Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Fear and Anxiety

Harry from that delightful movie, Harry and the Hendersons
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith... Hebrews 12:1, 2 ESV

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ... 2 Corinthians 10: 4,5 KJV

I take a lot of ribbing from family members that one of my favorite TV shows is Finding Bigfoot.  Now I must say, other than living with one whom I call Big Paw (and Maine Coon kitties have mighty large snowshoe type paws)... I have never seen Bigfoot.

However, when I was a teenager my (then) stepsister took me to a movie that was about a raging mad Bigfoot hunting and killing people.  It scared me silly.  A deep penetrating fear took hold that night.  A fear of the unseen.  A fear of things that go bump in the night.  A fear of what is hiding behind that tree to the right of the bend... an overwhelming fear of the unknown.

I had already battled anxiety as a result of my father's sudden death but this was different.  Anxiety is just below the surface causing your tomorrows to be uncertain.  Fear causes you to hyperventilate and creates monsters where none actually exist.

When fear is allowed to enter, it affects far more than that which sparked it in the first place.

I have written before that I meet God in nature.  For some reason, I hear Him more clearly sitting beside a creek and walking the trails in the forest than I do sitting in a pew.  Perhaps it is the introvert in me or the appreciation of natural beauty.  He is There.

One of the joys of homeschooling was being able to pack a picnic lunch and go hiking with Christopher when he was still a young boy.  Although we lived "in town", our community was blessed with a wonderful park that had great hiking trails not too far from where we lived.

He and I would hunt for rocks and arrowheads and autumn leaves and cross the tiny bridge over the creek leading to the larger trails.  We loved walking into the woods until it was time to turn back and enjoy our lunch on a picnic table close to the forest.

But even then... in a woods within a town... I would get this feeling someone  was watching me, stocking me... someone big and furry.  Of course, it was not really Bigfoot but Fear itself that was doing the stalking and even though I knew that in my heart... sometimes my imagination would have us leave the woods sooner than planned.

So after awhile, I decided to meet those fears head on and I started researching Bigfoot.  Including TV shows about their sightings and eventually watching Finding Bigfoot and coming to enjoy the four "researchers".  There is a way that Truth cuts through Fear and I realized if there was such a thing as Bigfoot, he is not going to be in a Midwestern college town.

Truth showed me the movie was fiction, a horror film that embedded Fear from its' story. 

The Bible tells us fear is a spirit that comes against us.  Read the above verse.  If God has not given us that fear then it is the enemy of our souls who uses it (and quite often I must add) to control us and rob peace from our life.

He also has another weapon in his arsenal... anxiety.

In the past six or eight weeks, I have been going through a relationship trial I thought was far behind me.  It is one that rears its' ugly head once in awhile, that causes an uncertainty of the future... an uncertainty that brings with it anxiety.

What is the difference?  Well, in my own life I find fear feels a bit like a body slam that takes me unaware.  It comes suddenly, often from an outside source that I allow to take calm from my mind and soul.

Anxiety often enters when I don't even realize what is happening.  Its' seed of worry is planted and begins to grow until one day I realize something within has been eating away at my peace.  That is the enemy's tactic during most afflictions, causing us to question the very goodness of God.

It seems just when I think I've got this fear thing taken care of and anxiety crushed... He allows a trial to test it.  I am certain that is what it is.  For He has never allowed me to coast on past victories for long.

It's as if He knows my heart... oh, wait... He does!  He has to help me realize that it is in doing the warfare that the spiritual muscles grow stronger.  The very thought that trials can be a good thing is beyond my natural way of thinking.

Yes, He wants me to overcome fear!  Absolutely He desires me to lead a life free from anxiety.  But He doesn't just throw any of us into the gladiator's ring and wish us good luck.

No... He provides the weapons of our warfare in His word, our help in the form of angels, and our ability to concentrate on His strength as we spend time in prayer.

Far from leaving us to fend for ourselves in this fallen planet, He has provided everything we need to one day stand before Him and receive a crown for having finished our race in victory.

We will cross that line victorious but only if we stay close to the Source of our strength.  I have often said I can see myself entering Heaven out of breath and crawling over the finish line of life.

But as a victor and not a victim!   :)

Added:  There is a good fiction book about Bigfoot by Frank Peretti called Monster.  When it first came out, a friend recommended it to me but warned me not to start reading it at night.  I loved the book but I should have listened to her.  Just saying...  ;)


Ann said...

As usual, Brenda, you've written another wonderful post for Sunday Afternoon Tea. I know that the heavy trials in my life have brought with them a peace and a strength that I never would have had I not experienced them. Doesn't mean I like them one bit, but I do see God's hand at work in my life teaching me to look only to Him as my source of help.

Vee said...

Oh I read one Peretti book...still remember it quite vividly....have no desire to read another...just not my genre even if Stephen King hails from my corner. I do appreciate the Christian message Peretti shares. As one who does battle...usually in the wee hours of the morning...I also appreciate your message.

Denise said...

I was interested in this post for several reasons. I suppose We might have a lot in common.1,I watch that show..Search for Bigfoot. 2,I'm a Christian 3,I use to suffer from panic attacks similar to what Your describing. It got so bad I went to several Doctors along with claiming Bible Verses,praying...ect finally a Doctor prescribed Me some wonderful med. It's been 16 years with no panic attacks-Thank You Lord.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I let fear in more than I care to admit, and it is not fun. Thanks for this post.

Side note: Singer Cindy Morgan wrote a book about fear called, "Barefoot On Barbed Wire," that I highly recommend to those who struggle with fear.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I enjoyed this post Brenda. Now I know why the Bigfoot 'obsession." :)

Thank you for sharing this. Fear and Anxiety are not things that I have struggled with too much, but I grew up with a fearful mother and grandmother and it does spill over into your own thoughts, whether you are aware of it or not, and rears its head once in a while!

I am thankful that my husband has been so good to be a reality checker for me, especially early in our marriage, and a lot of the fear issues that could have become monsters, left.


Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
I am commenting a day late went to see God Is Not Dead last night with a group of church friends. Great movie! I have a problem with anxiety and worry. Somehow I think I must take care of it all by myself! I so easily forget God is in Control! Thanks again for a another wonderful post! Love and Hugs, Nana

Anonymous said...

Brenda, I so needed this today. I thought I was over fear and anxiety problems and am now facing them again. Thank you for reminding me of God's promises.

Friend Debra

Unknown said...

This month my husband committed suicide after battling anxiety for most of his life. It had recently worsened but I did not realize how deeply he had spiraled into depression. We always joked about how our attitudes towards life were completely opposite: mine was glass half-full, his glass half-empty. I really had not know what it was to feel fear. Since his death, I have experienced fear for the first time, and it is crushing. However, I am starting to feel peace again and I know all the prayers being said on my behalf are helping to create that peace.