What To Do With The Fear You Feel

Bone dry. That’s how I felt as I sat down at the end of the day.

All I could think about doing was putting in my earphones and being entertained by a screen. I just wanted to not have to think about what I would make for supper tomorrow or the wet laundry that needed to be moved into the dryer, the appointments that needed to be booked, or the mess of the living room I was sitting in.

Bone Dry.

Nothing left to give, nothing left to say. There had been so many questions asked by small inquisitive minds and too many episodes of boundary testing. I felt crumbly, like a broken down sea wall after one too many waves had crashed against it.

I don’t blame my children, they are just kids, but it takes a lot out of me.

And by the end of the day, I was quite sure that one night of sleep would not be enough to replenish all that had been given (or taken) that day.

Have you ever felt like that? Wondering if you will have enough for tomorrow? Wondering if it will ever be possible to replace what was spent that day? 

It was not long after I had plugged in to my screen that there were two big child eyes peering over my laptop. One of my kids had had a bad dream the night before and they were afraid to close their eyes in fear that the nightmare might be there again.

At first, I must admit, I felt annoyed. Why couldn’t life be turned off for just a few minutes?

I walked the child back upstairs to their room, begrudgingly tucked them back into bed, and suggested we should pray about this fear together.

In a moment of wonderful honesty, my kid said that they did not really believe Jesus would help them. This nightmare had been TOO scary and was bigger than even Jesus. 

I know that feeling. I get that. The fear that Jesus won’t come through. The fear that Jesus will not answer.

I have felt that. Maybe you have too. 

The things is that I was feeling that way before the child eyes were peering over my screen.

I was sitting in front of a screen, wondering if God could restore and afraid that He couldn't.  Afraid that too much had been spent and afraid that I would not be enough, that God would not give me what I need.  

I thanked my child for their honesty and suggested we pray this:

I want to trust you Jesus, help me in my fear.

It was an honest prayer. The best kind. I want my kids to know that they can bring anything to God and anything to us. God isn’t afraid of our fears, even if we are. He isn’t upset or annoyed because He is well acquainted with the human experience, having been incarnated.

We prayed the prayer together:

I want to trust you Jesus, help me in my fear.”

I continued to pray the prayer outloud. Over and over again, I spoke it over my child as they fell asleep. With each repetition it went deeper and deeper into my soul. Calming the fear that I had and replacing it with trust. Trust in the one who is trustworthy. Trust in the one who’s perfect love casts out fear.

I used to think that I needed to explain away fear, that I needed to stop being afraid, or that fear was wrong. I would hear 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” And I would think that I what I needed to do what just believe in God’s love more and I would no longer feel fear or anxiety. If I could just change me, then I would no longer be afraid.

But it has never been up to me to make myself love God more. It is up to me to trust Him at His word, to trust in His love for me.

The human relationship with God is ALWAYS one of response. And God is teaching me another way. The way of trust. Trust and love go hand in hand.

Jesus was afraid and Jesus was anxious. In the face of his fear, his response in Gesthemene, was trust. Not explaining it away, not rationalizing it, but an expression of trust in God. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42.)

Submitting your well being, your will to someone else is the ultimate act of trust. It’s deeply vulnerable, somewhat terrifying but also freeing.

In his fear, out of the knowledge of His Father’s love for him, Jesus trusted.

And so, tonight, bone tired as I might be, I am trusting Jesus with my fear. I am at least letting him know that I want to trust. It isn’t perfect, it isn’t without fear, but it is an offer of trust. It is an attempt to invite God into the fear and make space for Him to fill.

And I am trusting that He who is more than enough is enough for me. And I know that He is enough for you too.

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