By Kristin Bonham
How can I survive this world? How can I face the day when the tragedy and terror is creeping in? When the stories on my news feed are more frequent and closer to home? How can I do everything right to keep myself safe and my kids safe? What about my parents and others that I love? What do I do when bad things happen?
When I was raising my kids, bad things happened. They had accidents that could have had much more severe outcomes. There were times that our safety was threatened. My awareness for the pain in the world and possibility for pain in my life became more heightened. Fear became a constant voice in my mind.
Fear was not only running around in my head, it had a grip on my heart. It would wake me up after a beautiful day with my family and parade images in my mind that were not reality. In turn, I would try to come up with new strategies and plans that would guarantee protection and peace.
Fear was a driver. It drove me to arrange things and avoid things. It had a front seat and would coach me through realities with “what if”. I imagined that other people couldn’t see it because I hid it well. I engaged enough to cover it. I learned a language that promoted safety and masked itself as wisdom. I could talk myself into believing I was not trying to control outcomes and sell that belief with “I know God is in control but I am helping”. “I know God is my provider but I have to have a back up plan.”
This is the extreme of my struggle with fear.
The fruits of fear are insecurity, worry, anxiety, control, manipulation, anger, jealousy, competition and sabotage.
There has to be a better way to live.
I came to terms with my fear. The terms were: I AM NOT LIVING WITH YOU ANYMORE. Period. End of story. I am not entertaining you. I am not planning for the worst thing to happen. I am not giving up my peace anymore.
That became my pursuit. A better way to live. When fear would try to motivate my decisions, I would push through and take the risk. Instead of letting it drive me crazy, I let it drive me to God. When it would wake me up in the middle of the night, I would pray.
I realized that my peace would never come from trying to avoid pain. I’ve been in pain. I’ve experienced loss and grief. I know that I cannot plan and arrange my life well enough to have the security that silences fear. There are things that are out of my control. There are people who are out of my control.
I asked God to open my eyes so I could see where fear was a filter in me and he did. The picture that comes to mind is a river with big boulders rerouting the water. Then rocks that are seen when the boulders are gone. Then the stones that are scattered around that I can avoid if I’m looking. At times, it’s a pebble in my shoe that causes me to adjust my gate until I pause what I’m doing and remove it.
This is my journey… freedom from fear.
I trust you God, no matter what.
Bad things are going to happen. When I think about the pain people are experiencing, it is hard to imagine their depth of grief. It takes my breath away. I can’t go through my day without them on my mind. It makes it hard to fully believe that I can trust God no matter what. But I choose to. I choose to say NO WAY and I’m breaking up with fear.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves… and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28 The Message
Thank you God, that you open the eyes of the blind…. And that is me.
Jesus, be present. Comfort us. Heal wounds. Bring hope and freedom.