Bam! Bam! Bam! The powerful blasts at the front door woke me. I was alone and it was 3:00 a.m. in the morning. What was that? I leapt from my bed, my heart beating as if fighting to escape my chest. Bam! Bam! Bam! The aggressive power of the sound assaulting the darkness. I crept to the window of the bedroom at the front of my house and split the blinds slightly to see who was hammering on the door. It stopped. I watched as two large men with black jackets were slowly walked down the path away from the house. Adrenaline screaming- legs shaking, fright or flight setting in. Suddenly, slowly, one of the men turned his head back towards the house and caught me peering through the opening between the blinds! He spoke to the other man and both men turned back towards the door. Bam! Bam! Bam! The pounding was back. I am terrified!
Needless to say, the (too-long- to-tell- here) story ends up with me embarrassing myself not only with the two men at the door, but also on the 911 call with a very patient dispatcher. It turned out that the men were police officers and they were doing a door-to-door search for a middle- school age girl who had forgotten to tell her parents that she was sleeping over at her friend’s house. When I learned who the men were and what their purpose was (and later that the girl was found unharmed) my physical and mental fear abated. This fear, though powerful, was fleeting.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
It is a spooky time of year (just ask any elementary teacher) and for many people having a little jolt of scary is fun. It could be one reason we like dressing up as goblins and ghosts and vicious dinosaurs. Some people like scary movies, books, and haunted houses. They like that feeling of adrenaline when someone jumps out and frightens them or when a roller coaster takes that terrifying dip downward at tremendous speeds. This kind of fear is also temporary and has little hold on them. I often think (having learned from my three very courageous children) it produces a sense of accomplishment by overcoming “doing it scared”. I am not one of those people. I do not like most scary movies or books, hate roller coasters, or will avoid being frightened whenever I can. I feel like I get enough adrenaline just doing life and trying to navigated traffic on the freeway. Still, for most people most of the time, this kind of fear is harmless.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
However, there are fears that enter our everyday lives and shackle us. Fears that when left to run rampant in our heads can cage us within those flight or fight symptoms causing a prolonged feeling of imprisonment. It can keep us from living a full life. It definitely blocks joy and peace and can cause prolonged damage to our physical health. These fears include the fear of: risk, failure, confrontation, the future, your children’s safety, losing security, hearing bad news, trying something new, being vulnerable, being hurt, betrayed, rejected and many more. What happens when fears like these stalk us with ghostly chains seeking to hold us captive?
It must be a significant concern because I recently heard that there are 365 scriptures in the Bible addressing fear. That is a scripture for every day of the year. I have not counted them so I cannot attest to this, but the idea that fear is spoken of many times (including by Jesus) tells me it is an emotion with haunting consequences if left unchecked.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
In my own life I have found that I have little power to stop fear from showing up-unannounced and ready to pounce. However, since I am not a fan of the stomach tightening, dry mouth, heart racing, sleep-losing grips of fear, I try to fend off the frightening bombardments by singing or listening to fright-fighting songs and/or reading or speaking scriptures to ward away that teeth-baring fear and eventually eradicate the binding effect it has on my mind and body during an ambush.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Singing (used like garlic to repel a vampire) puts fear on the retreat- no longer able to make me hostage. For example, singing the lyrics from the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music which say, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” frees me every time I sing them. The strong but gentle heart beat settles, the breathing resumes its peaceful pace, the calm returns. I also love the music video, “The Breakup Song” by Francesa Brattecelli “Fear, you don’t own me.” Belting out (or listening) to “In His Arms” by Plumb is also powerful weaponry for me.
But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness. Psalm 59:16-17
I do not mean in any way to minimize the real fears that people are going through or that there is an easy fix for them or that you shouldn’t be allowed to feel your fear. Life is scary. Fear is powerful. However, I believe God does not intend for us to walk through life bound by it, captive to it, owned by it. I believe that trusting the God that is Perfect Love will cast out fear. When I remind myself of God’s perfect love using song and scripture (repeatedly as necessary) and trust in Him to redirect and repel fear- to replace with it with faith, it will switch my course from scared to soaring- to freedom from fear.
Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
Dear Lord, Thank you for each reader of this blog. Lord, please guide us into Your peace when fear threatens to overtake us. In Jesus’ name, Amen