How Do You Fight Fear with Faith…and Win?
“I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
Over the last few months that I have been writing for Keeper of the Home, I have noticed that the post that received the most response was my post on fear.
It seems the conversation about how to fight fear with faith is alive and well.
Let me refresh your memory . . .
We humans are more like sheep than any other creature in God’s Kingdom. The Scriptures regularly use the analogy of sheep to shepherd to describe our relationship with God. There are many reasons for that—and one of the most important is that sheep cannot protect themselves from wild animals . . .
As with sheep, agitation and anxiety are like poison to our souls and our bodies. When we are tied up in knots, we can’t think clearly, make wise decisions, or enjoy the day or our life. Our health is destroyed by worry and fear. Sometimes fear is so powerful that our life is limited and controlled by it.
In the end I did find freedom from the fear. I learned that MY TRUE SECURITY is in God alone. I learned what it means to trust. The experience has resonated positively in my life for the last 30 years.
These words from the psalmist truly became my words: “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
I would like to dig deeper into the issue of fear by doubling back and going deeper into this topic.
Let’s begin here:
Fear is a NORMAL PART of being human!
Everyone has fears—rational fears and so-called “irrational” fears!
So don’t think there’s something wrong with you because of your fears, or that your fears are too big. Take comfort: there’s hope!
My story of fear
Here are more details of where my story of overcoming fear began: When I was a freshman at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, I was suddenly hit with a terrible fear.
One day, as I ate lunch with my boyfriend (who is now my husband Don), my tongue seemed to move awkwardly in my mouth as I was chewing.
All of a sudden, for reasons that I could not understand, I thought I was about to have an epileptic seizure. I put down my fork and did not continue to eat.
When Don and I got back on our bikes to ride in opposite directions to class, I was afraid that the epileptic seizure could happen at any time. From that day forward, for several months, I was afraid.
Everywhere I went, a dark cloud hung over my head in the radiant “Carolina blue” skies of Chapel Hill.
One day I sat and prayed in the undergrad library. As I stared down at my textbook, I asked God to help me understand where this fear came from. Under the majestic dark oak vaulted ceiling high above me, I waited . . . hoping and praying for answers.
Finding the cause of my fear
In the stillness of the place, a memory surfaced. I saw myself when I was a young girl sitting with my family in the den watching a TV show called Dr. Kildare. This particular series was about a teenage girl who developed epilepsy and had a grand mal seizure on a surfboard in the ocean in California!
Although I seemed to be unfazed by the program at the time, this memory seemed to the be source of my fear!
I realized suddenly that a fear registered in my mind and was stored in the computer of my brain, and had somehow popped up onto the screen of my mind. I was joyous to grasp that this subconscious memory was the basis of my strange reaction at lunch that day!
Relief flooded me. I naively assumed that because I recalled the source of the fear, all would be well.
But this was just the beginning. A good beginning.
But there was more . . .
The fear remained
Embarrassed by what felt like an irrational fear, I didn’t know where to turn for help.
My embarrassment prevented me from talking about my fear with anyone. I did not know a therapist to talk to . . . so I continued to struggle alone.
Finally, one day, I did the one thing I knew to do: I went back to my dorm room in the middle of the day (hoping no one would be there), shut the door and locked it. I found my study Bible, turned to the back where I knew there was a concordance (like a bible topical dictionary).
Then I got down on my knees beside my bed and plead with God, “Please help me overcome fear.“
Looking in the Bible
When silence was my only answer, I looked up the word fear in the concordance, praying for help from the Bible⏤something, anything! I started looking up all of the verses related to fear, beginning with the Old Testament.
I plowed through, verse by verse, reading things like I quoted before: “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
“Great,” I thought to myself. “David found freedom from fear . . . but he doesn’t tell me how!”
But that was not entirely true. He says, “He sought the Lord... “
But isn’t that what I was doing?
Can you relate? Do you struggle to fight fear?
And that is where I will pause for now to ask you . . . Can you relate to any part of this story? Do you have fears that you are afraid (ironically) to share with others—which only intensifies the problem?
Take a few minutes and ask yourself: “What am I afraid of?” If you are willing to share, please feel free . . .
Next up (in a couple of weeks): What happened when I looked up the word FEAR in the Bible.
I really relate to the onset of your anxiety. In my psych classes they said anxiety very rarely starts as an adult, but I know I never had panic attacks as a kid or teenager.
Until the night in college that my husband and I were sitting at home watching a movie. I suddenly was struck with shaking and dizziness. I’d had some issues with exaggerated weakness when my blood sugar gets low (I’m not diabetic, it’s a quirk of my body), so I grabbed a handful of chocolate chips for a quick sugar fix. It got worse and worse, until I was sitting at our open doorstep for the fresh air, seriously considering going to the ER. We decided to wait it out and figured I’d feel better by morning. I was not. This was the beginning of my bout with labrynthitis, a swelling of the inner ear that causes severe vertigo for an undetermined length of time and is untreatable by anything but time.
I was bedridden for 3 months, could only crawl if I needed to use the bathroom, and could not stomach anything but Ensure fortified chocolate drinks. Couldn’t even watch TV or read a book without getting motion sick. Did I mention that I was never actually diagnosed, no doctor was able to figure out what was wrong with me? It was years later that I finally heard of labrynthitis and learned what it was that had ruined my life so.
Not surprisingly, I developed panic disorder, having debilitating panic attacks essentially 24/7. This went on for 6 months before I sought therapy, which solved the panic attacks in the span of another 6 months. Unfortunately, while I rarely have a panic attack these days, anxiety is an ever present companion for me now. I look forward to reading this series.
Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear about your battle with labrynthitis. A friend of mine had exactly the same issue and I have so much compassion for you! She is so much better now and, in the end, her faith was strengthened as she too realized that her only secure place with in the unconditional love of Jesus. I pray that you too will find your strength in His love! Janie Seltzer