Over the last two and a half years, I have struggled through gigantic waves of fear and anxiety. Not too long ago, I was waiting for my daughter to get home from work. I had dinner on the table when I realized she hadn’t made it back yet. I called her to see if she was running late; her phone went to voicemail. A few minutes later, I sent her a text asking if everything was okay.
By this time, I served dinner, and the boys were full of conversation about the day. Though I appeared calm on the outside, my insides were in complete panic mode. If you know the story of losing Justin, you understand my train of thought.
As I sat at the dinner table, I was not present, but imagining every worst-case scenario. As the minutes ticked by, a lump sat in my throat like cement. Finally, I whispered to my husband,
“I am freaking out right now. Sarah’s not home, and she’s not answering her phone.”
My tears began to spill, and as he reached over, I leaned into him. Just saying the words helped me to breathe. Sarah called me a few minutes later, and my world began turning again. As it turns out, our dear girl was talking to a friend after work, lost track of time, and forgot her phone in the car.
After experiencing such a tragedy, it was natural for my thoughts to take the pathway that they did. But because I don’t want to live on fears teeter-totter, I must exercise the apostle Paul’s instruction when he said, “We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)
So, what do I do the next time a dark cloud of fear ambushes me?
First, I pray. I tell the Lord exactly what I am afraid of; in this case, I might have prayed, Lord, I am so scared that something has happened to Sarah. Please help me not to fear, but to trust you.
Second, I go to the Word. In times of great distress, I most often turn to the Psalms or the book of Isaiah. I go there because the Psalms and Isaiah point to our natural inclination to fear. The best thing I can do when I am in full-panic mode is to renew my mind in the truth. The Spirit of God ministers to me in the deepest recesses of my heart and soothes my distress with His peace.
Lastly, I talk about it, usually with my husband. The more in the open that I can share my fears and worries, the less of a hold they have on me. Tim speaks truth to my heart and helps me to spot the lies from the enemy; how I love that man.
I am nowhere near the end of this journey; it’s only just begun. But, I am writing this post because of our current climate with COVID-19. The unknown is frightening, and fear lurks waiting to consume us.
Instead of inundating ourselves with every nuance of the virus, endless unemployment facts, and the 10,000 different opinions on social media, let’s anchor ourselves with the Word of God and put into practice Philippians 4:8:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Dear friend, let’s stay alert and guard our minds; this is a battle worth fighting.