Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Overcoming Fear

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Last week I realised I have an issue with fear.  Actually it's been a problem for well over a decade, but I seem to be a bit slow on the update.  A moment of dumbness on my part, for sure.

It all started because of a couple of sermons at church, recently, about overcoming fear.  I didn't think much about it, until the week I went back to work.  Then I was back to my insomniac ways: whirring thoughts, waking up panicking over all the things I hadn't managed to get completed.  And then of course, we're walking Miss Sunshine through overcoming her very real, and understandable fears about driving on dirt roads.

Fear seems to have become a theme for the month of January!

Last week I realised that we use a lot of different words that are all different ways to say fear:  doubt, worry, anxiety, concern, despair, dread, panic, unease.  All of these feelings come from a place of fear.  When I realised that these were some of the adjectives for my early morning feelings I decided it was time to get this sorted out once and for all.

I am a Bible reader, and there is this great verse that tells me exactly what to do.  It's awesome.  It's one of my favourite verses, because it's so practical.  I've taught my school babies about this verse and watched them put it into practice and conquer their fears.  Apparently I'm not great at putting it into practice myself!!  Rats!
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hears and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
 The first bit of the verse is where the turnaround begins.  Don't worry about anything.  That's not a flippant instruction or statement.  It is a directive to make a choice not to partner with fear; not to engage with it, to turn your back on it.  Choose a different way.  A better way is to pray about everything.  I love that I get to chat with God about the stuff I'm worried about and leave it with him. This is when I choose to remind myself of God's characteristics, his faithfulness, that he has already won my battle with fear.  That's what I choose to partner with, because that's Truth.

What was I worried about last week?  Getting everything done to have my classroom and my lessons planned for this week.  My room has had a new ceiling, paint, new roof, new lights, new ceiling fans and optic fibre installed over summer.  I didn't get the lights back up til last Friday.  Our internet network has been sketchy because it was also having a major overhaul.  I finally got to print stuff on Saturday!  I needed three days in my classroom, I had the equivalent of one!  So on Sunday night I decided to follow the advice found in Philippians.  I decided I didn't want to partner with fear.  I told God what I was worried about and what I felt I needed.  This morning?  I woke early, but later than I had been waking.  Not panic, no worry, no whirring thoughts going a million miles an hour.  I just lay there thinking about all the things I was going to get to do with my kids today.

Do you know what the antonyms for fear are?  They are great words:  calm, confidence, contentment,  faith, ease, joy, courage, fearlessness.  That's how I want to be able to describe my life!

My students came back to school today and we had a great time.  As much as I am looking forward to  having Wednesday's off this year, I can't wait to get back on Thursday.


Denyse Whelan. said...

This is so lovely to read...about how you used your faith to conquer what was happening in your head. I am learning much about fear too as it has plagued me in the past 2 years like no other time. In my reading I know that we are meant to have a level of fear (keeps us safe) but that when it morphs into more there can be underlying reasons. On the surface we can look like things are going well but underneath there can be more. In my case, ageing, retirement after a long career, being less needed by my family who are grown and independent and then there is more...but you know, getting a grip on the reasons can also help. I am so glad you had a good day at school and thank you for visiting my blog today! Denyse

Renee Wilson said...

I love those antonyms for fear. I need to try to keep those front of mind. Glad you had a great day at school :)

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Lovely post, Tracy. I remember hearing someone say many years ago that stress is actually fear, and if you want to combat stress, you need to articulate what you're afraid of. I think prayer is best coping mechanism, but it's funny how often I forget this and walk around in a state of anxiety!