Fear is a powerful word, which evokes strong feelings. Feelings we don’t like to think about, investigate, or consider. We want to hide from fear, and try to escape it in any way we can. But the more we suppress it, the more it controls our lives. Because we have so very little control over our lives, fear can be seen lurking around every corner.
My fears can range from small, ordinary, everyday fears to catastrophic. My greatest fear is losing my children. Yet, I also fear that I didn’t pack the kids enough food to eat for their lunch each day. I can sometimes live each day expecting the worse.
I wasn’t always this way. I was a fairly happy-go-lucky kid and young adult. I traveled internationally without any fear or concern for my safety. I moved myself from Indiana to Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, New York, and finally to California all by myself—not knowing a soul—without batting an eye. I lived by myself for years without any concerns, sleeping soundly each night.
Then I had children, and the reality and possibility of danger became more real to me. A tiny baby is so fragile and dependent on you, and all that you do for them influences them for the rest of their lives. A complex, multitude of fears began to increase exponentially inside my heart and mind as they grew.
My first pregnancy went like clockwork, and we had a healthy baby girl. We expected my second pregnancy to do the same. It came as a great shock, when we found out at 34 weeks, that our baby boy was very, very ill. Within five days, we found out that he had tragically passed in utero. Because of our experience, I view all pregnancies differently than I did before our loss.
But the irony of fear is that the fears we worry about usually do not come to pass, rendering the time spent worrying useless, with unimagined events happening instead. I worried that my little sister might lose her first baby during childbirth. Thankfully, the baby was born healthy. However, she almost died from hemorrhaging within minutes after the birth—something I had never considered—and I’m extremely grateful that she is alive and well now.
This continues to teach me that fear and worry have no point, and serve me in no way. There is very little I have control over. I can prepare and prevent certain things from happening, such as a sunburn from a day at the beach, or practicing a speech enough that I deliver it to the best of my ability. But it’s helpful to remind myself I have very little control over other people and the events in this world.
I’ve also found that instead of rehearsing what could go wrong in my mind, I should imagine the scenario if things go right. Our family is headed to Kenya this summer. This trip feels ripe with opportunities for danger, and I find myself imagining several different dangerous scenarios. To combat this, I am practicing asking myself, “What if we are safe and have a wonderful time?” That is the more likely scenario. Millions of people travel safely around the world each day. If I can free up my mind to expect this and want it, I will be more able to enjoy it, and it is more likely to happen.
Copyright: Kevin Carden / 123RF
The more we practice handing over our fears to God, surrendering ourselves to his plan for us, looking for and expecting good from him, the more confident we become in handling our fear. This starts to change our perspective and heart, increasing our faith and helping us to live in the land with joy and abundance, instead of fear.
When Fear rises up,
My vision goes dark,
My pulse starts to race,
My thoughts spin in circles.
I press on through my day.
Doing, doing, doing the things I think I should.
Trying not to let my fear be seen.
Until I hear a whisper, and pause, and remember.
Remember that my God is with me.
I can trust in Him.
I can mistrust in Him.
It is all the same to Him.
He is still with me.
He is still good.
And my soul sighs,
And the light starts to emerge.
My breath steadies.
I am strengthened.
Growing up, Molly Meyer wanted to be a professional cheerleader. When she realized she had no natural talent for it, she decided to be an engineer instead. Currently she calls herself a stay-at-home mom for her three children. She finds this phase of life joyful, humbling, and challenging. She hopes that God is doing a transforming work in her and preparing her to make an impact in the lives of her children and the world around her.