Tears streamed down my son's face as he watched the nurse prepare his arm for the vaccination he was about to receive. He continued a steady moaning of, "I don't want a shot, I don't want a shot".
And then it was over.
The tears ceased, the words died on his lips, and the fear in his eyes faded away. In its stead was a look of relief. A sense of calm took over his little body as every muscle relaxed and his breathing slowed. Slowly a little embarrassed grin tugged at his lips as he realized that the fear he had been harboring in his heart was for naught.
Like my son, when I was a child, I had short bursts of time when I felt fearful. The grip of fear never lasted for long, though. I had my mom and dad to soothe away the worry and anxiety. I had only minor causes that produced fear in me and they never were long lived. I was young and without responsibilities. I was carefree and relied on my loving parents to ease my discomforts.
I grew and became independent. God blessed me with a family of my own.
And then it happened.
I knew fear.
An all consuming fear that I let control my life. I felt its ugly grip on my heart and mind. It dictated my every move. At times it almost felt like it was squeezing my life right out of me. It contorted my thoughts and actions. Fear was my constant companion.
What caused the fear isn't important. It was a series of events some minor, some very major that caused me to be filled with anxiety and worry. The problem arose when I let it fill my every waking moment. It began to build and grow like a seething mass. Taking over every aspect of who I was.
And I let it.
I didn't know how to stop it.
So, for years I struggled with it. Some days were better than others. Some days I was physically ill from the fear that I let well up inside me. I would pray and pray, yet still the fear had its grip. Until several years ago when I finally hit bottom, realizing I couldn't live with fear as my constant companion, I cried out to God telling Him, He had all of my trust. I placed Him in control. I laid my heart and soul open to Him giving my Lord every thing, my children, my husband, my family and myself.
When fear would begin to creep back into my thoughts, when my chest would tighten with anxiety, when my stomach began to twist with uncertainty, I would repeat Isaiah 41:10 over and over until I felt God's peace seep into my soul.
So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.
These days I still seek out verses that speak to me of God's protection and peace. Most recently I am memorizing Zephaniah 3:17,
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save, He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
The part that grips me is, "he will quiet you with his love". My heart, my mind and my soul need these words. They are like balm to a frayed nerve. How easy I forget that God is my protector, my shield and my fortress. He is ever with me. He always loves me. Even when I doubt his love and protection, by letting my fears consume me.
For the here and now I am concentrating on God's quieting love.
I am blocking out the craziness.
I am enveloping myself in the stillness.
I am seeking out God's love, strength and will for my life.
I am filling my heart with the Lord,
and in the process squeezing fear right out of my life.