“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
– 2 Timothy 1:7
For as long as I can remember, fear was something that controlled who I was and what I did. I allowed fear to keep me away from pursuing my goals. It was a huge factor in relationships as I struggled to trust others and trust God. Fear had become my unwanted guest – the one that overstayed their welcome much longer than I had the energy to deal with. It was a cancer to my soul as it slowly killed off any surge of joy or hope I attempted to grasp. My heart was longing to be set free and open, and yet I was bound by fear and anxiety so much that I became prone to panic attacks.
At first, I was able to manage these, and would try to keep away from places that would “spark triggers”. Eventually, my avoidance led to agoraphobia. That means that my fears had exacerbated to the point where I could no longer leave my apartment for fear of something bad happening to me.
I could not walk within the crosswalk of a streetlight for extreme fear I was going to be hit by a car.
I could not walk outside in open spaces, for fear something bad would happen to me.
I could not fly, (you guessed it) for fear of something bad happening to me, i.e. the plane crashing.
Essentially, this looked like me holing up inside my apartment, where I had no roommates. I hid the severity of my anxiety from friends out of embarrassment, so the only ones who knew about how bad things had gotten were members of my family – namely my mother. I remember “leaving school” for a few weeks where I basically just took the loss for being unable to complete the semester. That was one of the darkest times in my life. I experienced spiritual attacks in a heavy way. But I thank God that I had a mother that knew the Lord, and she stood by me, and she was a big support while I went through healing.
I remember attending a deliverance ministry one night, I walked in feeling heavy, and left out free! At some point, I was delivered from my panic attacks, and have not experienced such since that date. I am praising God for the healing that came, but as my relationship with the Lord has grown, I realize that there were additional ways to fight these battles. I no longer have to give way for fear to control my life.
Prayer is one way I have learned to battle my anxiety, specifically confessing scripture. And believing that God has my back. I also learned that my fears had masked my need for control, so now that I am aware of this, I remind myself of 2 Timothy 1:7. I remind myself that I am loved by God and that His perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18) I sing songs of praise and remind myself that God is for me. (Romans 8:31)
As I was writing earlier, I suddenly felt an overwhelming bout of fear arise within me. This is the night before I am to share my story with the YoungPro Scottsdale group. The same week that I will be heading out on my very first mission trip. I was almost afraid to speak tomorrow night. But I have a choice to make, and it will be a choice that I will need to make daily – do I give in to fear, or do I persevere by walking in faith and trusting that God has me?
You see, I also learned that we have an enemy that is out to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10), but we also have a loving Savior who has overcome the ruler of this dark world and is interceding for us (Romans 8:34). Knowing this, I have learned to trust God. And when times appear to get dark again, when my control issues try to pop up again, I remind myself that I am NOT in control, and I think about all the things that God has brought me through. When Satan tempts me to despair or fear – I remind myself that God is faithful.
I am writing this tonight, with the hope of encouraging you to trust in Jesus. To believe God when He says that he will take care of your every need. To believe that God’s grace is enough to carry you through life’s joys and pains. To rest in the power of His love, for it is truly enough. (Romans 8: 38-39)
As for me, I am looking forward to sharing my story tomorrow night, and finally going on a mission trip. Even though everything in my life is not as I would hope it to be – I remember a time when fear once bound me so much that I could not leave my home, and I rejoice in my freedom through Christ!
For this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness – Lamentations 3:21-23
– LaTrice Warrior