Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 50

Recently I have felt a lot of release from fear, shame and anxiety. I think the anxiety is one of the things I haven't touched on. I can almost remember when it started. Raina was about 7 weeks ago and all the sudden I couldn't nap with her anymore. I remember being anxious that something would happen. The house might burn down or Salem might be awake without me knowing it and hurt herself. I existed on a ridiculous amount of sleep. Even when I could sleep, I seldom did easily or restfully. Anxiety was growing deep within me. I think this sleep deprivation unearthed a secret fear at the lack of control that I had.

I became untethered. I fell asleep in a car wash. I couldn't get work done. I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't spending quality time with my 3 year old. I was just shuffling through my day trying to get the endless things I had to get done completed. I can remember having vivid thoughts and dreams of me and my family being killed in horrific circumstances and thoughts of me leaving my precious girls behind or them leaving me behind. I felt as if death were stalking me. I grew terrified to go anywhere. I worried when Brian wasn't at home. I had always been somewhat of a control freak but it truly grew within me during this time. It was a completely earth shattering time. I wasn't centered at all and I felt hopeless. The earth shattering feelings came about because God wasn't ultimate in my life and because I didn't turn to Him as the author and perfecter of my faith. And the enemy took full advantage of that.

In an effort to survive and make it through this anxious time, I started stuffing away my fears. I soon started turning my emotions off because I felt so out of control when I felt them. Thus, if I couldn't control my circumstances I would control my emotions. Later I realized that this was a reoccurring theme in my life. I have packed away so many fears and emotions over the years that I imploded from the inside out. Now for the first time in my life I am learning to experience and express those emotions and not be afraid of them. I need to acknowledge and even embrace them so I can let them go. That doesn't really sound like it makes sense, but how can you let something go that you never touched? You can't. It just stays around hovering looking for a place to be and take hold. But perhaps if I embrace it, see where it comes from and then let it go it will realize it has no place to be and will stop looking for one.

I am not sure if this is biblical but I don't think it's un-biblical. To me it makes sense. I can't deal with or push away something that I don't acknowledge or embrace. I literally have to look it in the face. Actually, most of the things I am terrified of aren't based in reality, or if they are it's a distorted reality. Thus when I acknowledge and embrace those fears and emotions, then I come to face to face with what it really is and I am no longer afraid for the most part.

The bible says that God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). He gives me the power to meet difficulties and dangers. He gives me a spirit of love to give me peace and carry me through opposition. He slays my fears if I allow Him to.

The importance of this has become hugely apparent as I am working on this same issue with Salem. I repeat this scripture to her daily and I pray it over her as well. She tends to worry and be anxious over many things. It's hard to temper her fears and questions with peace and faith without acknowledging them. I have to let her talk them through, not passively put them away by saying don't worry honey everything will be ok. The latter is like a band-aid on a gaping wound - there is no healing value. It leaves her with more questions but feeling as if it's wrong to ask them.

Instead, I try to engage, listen and let her talk. Sometimes it can go on forever and it's hard not to grow frustrated. But I have to remember she's only 7. So we talk and I try to listen and listen well. She already has 2 Timothy 1:7 memorized so we repeat it and then pray. That helps. She feels safe knowing I will always listen to her and I am continually confirming in her that God is always with her and He is the source of her peace. I think for the most part she just needs to verbalize her fears.

If Salem needs to verbalize those fears, I probably need to as well. Even if they seem absurd. And some of them really do seem ridiculous. Yet how can God comfort me and give me peace if I don't turn to Him? He can't.

Today's Reflection: I long to walk in peace continually and to do that I must not walk in fear. They cannot coexist. Your word says to be bold and be strong for the Lord my God is with me. You are here right beside me - in moments where my anxiety is based in nothingness and in moments when fear is reasonable due to my current reality. Lord I pray that in the moments where my fear is based in nothing that You would show me how to take those thoughts captive. I pray that You would help me process them and see where they are coming from so I can deal with them, but then to rebuke it and get rid of it. Please deliver me from fear. Let it not root back down in my life. And in those times that fearful circumstances are my reality, I pray that You will strengthen me and sustain me with Your peace that passes ALL understanding. You have not given me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

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