Fear and Love

woman

Fear cannot be found in Great Love.  It just can’t. It’s not possible.

If you’re experiencing a lot of fear in your life then you’re choosing the fear over the Great Love.

That’s really hard for me to tell you because I’ve been on the other end of this conversation.

5 years ago I was in bondage to fear, anxiety, and depression to the point of contemplating suicide.  I had always been a happy, upbeat person.  I had been walking with Jesus for 5 years, leading women’s groups, and sold out to Christ when my feet came out from under me.

No one died.  There was no crazy health issue. There was nothing traumatic that happened. Someone simply said something to me that scared me. It was like all of a sudden my eyes opened and I saw how scary the world was.  I was aware that there was danger all around.  I realized I had zero control.  That scared the hell out me.

I lost my footing and I fell …. hard.

Paralyzing anxiety told me to stay home.  I stayed home.  I isolated. I shut down.  Depression invited itself over and set up camp for a while.

A friend told me the other day ‘depression can’t hit a moving target’.  So true! That’s why the devil loves anxiety so much.  Anxiety makes you shut down and isolate.  Depression can’t hit a moving target but it can crawl up on the back of a person who has shut down.

This was me, friend.  I was so pissed. I was living a fruitful life.  I was living as a follower of Jesus.  A real follower of Jesus – not just someone who claims to be a believer but then does whatever they want.  I had led women to Christ.  I read my Bible.  I prayed. I attended church.  I didn’t deserve to be attacked by fear.

Can I tell you something? The devil doesn’t care about you.  He wants to destroy you.  He hates you.  He looks for opportunities to take your feet out from under you.  Don’t give him too much credit or attention – but don’t be naive either.

The fear that I experienced was so overwhelming that I was sick every single day. My thoughts were out of control. I felt trapped. I would look into my eyes in the mirror and I knew April was in there somewhere.  I just needed to get her out.

After a couple months of feeling sorry for myself and dealing with the initial shock that this wasn’t just a phase that was going away after a couple of weeks, I fought back.

Trembling, I would read the word.  I would read it aloud and I would proclaim it even if I wasn’t feeling it.  I prayed non stop.  I had verses taped to the walls all over my house.  I read them aloud when I walked past them or whenever I was struggling really hard.  Every morning I read about the full armor of God.  I put it on.  Every day I thanked God that TODAY was the day he was going to heal me.

But today wasn’t the day.

There were deep valley moments.  Real life, gross stuff.  There were days where I just slept because I had no energy to do anything else.  I contemplated suicide.  I heard voices in my head telling me to kill myself. It was crazy, y’all.  But I held on.

I read the scripture and it didn’t help.  I prayed and it didn’t help.  I called out the name of Jesus –  and nothing… no relief.  I remember crying and saying, “Jesus!  I thought if I said your name darkness had to flee!?! What the heck, man?!!?”  I started to doubt everything I had ever believed.  When I needed Jesus the MOST, He wasn’t there.

But He was.

You see, just because you don’t feel relief doesn’t mean that God has given up on you or left your side.  I don’t know where along the way we thought the Christian life was always cushy and comfortable.  Because it’s not.  We were never told by God that it would be on this side of eternity.

Bad things happen.  We experience incredible pain sometimes.  But regardless of how bad it hurts, Jesus never leaves us.  No matter how impossible the situation looks – God is not out of miracles.

God is not limited by our limitations.  God is not a big one of us. He’s God.  I don’t understand it all and I don’t need to understand it all.  I just need faith in Jesus.  He does the rest and you can bet it always works out for good.  Always.

You can’t get so stuck in the crap of the here and now that you forget that Jesus will always work the crap out for good.  The season I described above  is the WORST season of my life – but it’s the BEST thing that ever happened to me.

Through that season I went deeper in my faith than I ever could have on my own in my ‘normal’ life circumstances.  That season taught me to literally depend on God for my next breath.  It also taught me that if he didn’t give me the next breath – that was okay.

I learned how to love God more than my own life.  I learned that I was extremely fearful of death.  I was afraid of everything that was out of my control.  I was afraid of rejection.  I was afraid of health issues.  I had toxic relationships in my life that needed to be uprooted.  I had guilt, shame, insecurity, fear, and unforgiveness that needed to be released.

The enemy plotted to destroy my life. I chose to believe God REGARDLESS of how bad it hurt and the enemy didn’t win. I’m more free now than I ever was before that terrible season of life.

The very thing you’re resisting could be the very thing that God is trying to use to save your life.  To set you free.  To release you.  Stop resisting.  Stop fighting.  Lean into Jesus and celebrate what He’s doing!  I know it doesn’t make sense … but whoever said it was going to make sense? Thank Him today for the miracle. Just because it’s nowhere in sight doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Don’t choose fear over Great Love.  I know that’s easier said than done but it’s possible.  I speak from experience, friend.  It is possible.  It’s gonna take every bit of you because you’re going to have to keep believing even when everything in you tells you it’s hopeless.

Don’t isolate.  Get into positive groups even if you’re numb in the midst of them.  Go anyway.  Get into a Bible Study.  Faith comes from hearing the word.  Keep worship music in the atmosphere, go to church each Sunday, serve in the community, stay around positive conversations.  Turn off the TV (especially reality TV and the news), read books about people who have overcome, read the Word, pray without ceasing, celebrate the victory TODAY, and keep believing.

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” Hebrews 10:22

Choose love over fear. Fear may feel stronger at times but remember that the enemy uses fear as False Evidence Appearing Real.  He uses it to get you stuck and to make you doubt.

Truth is truth.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Hold on. It’s not over yet.  You’re just getting started and the enemy is messing with the wrong one!

You are more than a conqueror!

You are dearly loved.

April

6 thoughts on “Fear and Love

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! Anxiety is a struggle God and I are still walking through. It can be a very long road. But I love what you said: “You see, just because you don’t feel relief doesn’t mean that God has given up on you or left your side.” SO good. Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Jordan. Since my battle with anxiety a few years ago I started to see how the enemy is using anxiety and depression to lock believers into bondage. The enemy is definitely using it to oppress God’s children BUT GOD – God will surely work it out for good. I look back at my story and can fully see that what the enemy meant for evil, God has used for good.

  2. So much goodness here. Especially about Jesus working all that crap together for our good. It’s so easy to believe we have been abandoned just because we feel abandoned.

  3. “Don’t give him too much credit or attention – but don’t be naive either.” Powerful statement, April! Our small group at church is dissecting the different aspects of fear this month, and your post is spot on for what we were discussing last Wednesday! Going to share…

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