Crouching in the shadows, all I could do now was pray desperately that I would not be found. But surely the sound of my pounding heart was echoing through the empty cellar, calling out to my predator, “The child’s over here! Stupid enough to think you won’t find her!”
Footsteps closing in, I knew this was the end. My only choice was to scream for help, but no matter how forceful I tried, there was no sound! Why would my voice not work?! Maybe there was enough time to try and run to another hiding place? But when I attempted to bolt, my legs were sandbags and my feet were cement. There was no escape…what would they do to me this time?!
Bursting from nowhere, strong arms clamped around my chest like a vice and hurled me out of my hiding place. Wait a minute…how did those arms grab me from behind? It was impossible because my back was against the cellar wall. A realization hit me: the silent scream, sand-filled legs, inability to cry out or run…wait a minute. I’ve been here before. I’m dreaming! Oh thank God. My mind screamed to my eyes to open, to put this terror to an end.
I gasped the breath of a drowning person just lifted out of submersion. It took only a few seconds for me to realize my legs were no longer filled with sand, so I set them in immediate motion and did what any self-respecting child would do in my situation…run to her parents for safety!
Running to my parents for safety in the middle of the night was a regular occurrence in my childhood. The nightmares were many, and so there was a well-worn path to their bedroom. I would wake them up to receive love and support, and then calm down enough to go back to sleep. And sometimes when that was not enough, I’d slip into my big sister’s bed.
But for some reason, around the age of 10, I stopped running to my parents for safety. I’m not sure why, but I made the decision in my little heart that I was too grown to be scampering to them with every nightmare, and I should be big enough to handle it all on my own. The only problem was, the nightmares didn’t stop. And neither did the fearful daymares of tornadoes, or being kidnapped, or nuclear bomb attacks. My fears grew proportionally with my age, but I had sentenced myself to being a lone warrior, and an ill-equipped one at that. The dramatic irony of this is my parents would have been happy to help me if I had asked, no matter what my age. Relief and comfort were inches away, I only had to reach out to receive it.
As adults, so many of us deal with fear like this. We believe we are too grown to be asking for help with our anxieties, panic attacks, fears and worries; we should be strong enough to handle it all. Maybe we’re embarrassed, or we perceive our fears as weakness and a lack of faith. Or just out of sheer stubbornness, some of us are determined to beat this thing on our own. However, God never intended for us to co-mingle with fear, let alone conquer it on our own. As a result, we exhaust ourselves in a discouraging fight, unaware that relief and comfort are as close as our breath, if we would only stop fighting for long enough to notice our heavenly Father’s arms outstretched toward us.
Stop fighting and start running. You’ve heard of “fight or flight?” Pick flight.
The Fearless 365 Week Two Challenge: Run. Just like a child runs into the arms of his parent when the nightmare strikes, run into the arms of your Father God and receive His deep love for you. As you rest in the safety of His presence, you will hear Him whisper: “You never need to fear, because you are MINE. Do not look around you in terror and dismay, for I am the Almighty God and I have chosen you as my child. As my son, as my daughter, you have been infused with my Spirit within you. Therefore, it’s My strength, not yours, that will calm the storm of fear in your heart, and it is I who will hold you up, every minute of every day, with My right hand of complete victory. This battle is not yours…It is Mine, and I will fight it for you, if you let Me.”
Let go and stop trying to do it all on your own. Release control over to Him, and trust He will fight your battle for you. Sometimes victory will come through His Spirit working in you, and sometimes it will simply be granted to you like a precious gift. As we go through this Fearless 365 year, we are going to talk about many strategies and very specific ways to confront our fears, but none of it will work if we don’t start here first with God’s amazing and incomprehensible love. Allow God to love you. Trust He will fight your battles for you.
I love you and believe in you, and will be praying every single day for you,