I’m hopeful that the Lord wants to redeem my deepest fears.. and your deepest fears my Friend. : ) This blogpost I thought it would be good to share a struggle I was having this summer, and how God’s love and grace was all over the situation.
Some of our fears begin to take root in childhood, some begin from a tragic situation, and whatever it is that causes our fears, probably all are just lies from the enemy that we need to overcome.
One of my fears is ants. When I was little, I saw a strange Sci Fi movie with ants the size of people. Ants freaked me out after that. One time when I was around Junior High age, I was eating dinner with my family and noticed a tiny ant crawling on my arm. I screamed super loud, probably even scared some people in my family who were just having a simple dinner. All because of a small brown ant, not even a big black one.
Another one of my fears is elevators. If I knew 100% without a doubt that the door would open in a few seconds I might not be scared. But I know people who have gotten stuck in elevators. And when I feel trapped, especially in a small space I begin to feel like I can’t breathe. So one way I avoid this fear is not taking elevators, for fear of the possibility of getting stuck. I work on the 3rd floor at Gallup and I take the stairs. A few weeks ago I made a doctor’s appointment with a Thyroid specialist who I hadn’t seen before. I asked the receptionist over the phone where their stairs were because I knew I wouldn’t be taking the elevator to their office on the 4th floor.
My biggest fear is one I’ve struggled with since elementary school and it’s one that has many physical side effects and still effects me today. God is helping me to get to the root of what is actually going on and it may simply be fear of embarrassment. In elementary school, it was a real struggle for me to be in the classroom when the teacher would randomly call on children to read out loud. I would get this terrified feeling inside me, my face would get red, my voice would quiver terribly when I would read out loud. And speeches was even worse because all eyes were on me. I grew up thinking, “I can’t stand having attention on me”. I probably had that thought run through my brain millions of times.
It still affects me today, but God has done some miraculous work in this area. Even when I sometimes meet up with a friend to have lunch or at a coffee house, I sometimes start to get a panicky feeling… especially if I feel like I’m talking to much and all attention is on me. Even this sometimes causes me to get shortness of breath and red blotchy skin. In the past, I didn’t think of it as “fear of embarrassment” but as I’m trying to get to the root of what’s really going on, that could be it.
So this summer, I was having shortness of breath for several weeks in a row. I was fearful mainly for 2 different things. First, I was having thoughts that I might be in jail for feeding the homeless. I know that sounds ridiculous but I have heard of one state where it is now illegal to feed homeless people. Now, I don’t know the details on this so perhaps the law has changed. But I knew I couldn’t stop doing what the Lord has called me to do. When I see a homeless person on the street, sometimes I just pray for them and other times I hear, “I was hungry and you did not feed me”. My husband and I like to get them something to eat and give it to them and let them know the Lord loves them. My biggest fear of the thought of jail is how I can’t handle being in small places and feeling trapped.
I was also fearful thinking of the great plans God has for our future, but fear of attention on me and wondering “how will I get past this dreadful feeling of attention on me?”. As I tried to really pinpoint the root of why I can’t stand attention on me, it’s more of a fear of being embarrassed (I think). Because in my fearful thoughts I was thinking things like “what if my face is red and blotchy my whole life” because there is attention on me.
It may have been all attack from the enemy or maybe God wants to take me to these places so that I cry out to Him with all my heart and get to the root of what’s really going on so that I can be healed. Anyway, one of the symptoms I was having this summer was shortness of breath about every day.
On June 24th, while having shortness of breath during my God time, I wrote in my journal, “Lord, thank You for today! Thank You for life, breath, my lungs, air. Thank You so much that I can move. I can breathe and I’m not in prison. Thank You that there is power in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ, King of mercy, I trust in Thee. I surrender to Your will. Your will, not my will be done”. I wanted to write something hopeful, not what I was crying out to God in my mind which was, “Help me breathe, Lord!”. Well soon after that, I remember that David and I would be seeing the “Need to Breathe” concert the following month. Some dear friends purchased tickets for us several months before I was having my shortness of breath.
I felt super loved by God and thought of how amazing it is that “God sees me”. He knew I would be struggling with anxiety again and or being attacked with fear in a big way. Knowing that helped me surrender and just be okay with where I was at even in my struggle. I began to trust God that He is using this all for good and I began to open up to more people around me and let them know I was having anxiety. Part of me was trying to fight that I was even having this hard time, thinking “I’m a strong Christian. I shouldn’t be struggling like this. It doesn’t glorify God.” So I didn’t let many people know. After I surrendered and told people around me and just trusted God with where I was at, things got way better. These last few weeks, my anxiety has lessened and I haven't had as much shortness of breath episodes. And the concert was awesome! We didn’t find out until we got there, but we had front row seats.
This book "It will be Okay" written by Lysa Terkeurst, and illustrated by Natalia Moore brought me many healing tears. I read it a few weeks ago and I was crying so hard I was sobbing like a little kid. All the characters have red cheeks and when I'm having anxiety my cheeks often turn red. God was letting me know that everything is going to be okay and He sees me and has a plan for everything, including my anxiety. Anyway, it's awesome God uses children's books in big ways to meet us where we're at and tenderly love us. Be blessed, my Friends! :)