you have, then destroys you. And then he told me that it can't come in without my permission. Just like in my vision, I have the choice to slam the door on fear. It can't enter without my consent. And suddenly the lie was exposed. That idea that my fear and emotion was making me a good mother? So not true. Fear was crippling. It was draining. It was exhausting. It was robbing the joy from the moment I was actually living in. It was borrowing worry that may never be mine.

Fast forward a bit further. Have you ever heard the Bible verse "Perfect love casts out fear" ? It clicked for me. If I know the perfect love of my Father, then fear has no place in my life. They CANNOT co-exist. Fear takes you down a road in one direction, perfect love takes you down a road in the opposite direction. You can't walk in the knowledge of the perfect love of Jesus and walk in fear at the same time. If you know and believe that God works all things together for your good, and if you know and believe that you can trust your Savior no matter what may happen in your life, then you do not need to be afraid of the unknowns of your future. I don't know about you, but resting in love feels SO much better to me than panicking in fear.

So that all sounds good, but how can you put this into practice in your life? This is what the Lord showed me. When something comes into my mind and I feel myself begin to react to it emotionally, I ask myself this question: Is what I am thinking about a current reality? If the answer is no, then I refuse to think about it any further. I literally picture myself kicking Fear out my front door and slamming it behind him. Sometimes I don't feel strong enough to do it myself, and I ask Jesus to slam the door for me. (Don't forget to twist that deadbolt too!)

Coming to this place in my life has been a journey over the last three years... I haven't shared until now because I struggled with one part of this... I couldn't figure out why if I battled fear and won it kept coming back. I felt like I failed. I felt like I had nothing to offer because clearly what I thought the Lord showed me wasn't working if it didn't go away and stay away. But then I had this last piece of this revelation: It's not a once and done battle. This may sound discouraging, but it shouldn't be. The more times you are successful in guarding the doors of your mind against it's attack, the easier it becomes to recognize it and the easier it is to win. Fear may come back again and again, but you don't have to allow it to control you. (I finally had this last little revelation as I battled fear BIG TIME on my drive into the e.r. with Drew right after he had his second seizure in the beginning of February, afebrile that time. I was driving in the middle of the night and in an ice storm no less.)

Here's one more thing that has helped me in this journey:
The verse "In everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace that passes understand will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Making a list of all the things you are thankful for is a huge help. Make it when you are in a good state of mind, (not currently battling fear) and keep it close. When fear comes knocking just pull out your list. It switches your mindset from fear mode to trust mode. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind."

One last thing... May I suggest to you that Love, Peace, and Joy are some of the greatest weapons we possess? They may sound passive, wimpy even, to some. They are the opposite. They are active, aggressive, protective, the guardians of our minds and hearts. It is Love that CASTS OUT. And it is Peace that GUARDS. The Joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH. But that may be another post for another day. :)

Maybe I sound crazy to you. If so, good, maybe that means fear is not an issue in your life. But maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. And if that's you, then I hope me risking sounding crazy will help you, even just a little.


  1. Thanks so much for putting this all out there, Jessi. I could relate with you right from the start, as I had the exact same fear as a kid of a fire burning my house, and I practiced being able to find quickly my favorite things in the dark and timed myself. crazy, right? i've had a history of dealing with anxiety - part of it I now know was dietary after i got my celiacs diagnosis, and so i can control it better now with what i eat. but it's still there at times, sometimes something as simple as when i first wake up and think of what i have to do that day. some time ago i took out a 3x5 card and wrote out a ton of reference Bible verses dealing with fear and doubt, and i've had it on my desk ever since. lots of powerful ones in psalms, such as Ps 34:4-7. and your visual of fear is so good - it really helps me, so thanks for sharing such an intimate vision like that, as well as the revelation that fear is not a once and done battle. thanks, Jessi, for your beautiful heart, willingness to share, and inspiration. not just this blog post, but so many others on treasuring moments and breakthroughs in life. God is so good and i'm encouraged by how He is working in and through your life and to others through your writing.

    1. You are such a sweet heart and truly one of the biggest encouragers to me in this whole blogging thing... it feels so good to know I am not alone and to have our successes and revelations help each other. Thanks for all the times you stop and take the time to comment, it means so much to me. I'd love to know more of the verses that you have written down, so cool. I'll be praying for you as we fight these battles together... through Jesus we have the victory! hugs!