4 Truths to Remember when Fear and Anxiety Strike
Fear and anxiety seem to be common experiences over the last ten years of my life (i.e. the season when adulthood TRULY began for me). If you have been following me on Facebook, you know that our family has moved recently down to Florida for the next leg of our RV adventure. This season of our life is quite a ride!
When we pull the trailer, my husband drives the van with the trailer, and I drive behind both in our Prius. He takes a few children, and I take a few children with the baby. It actually usually works out pretty well =0)
This last trip was incredibly seamless. A few hiccups here and there, but overall it felt like we finally had our “sea legs,” even though we had not pulled the trailer in over a year, since holing up to get our bearings in South Carolina. It truly is like riding a bicycle, though, and the drive we quite nice and relaxing for the most part.
If you have never watched a travel trailer pull before, you may not realize that the trailers often sway a bit here and there from the wind of passing vehicles. The first few times we pulled and I was following, I thought I was going to have a heart attack! The fear and anxiety I felt was darn near palpable! I imagined the most horrendous things happening every time the trailer swayed, because it LOOKED like it was just going to be swept away. Of course it never was.
I have finally gotten used to seeing the sway and no longer think that the trailer is about to go flying off the road, but it still is a bit unnerving to any of the older kids who ride in the follow car with me.
On this last pull, my second oldest rode in the car. At one point she seemed very focused on the trailer and its sway, so I told her to occupy herself with something else to keep her mind busy. Her response was, “I want to watch the trailer to make sure that nothing happens.”
The irony of this statement really hit me like a ton of bricks, and we had a nice little discussion over it. Truly, should something terrible have happened, there would be nothing we could possibly do to prevent it. Watching the trailer and staying in a place of control, fear and anxiety would do absolutely nothing to help prevent the worst of a potential future, but it also removed any ability for her to enjoy the delightful trip occurring in the present.
Silence Fear and Anxiety by Focusing on the TRUTH
It is so, so easy to be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. I have been laden with them so badly that it left me balled up on the couch crying and shaking. I have had treacherous images go plowing through my mind about my marriage, the kids, our finances, the house, bad weather, etc. You name it! Fear and anxiety stink, and are a total joy thief.
Of course, in our media saturated culture, it is incredibly easy to come by such images and suggestions of terror, so we must work that much harder to take them captive and not be overcome.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments [imaginations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” ~ 2 Cor. 10: 5
Just as my daughter needed the reminder for why we did not need to stand on the lookout for a terrible event to possibly occur, I know I often need this same reminder just for life in general. A million messages of destruction and horror come at us every day, but these four Truths renew our mind and bring peace to our soul.
1. God is in control
And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you…?” ~ Luke 12: 25-28
I know it is hard to grasp this important component of reality, especially when things can seem so very out of control, but the Truth is that God is in control. When you focus on and place our faith in His Sovereignty, His love, His mercy, His compassion, His strength, and all the other amazing components of His character, you begin to subdue the mind and correct the lies that have been crafted for your confusion. You CAN trust Him and follow Him as you walk the path of your life.
2. He is faithful
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” ~ 2 Thess. 3: 3
It is the enemy who wants to destroy us, not God. So often when we face difficulties in life the blame is laid at God’s feet, rather than at the enemy. God allows us to be tempted and go through trials, but not for our destruction, as the enemy so desperately wants. Even when you walk through the valleys of life you can look to Him for strength and guidance out of it, one step at a time. He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you, and He will not leave you in the miry pit of despair. Seek Him, trust Him, follow Him, and obey Him while He gently leads you to your best.
3. He will take us through each step of the journey
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” ~ Jer. 29: 11-13
One of my biggest fears is to experience a trial or tragedy in my life that literally “takes me out” and makes my world come crumbling down. The Truth is, though, that no trial in life is beyond His repair, and He can and will help us to navigate both the mourning and the healing when we look to Him in faith. He is Good and loving, but also merciful and gracious. He walks with us, but will never drag us along. Set your mind on His loving grace, even when it may not feel like the season of life is very loving, and seek Him for understanding and wisdom while enduring the trial.
4. You need not be afraid
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Is. 41: 10
You are NOT alone. You do not have to perfectly execute life in order to walk righteously. He is with you, loves you, and will help you through the storms and delight with you when you see the rainbows. Both are essential elements of growth and maturity. A flower cannot bloom without rain AND sunshine. In the same way, He is with us and we grow in faith when we call to Him along the journey, rooting our hearts deeper and deeper in His Truth so that when the storms of life come we will not be moved.
HIS Character is ESSENTIAL
The best thing that we can do is center ourselves in the palm of the Lord by focusing on Him, His sure foundation, His character, and His constant presence.
Even if the worst happens (and at times we will experience pain, suffering, and various trials in life) the promise He gives is to walk with us through the fire. We are not promised to be free from struggles, but rather that He will guide us as we navigate them if we are focusing on Him while we walk.
…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” ~ Romans 5: 3-4
There is much to learn and gain eternally through the fires of life. This is why we are blessed and able to give thanks even throughout the most difficult things.
Keep your eyes on Him. He’s got this.