Unpeel the silken layers of perceived serenity, the contented smile, the calm responses to whining children, just beneath the surface can lie a churning whirlpool of fear.
Stomach churning, chest so tight that breathing comes in only short breaths and mind clouded, all sense hidden by the fear of something which doesn’t even exist.
Anxiety, the foe which follows me around, hiding in corners, awaiting his moment to pounce and steal my peace. I knew he was there, I’ve felt his eyes boring into me for weeks, watching my every move, seeing the chinks in my armour. He’s an evil genius, he knows just where to strike to cause me maximum damage.
This week he went for it, he found my Achilles’ heel and took me down, almost drowning me in a sea of fear.
For a few days I wrestled with him and he seemed to be winning. I tried to pray, but to no avail, I was consumed with fear, irrational fear.
I’ve spent weeks transferring my anxieties from one thing to the next, a sure sign that it was anxiety that gripped me and not genuine concerns. I suspect my hormones are struggling as Timothy weans, as it’s not the first time I’ve felt this terror.
Why would I be afraid? My God loves me, I have nothing to fear.
Sadly I know all too well that he allows his children to suffer. My childhood was peppered with pain, death, financial crises, walking on egg shells, feeling invisible after Mum died, as Dad threw himself into his own life, his own grief, and I just felt like a giant inconvenience.
God’s allowed me to suffer before, so he could allow it again.
Is that it then, is that why I’m afraid, is the inner child in me still frightened? Maybe. Perhaps it’s just hormones, or my highly sensitive personality, after all God’s healed me of my pain from the past, hasn’t he?
I often feel guilty when I’m afraid. I shouldn’t feel this way, I’m a child of God. Where’s my faith? Perfect love drives out fear, doesn’t it?
I feel guilty because I feel, at that moment, unable to be full of joy and yet, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to have joy in all circumstances?
You see, I was wrestling. Satan wanted to bring me down, to whisper these doubts into my ear, to whisper fears and gradually turn up the volume until the noise of my fears drowned out the voice of God. God’s still small voice was always calling me, but FEAR and DOUBT were shouting.
Finally it came to a head on Wednesday, tears choked my voice as I pushed them back, I was broken, but then God intervened.
Wednesday was my prayer night with my ever faithful prayer partner, Jennifer. I shared the emotional horrors of my week and she prayed, bringing me before God’s throne and petitioning him on my behalf.
It was like the mist cleared, my senses sharpened, my mind became still. The wind and the waves of fear listened to God and obeyed him, the storm in my mind subsided.
God gave me a new perspective on the problem that I’d blown out of all proportion, the one which appeared unsolvable. God cleared the confusion from my thoughts and showed me the way forward. It was so simple, why hadn’t I thought of it already? Panic is no friend of clear thinking.
The battle for my peace is over, as if it had never occurred, except for the immense gratitude I feel towards God for saving me once again.
I know Anxiety is waiting just around the corner, he’s been forced into retreat, for now, but he’ll have another go, next time I need to be better prepared.
I’d best put on the full armour of God to defeat this enemy, he’s a wily one and determined too, he knows anxiety is the sin which so easily trips me up.
‘Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.’ Hebrews 12:1
‘Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’ Ephesians 6:11.
I have learnt through this that prayer may not change the situation but it can change our perspective and that, for me, changed everything.
Sending blessings to you all, Vicki
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