“A supervisor I once had said, ‘If the devil can’t steal your victory he’ll try to steal your joy.’” I’ve found his words to be true.
My surgery had gone without a hitch. The mass my doctor was so worried about was benign. You’d think that would quiet all my concerns. But new ones darkened my slumber. A fierce struggle in my mind jarred me awake.
Two phone conversations and a YouTube video during the week following surgery had sown seeds of doubt about my decision to keep my healthy organs. These ugly doubts sprouted into suffocating fear during my sleep. The video had popped up, ironically, after I’d finished watching one on prayer. In it, Angelina Jolie told how her doctor had begged her, with tears, to remove her ovaries. In my sleep, these women’s fears became my own. Had I been wrong to keep my healthy ovary?
What fears threaten your peace? With all that is going on in our world, there are plenty to choose from. Reason wasn’t enough to conquer mine. Let me explain how God rescued me and how to quiet your own unease.
Three R’s to Remove Fear:
- Recognize the source.“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7 ESV). My doubt had to be a dart. Even in my sleep, I recognized its destructive nature. What could I do about my decision now? Surgery was over.Read more about how to recognize DARTS here
- Remember God’s character. “Which one of you, if his son asks him for…a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:9-11 ESV). I’d asked God to guide me as I researched and prayed about my decision before my surgery. His leading had been consistent. Was I to believe that God had intentionally withheld the information I needed until it was too late? This doubt slandered God’s nature.
- Refresh your faith. Faith—not reason—is the antidote to fear.
Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (see Romans 10:17). In the wilderness, Israel had to gather fresh manna every morning. Leftovers rotted overnight. Our faith also needs daily renewal.That morning God led me to the first chapter of Joshua. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9 NIV). I’d never noticed the connection between the first and second part of this verse before. This was a command!God had appointed Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land. How could he help his brothers enter God’s rest if fear and discouragement held him hostage?God has commissioned us to be His ambassadors and shine as lights in a dark world. How can we shine the light of Jesus to those we mentor when our hearts are clouded with worry? How can we show them the Prince of Peace if anxiety rules us?
While I’ve often wished for a dial to modulate my emotions—dial-up courage, joy, or hope as needed—God’s way is higher. He’d rather me be strong in Him than feel strong in myself.
God used my fear to remind me He is with me. Those who know Jesus need never stay in fear and discouragement.
How has God used fear to strengthen your walk with Him?
Debbie W. Wilson is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Share her journey to refreshing faith at www.DebbieWwilson.com