Have you ever been truly afraid? Not just scared after a movie, but fearful to the point it interfered with your life.
There was a time in my life when I was frightened of everything. My fear was irrational. It overcame me. Even in the middle of the day, I’d check the closets and under the beds. I was startled at everything. At night, I’d wake up and turn the light on to make sure it was my husband in bed with me and not a stranger. I don’t know about you, but I believe in forces of evil as well as good, so when a friend told me I needed to bombard my mind and house with God’s word, I was ready. She said I had a spirit of fear oppressing me, and I believed it. Desperate, I was ready to try anything. I know it sounds weird, but with my Bible in hand, I walked through every room in my house and prayed for God to cleanse it. I told the old devil he didn’t have a place there and he had to go. KSBJ Christian Radio had just started up and I kept it on continuously, keeping the praises of God and His word ever present in my home. Yes, my family thought I’d lost my mind.
Soon, I began to feel relief. I no longer felt compelled to check closets and under the beds. I no longer woke my husband turning the light on in the middle of the night to be sure it was him and not some stranger in my bed. I continued to play KSBJ and prayed regularly, and I thought the worst of my battle with fear was over. Then, an old friend, Estelle, came for a visit. I shared my relief to no longer struggle with fear, but she wasn’t convinced. She challenged me to go to our new undeveloped, wooded property after dark alone. (Remember, in those days, we didn’t have cell phones.) I told her I couldn’t. “But what if God, Himself, asked you to do it?” I still couldn’t and it nagged me for months. A sense of fear once again began to overwhelm me.
That October my boys wanted to attend a Bonfire being held on the road near our undeveloped acreage. After I dropped them off, I unwillingly turned the car toward our new property. My palms grew sweaty and my heart raced. I couldn’t believe it. I was doing this now! In October no less, the scariest month of the year. I passed the last house on the way to our land and watched from the rearview mirror as their porch light grew smaller until it finally disappeared. My last link with civilization, gone. Let me tell you it was DARK.
No other houses had yet been built that last mile. Thick woods ran deep on either side of the narrow dirt road. The road dipped low, crossed a rickety wooden bridge, curved to the left, and then made a sharp right. I found the break in wall of trees I knew to be the path to our property and stopped. “Yay! I did it!” I’d come to our property alone and after dark. Thank you, Lord. I put the car in reverse and yet kept my foot on the brake. Why did I hesitate?
Have you ever just had a conversation with yourself? You hear yourself telling you something you know you would never say. I mean who tells themselves “Stay” in this situation? Not me! Was I crazy? I didn’t want to stay. I’d accomplished what I set out to do and wanted to get back to lights and people.
Then I heard a soft voice say, Turn off the key?
What? “Oh God,” I prayed. What if it won’t start?
With faith, hope, and trust, I followed what had to be God’s instructions. I know I would have never thought to do this on my own. Putting the car in Park, I reluctantly turned off engine. Quiet, with only night sounds of frogs and crickets. I stared out the windshield and realized the headlights would run down battery. I had to turn them off. Adrenaline pumping and my breath shallow and panting, I turned off the lights. My eyes soon adjusted, and I realized the night wasn’t as dark as I thought. Still, I was ready to start the engine and leave.
But that gentle voice said, “Get out of car.” By now I knew for sure it was God, yet I argued with Him.
“Really, God. There could be real dangers. Like snakes.” And I’d heard black bears and panthers had been sighted in our area.
I know. I took a deep breath and looked around for signs of danger. None I could see. I opened the car door and scanned the ground and the woods across the ditch. Again nothing. I stepped out and stood in the gap between the car and the open door.
Shut the door.
I groaned and slowly pushed the door closed, keeping my hand on the handle. I swallowed hard and kept vigilance around me with my back to the car and my hand gripping the handle. I stood there for what felt like eternity. Soon, my breathing returned to normal. I was okay.
Walk around the Car.
Are you kidding me? But I didn’t argue, just gave another groan.
I’m here, He reassured me again.
Reluctantly, I let go of the handle and walked around the car. No, I ran around the car and then grabbed the door handle again, and almost jumped back into car. Instead, I paused and asked, “Is it okay now?”
I opened the car door and got in, snapped the door locks and slammed the key into the ignition. But once again, I hesitated. I waited for more direction. None came. I listened to the hum of silence. I looked up at the stars, and in the beauty of the night, a peaceful relief washed over me. A weight lifted. I sat there in the car no longer in a hurry. I truly thanked God for helping me face my fears and I’ve never been afraid since. Well, that’s not true. I’ve been afraid, but not overcome with fear again. Today, when I hear Francesca Battistelli’s, The Breakup Song, the lines Fear, you don’t own me and Fear, you will never be welcome here, I want to shout!
I didn’t want to face fear, but realized Fear is the opposite of Faith. Had I not faced my fear that night, I would have been unable to go through the many fearful trials that came to me years later.
Are you fearful? Don’t let fear overwhelm you. Face it head-on. Fear is only a thing in your mind. Do you have a story to share? Have you overcome a fear in your life?
Remember, wherever you are, you are at the right place when you come to my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.
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Thank you, Shelia. This was interesting. I never thought of fear as the opposite of faith, but it absolutely is.