I feel as though I’ve been going through a phase of attempting to silence the fears of my children. There seems to be quite a bit of anxiety going on in our house at the moment. The truth is it’s easier to reassure them that they are safe and sound but just how much of these re-assuring words do I manage to put into practice on a daily basis? Probably not a huge chunk to be quite honest.
“I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me” Psalm 3:5. This verse holds more than one meaning for me. Each and everyday day becomes a fresh start and a new beginning. I have to use every new day and live it the best way I know how with a new grace. Also, I can wake up in the morning and know that I am sustained by his mercy.
I developed some nasty fears over the 36 years of my life. I constantly feared death, sickness, a car accident that would leave me either paralysed or worse, even dead. An inherent fear that something awful would happen to my family, oh the list goes on! This type of fear and panic would grip me each and every single day. It took the joy out of my life and eventually I learnt to always expect the worst from life.
We are not born with fear. Fear is learned through our experiences as children and we grow up and become adults. It somehow spreads quietly like a virus where you don’t realise its there or that there is even a problem. Eventually it begins to show up everyday and affects our inner beings and our relationships. It’s likely that we can miss this somehow, we miss this and continue on with our lives until something major happens and we’re suddenly forced to confront our childhood traumas. For me, growing up in South Africa, fear was an everyday feeling. Without realising it, fear became ingrained in my psychology from a very young age. I remember how I would suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and watch my dad peek through the curtains of the bedroom my sister and I shared. He was like a policeman marching through every room in the house peering through those curtains possibly looking for any kind of unusual movement in the garden making sure we had no unwelcome intruders. I remember the machete that stayed under his side of the bed ‘just in case’ he needed to make use of it. Even at the age of 6 or so I understood that we were not always completely safe in our home and like a virus, fear made itself at home.
God knew what my biggest struggles and insecurities would be even before I was born. He had a plan already in place to help me get through them all. He always has a plan. He knew his plan would mean my fears would work not only for my good but for His greater good. I’ve started to embrace the ‘bad’ experiences I go through because I can always be assured that he will always turn that whatever negative experiences I have into something good. I will have good seasons and bad seasons and maybe the bad makes me more resilient over time, perhaps the bad seasons mean one day I can help someone else? I have no idea but what I do know is that know that in God’s eyes NOTHING is ever wasted. No sadness or tears, no joy and no humiliation I go through experience will be wasted. I may have developed an unspeakable fear as a child but He has a plan. One which doesn’t include fear or timidity. He has called me to be a fearless warrior! Fearless in the decisions I make in my personal life, fearless in the way I parent my children, in my career, in my abilities as woman and an individual and most of all complete fearlessness and confidence in what the future holds. He knows the desires of my heart and He will not allow fear to dictate or rule out the wonderful plans He has laid out for me in this life.
Whenever I feel fear tries to grab hold of me I remember these words: “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11