The Random Writings of Rachel: How I Deal with Fear

How I Deal with Fear

So, you may not have noticed this, but I have a very dramatic personality. And imagination. And brain. All that good stuff.

My mind doesn't tend to come up with the most straightforward and likely answer to an unanswered question, but instead the most dramatic and outlandish one--either in a good dramatic way or in a bad dramatic way.

When Angel isn't home from work and it's already 15 or 20 minutes past his usual time and he hasn't called, I don't think that maybe he stopped to get gas like any normal person would think--I think there's been a terrible accident and I'll never see him again and what in the world am I going to write for his obituary and I don't want to be a 22 year old widow and where will I move to and I don't even know anything about organizing funerals!


However, I realized a long time ago that this tendency to invent the most dramatic and interesting explanations behind the most normal of situations--while it probably plays a very positive role in my ability to write well--could be crippling to my ability to live well. If I were to constantly worry about the possible results of all the imaginary tragedies and triumphs that I can make up in my head...I would go crazy. I wouldn't be able to function. I would be needlessly worried far too often.

So, I made a choice. I'm not going to worry. I'm not going to be afraid. No matter what.

When I spent many nights alone in this farmhouse a couple years ago, I decided that I wasn't going to be startled by any noise, that I wasn't going to prowl around the house with a flashlight whenever I heard a squeak or a rattle. Sure, I could invent a gang of robbers out to steal the massive piles of gold buried in my basement, but even if such robbers were there, digging away after the gold, and even if I swore I could hear the chink of their shovels against the dirt and rocks, I'd sleep peacefully in my bed and I wouldn't be afraid.

The reason I didn't have to worry was because my Lord said, "Do not fear, for I am with you." (Isaiah 41:10)

I pray for the safety of my family and friends daily, and beyond that, I choose not to worry about them, because Jesus said, "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27) My worry won't help me, nor is it of service to anyone I know and love. Anxiety and fear are nothing but traits that could cripple me and wound me, so I choose not to make them part of my life.

I don't worry about my husband, my marriage, my possessions, my home, my family or my friends because the Bible commands me not to. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

This isn't about any special internal strength of character I have. I know me. I know how dramatic and ridiculous and weak I can be. But man, I have an awesome God. A God who I know I can trust in the good times and bad. I've seen some tragedies in my life--I've seen people die who I desperately wanted to live, I've watched my own neighborhood get destroyed by a giant wave--if that isn't the stuff of overly dramatic nightmares, I don't know what is. But I've also seen miracles, and I've seen prayers answered. There's a choice to be made, and I choose trusting God in every situation instead of worrying about every single life situation that happens to be out of my control because I know He does a much better job of handling my life than I do. 

Because of Christ, I know I'm okay spending my nights alone in a big empty farmhouse. I'm okay with being away from my husband for a few weeks or not seeing my family for a few years. I'm okay with not knowing where I'll be living a year from now or five years from now. When I begin to feel a fear sneaking up on me, I take it as a reminder to pray, and then dismiss it, instead of indulging in it and making myself sick with worry.

I know that someday, it could happen that Angel doesn't make it home from work. It's happened to many. I could get the phone call no wife ever wants to receive. But, by the grace of God, I'm not afraid of that call. Bad things do happen, but constantly being worried about all the bad things that could happen but haven't yet is no way to live. I'm free from my own fears, and I can tell you, it's a good way to live. 

p.s. For the record, there is not really any gold buried in my basement.

23 comments:

  1. I can relate to this so much, I over analyse everything so much, not just people being late, but people things say and how that probably means they hate me and my manager made a comment and now I'm probably going to get sacked and then I can't pay rent and then I'll get kicked out of my house and it's the end of the world.

    Good luck with dealing with your fear, it's easy to change a lot of things in our lives, but changing our mindsets has to be one of the most difficult.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  2. This is so inspiring :) I've struggled with various fears for most of my life, and recent events have really taken a toll on me. Definitely needed this reminder! Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this :)

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  3. i love this. this is hard to do, but so freeing! thanks for the inspiration. xoxo

    the well-traveled wife ♥

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  4. this is so good to remember! I definitely fear every time my guy is home late & sleeping at home alone is impossible. thanks for the reassurance!

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  5. I used to do this a lot, too! It's so easy to jump to the worst conclusions. It's awesome that you've made a choice to not think of the worst possible outcomes, though. I needed the reminder:)

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  6. Thank you so much for this post! I tend to imagine the worst in any situation too. What a great reminder that God is in control!

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  7. Once in a while, those concerns come into my mind as well about my husband, but just living life and going through seasons have really helped me to learn to trust God more and not to worry so much. I've seen how worrying doesn't prevent things from happening, it only keeps me from living life the way I know Christ wants me to. This is so nice that you have decided to rest on the truth of God's word. I'm sure it will get easier as time goes on. You are still very young. It has for me.

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  8. Oh man. I live in what seems like a constant state of fear over my family and especially my children. I know this is not healthy, not God-honoring and trusting, but it is so easy to let fears grab hold of your heart and root deep down to the things that matter most in our lives. I've met so many other wives who struggle with this exact fear- you are not alone! I admire your stronghold and desire to be faithful to the Lord and battle these fears!

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  9. This is a great post! My mind is also infamous in coming up with its own scenarios and "what-ifs." It's hard to turn that off, but you are right that once you let it go and know that He is in control, you can be set free.

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  10. A wonderful reminder not to live life in fear!

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  11. I can relate to this post on so many levels. (Except for the huge stash of gold you have tucked away :) I find myself with those same fears. And I find myself quoting the same passage for comfort. And it always brings me comfort. Great post!

    I love that you guys live in a farmhouse. Ironically enough I grew up on a farm in Germany. Sheeps, cows, corn fields and all. My neighbor once gave me a ride home from my bus stop on his tractor. I was all like "They see me rolling. They hatin..."

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  12. This is a great post! I have mused before about how the gifts God gives us often seem to have their down side. I am so glad though that you have found ways to lean on God and trust in Him when your imagination runs wild. Great testimony about how to deal with worry.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays - welcome to our linkup! Great to have you join us.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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  13. This is awesome! My natural tendency is to ignore it run away. God is my strength too!

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  14. I love this so much, Rachel. I repeat those verses over and over when I fear or when I'm worried. As worry is my knee jerk reaction to everything, I've memorized a lot of verses over the years ;) I've even written some down on index cards and carried them around during particularly difficult times. It's so good to know that God is in control, and if something horrible DOES happen, He's in control of the situation. There really is nothing to fear.

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  15. First off--what a lovely photo of your farm! Secondly, I can totally relate--as a wife and mother. The fear of losing a loved one is one that is almost impossible to shake. You are on the right path with your strategies to overcome these fears, though--no doubt! :) T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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  16. I'm the same way. Everything ends in tragedy for me, and it drives me insane sometimes. It would be so nice to not have to worry and to be at peace with the things that life brings us.

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  17. I've experienced crippling anxiety since I was a little girl and have slowly been able to let go of it by acceptance of imperfection. I also worry about my significant other when he's 10 minutes late and nag him for not calling - it's something I'm also working on letting go. My imagination is very vivid and lucid so I try my best to reason and rationalize with myself in order to dismiss those anxieties. Best of luck in letting go and living free of anxiety! Have a great one Rachel! -Iva

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  18. Good thing you added that PS or you may have people in your basement before you know it ;) This is so true though... I've been a worrier since I was little but I try constantly to remember Isiah 41:10. Love this post :D

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  19. This is so good! I need to remember this! I struggle with fear and doubt ALL THE TIME. But why? Just because of what you said, if I allow myself to worry/fear/doubt, I will be inclined to let those fears get the best of me. Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder. It is wonderful, and so needed right now. Thank you.

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  20. rachel, i bookmarked this. i have been paralyzed by fear after suffering back-to-back miscarriages. but then i think, "if God were trying to tell me something, would i know?" and i keep going back to the fact that after each miscarriage, i got pregnant immediately, as if God were trying to say it will happen. so i've been trying to lift my spirits with that. this is such a beautiful post, thank you for writing it.

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  21. Found your blog from the Christian Women's Sunday Share and loved reading this post. Fear and anxiety are both things I struggle with daily. I spend so much time worrying and imagining the worst case scenario, I know it's something I need to stop doing because the truth is even if the worst case does happen, it won't change God's love for me, He will still be there and will see me through. Worrying about things doesn't change anything! Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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  22. Isn't it odd how our minds can jump to the most extreme scenario. I can certainly relate to what you have written. Worry and fear are things that so many of us struggle with. Thanks so much for sharing and encouraging others.

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