2014 was a huge year of fear. I am a reflector, I love looking back to see what I learned throughout the year and how I can grow from it. I don’t dwell in the past but in 2014 I feared ALOT. I actually hate fear. I want to scream at fear in the face and tell it to go away. Fear according to dictionary.com is about fears and God knew we as humans would fear.
He gave us plenty of verses to help us with our fear (Isaiah 41:10). Fear is not from God, he is a God of peace. Fear in simple terms just means a lack of trust. Yup, that’s right, I didn’t fully trust God and I let certain fears paralyze me to the point of immobilization. We are invited to live freely in God and our fears get in the way of allowing us to fully experience true freedom in Christ. If you have ever feared something (and if you haven’t please give me your secrets), it’s not fun, its terrible. It holds you back from living freely. I hate living in fear, it’s not something I like doing or even like to admit, but I’m human, I’m fallen and God teaches me everyday to trust Him more. Fears are terrible and stop you dead in your tracks from moving forward, they are often crippling. They stop you from fully being yourself.
The fears I speak about are soul fears, they require looking deep within yourself, asking God to show you what you are absolutely terrified of. The kind of fear, that just thinking about it causes panic, terror, dread and/or anxiety. If you take a good hard look deep down into your soul, what is that one fear that absolutely terrifies you, or those two or ten? The fear that is so crippling, it makes you want to hide in a hole and never come out. Those are the fears I am talking about. The kind you don’t want anyone to know about, you yourself might not even fully realize or understand you have a fear/s. Over the years, I’ve learned to block out many fears and run away, and this is not good. God desires us to know Him and be known by Him (Galatians 4:9) and if we have fear, it blocks us from fully trusting and knowing God and it also blocks us from fully knowing ourselves or others.
It’s what we do with that fear that matters. The only fear God asks us to have is a fear of him (Deuteronomy 10:20-21). He can deliver us from our fears, I’ve seen it happen firsthand but he can’t free us until we become completely open and vulnerable with Him first and foremost. It’s the most crucial part of overcoming any fear. We must learn to trust.
Some of the fears I had in 2014:
Rejection– I honestly thought I had a fear of being open and vulnerable. I had these very specific dreams where God was showing a fear I had built up over the years that stemmed from 3rd grade. I thought that it had to do with being open because in my dreams, I kept wanting to hide and not be “seen”. But it really had to do with a fear or rejection that I held onto for more than 15+ years and did not even know it had affected me all of these years. I trusted a friend in 3rd grade with a secret and she broke that secret and in return, I felt rejected. Being open with people is a choice, I choose to be completely open with those I trust, not because I’m fearful but because I trust them with sharing my heart. I’ve definitely learned to be careful with who I share my heart with over the years (not even wanting to face that rejection again), but sometimes rejection comes from those who we care about the most and it can also hurt the most. It’s great to have people who know your heart, the good, bad and ugly, but the only person who truly knows my heart is God. He knows me better than myself and he will never reject me. Rejection is not always a choice. I don’t specifically choose to be rejected, it just kind of happens. God actually took me through this fear and he is helping to deliver and heal me. I’m not going to lie and say it’s not painful, it’s very painful and hurts, but God says he will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9).
Marriage- Oh, this one is very touchy and not something I really don’t want to advertise about but it must be said (it’s all about learning that vulnerability ^ ha). This used to be by far my greatest fear in life. I struggled with this immensely in 2013 but it still creeped int0 2014 a bit. I didn’t fear marriage, but I feared I would never get married, ever. I led myself to believe that God just didn’t care and wanted me to be single forever.
I can’t speak for all girls, but I can assure you, many girls, have one time or another have feared this. If you have ever wondered what late night “girl talk” is like, this subject has probably been brought up. I’ve sat in a room numerous times with a group of girls where we sulked in self-pity and complained and joked that we’d probably never get married. My poor mom has even taken a hit a few times in moments of self-doubt. Full of worry and anxiety, I’d say, “Mom, I’ll never get married. I just know it will never happen”. Like any mom, she’d try to encourage me by telling me I’m beautiful, worthy, and that God had someone wonderful planned for me but it still never sank in and I didn’t believe her. And my poor dad, not knowing what to do but feeling the pain of my fear, he’d say, “Well lets just sign you up for an online dating website”. I made this very clear and threw it back into his face that I would NEVER do that but my poor reaction came from a place of fear, and he was only trying to make me feel better. I am not proud of this at all. Ugh, it’s embarrassing. I came from a place of self-pity, whining, complaining and the occasional joke about being #foreversingle to try and laugh off the doubt.
Thinking deep into this fear, I can remember one particular moment someone I love and care deeply about said some very hurtful words to me about being married many years ago. She would comment, very jokingly, but the words still hurt, and say something along the lines of, “you’ve never had a boyfriend and aren’t dating anyone, are you sure you aren’t a lesbian?”. Talk about stab in the heart. That crushed my spirit and in that moment I learned to block out the subject all together. I ran from it and pushed it so far away, I didn’t acknowledge it for years. It was easier to block out everything, when I should have confronted that person, been open about my fears and and told her that comment hurt. Instead, I was weenie and sprinted as far away as possible by burying my fear.
In early 2013, my friend and I were falsely prophesied over about our “husbands”. I didn’t let it get to me right away, but later in the year when this fear was made more real, I became fearful of the words this man supposedly prophesied about to us. I never went to God directly and asked him if those words were true or not, I didn’t test it (huge lesson learned, always always test any prophesy). Turns out they were extremely false, but it fed my fear and only made it much worse.
I lived in a constant state of fear about this subject and just learned to block it out all together. Blocking it out at the time seemed like the easiest thing to do. The thing is though, I never brought it to God. I never told God, “Hey, I want to be married one day, what is your view on this subject? Help to give me peace and align my thoughts with yours”. Eventually he taught me that I need to be open and ask Him for help, so I did. He started to walk me through this fear in mid 2013 and by the middle of 2014, God had helped to deliver me from this fear!
Once I opened up and brought this fear to God and started asking God about his thoughts on this subject, he helped walk me through this fear. It took over a year and a half but He completely delivered me from that fear! It’s actually an awesome feeling to be delivered from one of your greatest fears, but it didn’t come without much seeking, asking and knocking (Matthew 7:7), pain and soul digging. I now live in complete freedom, and God confirms over and over that I will one day get married. God has shown me that he is in the market for romance, he is the great romantic after all, showing us the greatest love story ever told. His ultimate focus from the beginning of time has been preparing a bride (the church) for His Son.
It’s great freedom to know that he has redeemed me from this fear. That alone makes the pain I suffered from that fear worth everything because it will result in something so rewarding. With pain and sorrow comes joy and freedom.
“This is the love of a bridegroom God, Who comes to the broken and shamed of the earth, and exchanges their ash-heap brokenness for the headpiece of beauty that He Himself wears in the wedding ceremony.” – Gary Weins, Bridal Intercession (my favorite book at the moment!)
Writing– I enjoy writing and I never, ever used to. I hated writing in school, it was torture but now I love it. I write things to myself and others all of the time. I keep journals filled with writing, I treasure them because when I write I can be open and vulnerable with myself. I’ve learned that through writing, I can express things that are deeply hidden and God helps me bring them to light.
The thing about writing though is that I can use it to be open and vulnerable with myself and others. There were many times I plainly refused to write because of my fears. I’m not talking about being a little afraid, it’s more of a- I feel like I could puke- because I was terrified of what certain people think. God opens me up through my writing and it sometimes scares me to the core.
Even writing on here, I’ve withheld myself more than a few times because of my fear. My fear stops me from doing something I love and it stinks. There were multiple times in 2014 where I ran away because I was afraid and I plain just told God, “No, I will not write because it hurts and I don’t want to feel judged. I was living in a place of fear of man and caring what others think. I absolutely hate that fear, but I know God is working me through it and will deliver me from it.
Creating– This also goes along with being open and also writing. In 2014, I totally stopped doing some things I love because I was so fearful. I let the fear of thinking I’m not good enough and caring what other people think stop me from creating. I compared myself and thought, “well If I can’t do something as well as they can, I just won’t do it at all”. If I put myself out there and the things I create, I am exposing myself, and that openness scares me. That is an absolutely terrible way to live and feels more suffocating than free but again, God is in the business of redemption and he will deliver me!
I used these pictures because in every one of these moments, I very clearly remember I didn’t feel fear, I felt freedom. I want to live in that freedom always. In these pictures I was living in faithful trust, not fearing. My little nephew doing the handstand on that car could have feared and not trusted me, but instead, even though he was scared he trusted me to hold him. He may have fallen once or twice (hee hee oopsies Z), but I caught him both times. I may fear, and I may fall, but God is always there to pick me right back up.
Overcoming fears are a process, it’s not instantaneous healing. We live in a microwave mindset, but God lives in a, ” I will take you through the steps, no matter how long until it takes for you to learn to completely trust me” mindset. Some you will overcome faster, while others are much more painful and buried deep with lots of layers to uncover. I remember some very powerful words my friend posted on FB a long time ago, and they were wise words from his dad that said, “don’t let those fears grip you”. I cannot tell you have many times those words stuck out to me when I needed to hear them the most over the past year.
The one thing I do want to fear most in this world is God (a healthy fear). I want to have lived a life of full surrender for the Glory of the Lord. A life of reckless abandonment that completely strips me of myself and points to God. He is my rock and He can use me as he pleases.
God wants us to be vulnerable and open with him about our fears. It’s the most important part in beginning to overcome them. There’s no doubt I will fear in 2015, heck I already have. As I was driving home a week or so ago after I wrote this post, I was fearing posting it. Fearing as in, let me just delete Facebook and Instagram all together and never ever show anyone my vulnerable side and go hide in a hole forever type fear. Constantly going back and forth in my mind, between should I post this or should I not. I repeated to myself over and over, “don’t let those fears grip you, Katie”, if it scares you to your core, it’s worth posting it. I am done running and letting the enemy scare me, I am taking (baby steps) back what the enemy has stolen.
I just let go
And I feel exposed
But its so beautiful
Cuz this is who I am
This is who I am, fearful, scared, a mess, exposed but beautifully loved by my King.
“perfect love drives out fear. “1 John 4:18