24 Jun Fog of Fear by Audrey Martinez
Fear. You know what I’m talking about: heart pounding, sweaty palms, can’t sit still, mind racing, sheer panic! You might see this type of fear in an action movie where a victim is being physically threatened with their life. Many of us can relate to having experienced this type of fear and it feels just as threatening. In our scenario, in the midst of this fear, we may or may not be the victim . . . but ultimately, we are definitely the villain. I’ll explain more later.
I’m a mom—moms tend to worry. I am a mom of five; that’s a whole lotta worry-potential! Worry is different from fear, although they can go hand in hand, or worry can lead to fear. The Bible has a lot to say about both. The fear that I have experienced goes beyond worry. It’s not just a wringing of the hands; it’s full-blown panic. Maybe some of you know this feeling. This has happened to me more than once but I’ll tell you the incident that was really a turning point for me.
Two of my kids who were in middle school at the time, 13 and 14 years old, expressed an interest in signing up for a church mission trip. They were traveling to another state by van to help do some work in the community. My husband and I are always encouraging our kids to serve and it was natural and easy for us to agree to the trip, so we all prayed about it and we felt God’s peace to say yes. Paperwork was signed, fees paid and the kids were ready. As it got closer to the trip, I began to have this uneasy feeling. Soon, the uneasiness escalated and the what-ifs began. What if one of them got sick? What if my introverted, shy son wandered off and no one noticed? What if the van got in an accident on the highway? What if it was a dangerous area they were working in and something happened? Well like any good Christian mom I started to pray. I prayed for God to protect the kids, to keep them from harm, for safety and travel mercies . . . I prayed. And then I started having terrible dreams about the trip and I was sure God was sending me a prophetic message that something bad was going to happen (like they were going to crash the van and die) and so they shouldn’t go. I told my husband my big revelation and that I thought we should cancel their trip. My levelheaded husband did his best to understand, assuage my fears and irrational thinking, but ultimately, he didn’t agree to cancelling the trip. I tried to latch onto the peace that my husband felt and I knew I sounded irrational when I said these things out loud but I just couldn’t shake the panicked feeling of fear.
A few days later a friend asked about the mission trip and whether I was excited. I shared honestly all that I was feeling and as she tried to comfort me, she gave me a scripture verse and asked me a question that broke the fog of fear I was feeling. It was 2 Timothy 1:7—“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” And then she said, “If you believe this scripture is true, and God is not giving you a spirit of fear, where is it coming from?” I have heard this scripture many times but in this instance it felt mind-blowing. The sheer panicked fear I was feeling was NOT of God, it was of me! I was the villain in my own horror story. I was listening to the lies of the Enemy and I was trying to squash the will of God, as well as being very far from having a ‘sound mind.’
This was very much like the proverbial ‘light bulb’ moment and a real turning point for me. It truly increased my faith and trust in the Lord, and gave me tremendous peace. Now, whenever I feel that occasional fear begin to creep in (which it still does because . . . still a mom of 5 now very independent children) I recite that scripture to myself, remember who God is, remember that I am already victorious in Christ, and remind myself that no one wants to be the villain in their own story!