I watched in TERROR as the huge grey cloud came closer and closer and finally stopped right over my house. I felt sick and scared and I begged my parents to take us down to the basement. I was sure that there was going to be a huge tornado and earthquake that would destroy our house and kill us all.
Turns out, it didn’t even rain.
When I was six, I was terrified of storms. And hurricanes. (Even though there was no chance of a hurricane coming anywhere close to where we lived). I was so paranoid, that anytime there was even a tiny white cloud in the sky, I’d want to go to the basement and wait until it went away. I eventually overcame that fear and I loooove rainy days and storms now.
But over the years, I’ve had tons of fears. I went through a stage where I was literally TERRIFIED of sickness. I’d wash my hands so much that they would crack and bleed really bad. I used to be scared of airplanes because my young mind thought that all airplanes had bombs and we would all die when they flew over us. I was scared of pesticides (thinking back now, it kind of seems ridiculous – five year old me, extremely scared that I would die because pesticides got dumped on top of me). I was scared of bees. And big pigs (although, I don’t really blame myself so much for that anymore. I was pretty young and those pigs were pretty big….and they did bite Mr. B’s hands once). I was scared of my pets dying. That turned into a fear that Mama would die and it would be my fault because I wouldn’t know what to do. Sometimes I’d lay in bed at night, awake, crying and afraid that I would fall to sleep and suffocate (don’t ask why, I have no idea). Eventually, I was afraid of rejection and abandonment (and sort of just people in general) so I stopped talking to anyone outside of my family. And then it was back to being afraid that my parents would die or leave us.
If I’m honest, I’ve lived way too much of my life in fear of things that I can’t control. I hate being afraid. I hate the feeling of helplessness that goes along with that. I love being in control, and when life spirals out of my hands, I panic and do just about anything to regain control of some part of my life. I hate opening my hands and letting go of the control because IT DOESN’T FEEL SAFE AT ALL. It is rather comical, though, if you think about it – imagine me, in a plane, heading straight towards certain doom. Someone else is there, beside me, asking me to hand over the control so that they can get me out. But I’m too scared to let go because if I do, I will be totally helpless. So I cling to the controls, even though I know it means that I’m doomed.
Let me say, though, that all fear is not bad. Fear has been put in our lives for a purpose. It keeps us from doing stupid things, it warns us of danger and it protects us to a certain extent. But we have to work hard to control it and keep it within healthy bounds. If you let it, fear will get out of control and eat you up inside. It will slowly gain control over more and more of your mind and your heart until every decision you make is based off of your fears. That is a terrible way to live. It’s miserable for you and everyone around you.
My parents decided to help me overcome my previously stated fear of storms. They said that for 31 days, we’d work on it (and if I did overcome my fears, they’d make me a special reward 😉 ). I was skeptical but agreed. That next month was hard. If I remember correctly, there happened to be a lot of storms and I was definitely terrified. But instead of giving into my fears, my parents helped me to pray and to seek God while the storm raged outside. Sometimes we’d put on psalms and sing along or we’d pray together or I’d write in my journal. And somewhere in the midst of that month, I was able to become master of my terror. There were plenty of times after that that I was scared, but I was able to remember that God wouldn’t leave me and that He was in control of the wind and the rain.
The Bible has a lot to say about fear and trusting God in that fear. I don’t have time to list all of the verses and passages that speak on the subject, but I want to share one of my favorite psalms (and one that I listened to over and over again when I was struggling with my fear of storms).
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
We’re in His hands, friends. Be brave. No matter what happens, He is good.