This little phrase packs a powerful punch. I picture a child seeking comfort from their parents in the dead of night. I was that kid who would eerily creep into my parent’s room and just look at my dad until he woke up, startled by the pair of eyes staring back at him. With tears coming to my eyes, I would say, “Daddy, I’m scared”.He would comfort me and it would be enough for me to head back to bed with confidence. It has been hard for me to find words for how I am doing with the COVID-19 fall-out but it finally hit me the other day, I was scared.
Fear is a funny thing. It is a built-in alarm system, designed to help us make the right decisions. At the peak of the well-known “flight or fight” response, our emotions have taken over the part of our brain that makes reasonable decisions. And in a dire situation, this is a good thing but if we let the panic stick, we lose our God given ability to have a sound mind. Have you ever thought about if you’re bent towards flight or fight? Do you tend to buck up, figure out all the facts, take control, and tackle scary things head on? Or do you tend to minimize, distract yourself, or simply run away from hard things?
I had a really scary moment this week when my son woke up with a fever over 103 degrees and shortness of breath. I felt panicked. Have your alarms been ringing this week? The fighters are looking everywhere to gain control but it’s hard when health, finances, and routines have changed. The flyers want to distract themselves with their busy schedule and sense of comfort but it’s kind of hard when there is nowhere to go and so many of our false securities, even good ones like financial stability, friendships, and routine, have been thrown out the window.
I have heard that phrase said with the same kind of tear-in-your-eye voice from so many people this week. I’m scared because I don’t know how we are going to make it financially. I’m scared because my husband is an ER doctor. I’m scared because my mom functions on one kidney. Fill in the blank here for your own personal fears; we are all in this, some way or another. Whether you are experiencing loneliness, anxiety, stress, or anger, our nerves are heightened.
Your fear is not wrong. Your heightened anxiety is only human. The problems we are facing are real. But we have a heavenly Father who is greater… an opportunity to come before our Heavenly Father and vulnerably confess, “Daddy, I’m scared.” And tell him, let it out in prayer and supplication (Phil. 4:8-9). Then wait on His still, small voice to speak words of comfort and truth over you. Truth like, “Do not fear, do not be dismayed, I will strengthen and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Is. 41:10).“ And then repeat….honesty in prayer, humble submission, and choosing to take up the truth and walk with confidence… over and over each time the fear strikes again. Let His presence, his salvation, and the hope of glory lead us to show grace, love, patience, and peace in the midst of fear and unknown.
*My son was diagnosed with Flu-A and adenovirus and is fully recovered.*
Get in the Word of God. Here are a few prompts…
Psalm 57- David was being hunted down by Saul, hiding out to save his life. He is raw with God about his fear and his confusion yet ends in praise for God’s mercy and steadfast love. A template for how to “process” your emotions with God.
“Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and shield.
For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name.” Psalm 33:20
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 1 Corinthians 4:16-18
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 8-11
Additional anxiety reducing ideas:
- Be intentional about recognizing your breath. Breathe in deep through your nose and out through your mouth ten times.
- A physiological response in your brain will automatically calm your nerves.
Turn off social media. Give yourself intentional breaks during the day where you do not look at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or a news outlet.
If possible, take a walk and notice the new life springing up around you.
Pick one verse and memorize it. Meditate on it and then recall it when you anticipate anxiety building.
Create something… work in your garden, draw, or paint.
Listen to uplifting music.
*my recent favorites- Matt Maher, Shane and Shane Worship Volumes, and Audrey Aussad*
Journal…you know it is something you have always wanted to start! Use a verse or chapter from above and just write your immediate thoughts and then use the words as a prayer of thankfulness to God.