There is fear inside me.
It doesn’t rear it’s ugly head often. I wouldn’t say “I live in fear,” but fear definitely lives in me.
Most days I never see it. Walking from the house to the mail box, I don’t worry about snakes or wolves or anything terribly irrational. Running errands in town, I don’t worry about having an accident, or the kids burning the house down while I am gone.
I am, as far as I can tell, functional and normal and fine.
But other times . . . I don’t know how to shake it. Maybe it isn’t fear as much as worry or an overactive imagination, but it feels like I’m being afraid, not able to relax or think rationally.
Exhibit A – During Thanksgiving vacation last year we took the kids to see Carlsbad caverns. Inside, underground, walking next to crevasses labeled “bottomless, do not fall in,” (more or less,) I was fine. There was the occasional moment of motherly, “PLEASE DON’T RUN SO FAST CHILD!” Even when my son couldn’t see over the short wall protecting the passersby from one such “bottomless pit” and hoisted himself up on the edge to see–to which I yelped “don’t do that!” and helped him see and we went on our way. That is, until I was laying in bed later. . . replaying that scene in my mind again and again, unable to shake the image of my son accidentally vaulting himself over the half wall and into the abyss.
LUDICROUS. Why would I do that to myself??
I. DON’T. KNOW.
But I know that I could give you many more examples like that.
Exhibit B – I don’t like flying. Or roller coasters. Or being on motorcycles. Or anything that moves up and down or in circles. Nope, not even carousels. Not really. I don’t enjoy the motion. And that’s bad enough right? But when you couple that distaste for the movement along with the irrational fear that *will* come out–I’m completely miserable and unable to relax. Each time the airplane dips I have to swallow the intense fear that we’re about to plummet to the earth. Every time I dare ride a roller coaster I spend half the time fighting visions of the car flying off the track and crashing into the ground. Riding on the back of the motorcycle with my husband I am bombarded with images of deer running in front of us or semi trucks swerving into our lane, followed by images of twisting metal and intense pain.
There is *no* relaxing and enjoying the ride.
It keeps me from flying to places I’d like to visit or going on a cruise ship with my husband. I will never be able to let myself swim in the ocean, I can tell you that much for sure.
It rears its head in other ways, too: worrying about the kids at a pool party I’m not attending, or riding the motorcycle with their dad, worrying about my husband flying out of country, worrying about tornado weather– I’m noticing a trend here. That trend is “things that are completely out of my control.”
Do I need a Xanax?? MAYBE I DO.
WHY do I struggle with these fearful thoughts? I haven’t always been this way! More importantly,.. how do I get rid of it??
I have prayed. Praying is what gets me through the plane ride. Or the roller coaster. The fearful moments on the back of the motorcycle.
I do know some good scripture on fear and anxiety, too, and I have some of them memorized (I need to memorize more.)
And maybe I really do need a Xanax, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. In the mean time. This is what I’ve got:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. – Psalm 56:3
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
And this song, too. I can sing this song:
Aside from trying to take every thought captive as it comes, I’m not sure how to shake this little Fear Monster that lives in little hidden place inside me and creeps out to terrorize me at times. I just call on God. Again and again and again.