I often write to process ideas and floating thoughts. This morning I am processing some thoughts on FEAR. I capitalise it, because it manifests itself as a very BIG thing.
I’m not an expert in any of this, though I have known the presence of fear for as long as I’ve known life.
I thought it was an emotion, but I think it is deeper and more fundamental than that.
In my humble view, fear is as solid and universal as an instinct – a defence/ protective warning signal for survival. It triggers the fight, freeze or flee response to danger. It has a very important role and if we consider what it is saying, it can protect us from rash, impulsive and dangerous choices.
But it can also be crippling, like a shackle around one’s ankles. It can render a person mute, ineffective and pathologically disabled or ill in many ways.
FEAR made its presence felt in me again last night. I feared my loved ones becoming very ill. I feared becoming ill myself. My chest went tight and my breathing laboured; I felt light-headed and faint. I was aware of the potential for fear to cause me to feel physiologically ill.
Of course for two years now, we have heard the sirens racing alarmingly through the streets, listened to news reports (which I rarely do), had to wear masks, follow precautions, sanitise, socially distance… Whatever we believe about the pandemic, we have been subjected to death statistics, to prolonged lock-downs and closures and to constant news of hospitalisations, illness and threats. Regular life has been suspended and we have all been distanced and put on high-alert. It is the topic of all news and conversations. The UK no longer discuss the weather, but open conversations with “Have you had your booster yet?” and “Where’s your mask?” whilst applying yet more sanitiser from bottles perched on every surface.
The symptoms for many with covid 19 have been coughing, a tight chest and difficulty breathing, so in a state of fear or panic, one feels these sensations, which can spiral into negative thinking, worst-case scenarios and further panic and psychological and physiological anxiety, stress and panic. When panic begins, it can be very difficult to control, but self-control is possible.
My defence strategy, last night, was to breath deeply, to pause and pray and to encourage myself in the truth of the promises of God:
We are constantly told by God to be strong and courageous; to not be afraid, not be terrified and not to faint…
(It is said that the Bible tells us 366 times to ‘not be afraid’ – one for every day, including the leap-year!)
Why not be afraid?
Because God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. Because He promises to go with us wherever we are and to never leave us or forsake us…
So how do we do this?
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
The Lord is near. 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)
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:1 – 2)
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you…
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:5-12)
This morning, I could still feel the memory of the panic, but I was no longer carrying the burden. I had listened to God’s word and presented my concerns to God. I expressed my troubles and gave them all to Him who is able to carry them, and now my heart and mind are both at peace. I can now deal rationally with those things that are my responsibility to attend to.
I shall possibly need to remind myself over and over again. I need a treasury of promises on every surface of my mind, with which to sanitise my mind from the virus of fears all around.
If you become afraid, acknowledge it, see what it is trying to tell you. Listen to the warning, but refuse access to the spirit of fear, for that is not from God.
Lean on the Holy Spirit, breath in deeply and cast all of your concerns, worries, fears, requests on the God who cares for you.
Encourage yourself in the promises God makes to those who put their trust in Him.
May you enter 2022 in the Spirit of Power, of Love and of a sound mind, knowing that God is FOR you, He is with you and He loves you with an everlasting love.
And encourage those around you, helping them to carry their burdens and comforting them with the comfort you have received.
Be blessed. Thank you for reading.