Also known as: When fear grips you like a vise
Have you ever had that moment when you were doing okay one moment, and then something happens — you got a call, discovered something, saw/heard/read something and then everything changes.
And then it comes. It makes your heart beat faster (and not in a nice way). Your chest tightens and your hands feel colder. You feel like the air is being sucked around you and from you. It grips you like a vise, immobilizing you, but it also makes you want to run, fast and far, with no definite destination, just away.
Fear. It cuts like a sharp knife and if you try to ignore it, it becomes a teeny tiny voice that keeps you distracted, that tries to take everything away from you until you’re so far from who you were before it attacked you and all you can wonder is how you got to that point. But you know how you got there, really — you just don’t really know how to get out.
I realized something lately. When I’m afraid of something, I tend to hold on tighter to some things. Together with the urge to run away, there’s also that urge to keep the things I want, the things I love to myself. I don’t know why — perhaps it’s for comfort? I guess it’s just what I do when I feel sad: I try to get something to comfort me and keep that until I am not sad anymore. Consequently, whenever I feel that I’m about to lose something (or someone) important to me, I tend to hold on tighter until…well, until I end up losing that something (or someone) or I stop being afraid of losing that and everything becomes okay.
Guess what usually happens between the two.
There’s another reaction, too. When I don’t hold on to things too tight, sometimes I do the opposite: I push them away. I detach. I let go of it (or of them) before they can hurt me too much from the fear. I let it or them go before I get too attached, before I get too scared to lose it or them and then hold on too tight.
It’s a vicious cycle, this thing that fear starts. I look back at my life and see times when I was scared, and I wonder how exactly I got out of it. Sometimes I can remember, sometimes I can’t. But more often than not, I remember how a certain fear — failure, sickness, conflict, heartbreak, sometimes even of the good things — immobilized me and kept me to my spot, too scared to move because…well, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I had enough strength to face this head on, or if I can really dare to hope and trust in the midst of uncertainty.
Truth be told, I’ve had this entry in draft for weeks already, but I can’t seem to find a way to close it properly, to drive a point. There were many instances from the moment I started writing this until now where I’ve felt that fear again, and I’ve felt it stop me, grip me, and make me do things that aren’t even the least bit honorable. There were so many times that fear led me to over think and stress out over things that I shouldn’t even be stressing out from. I know what to do, I am learning how to deal with it, but somehow, I can’t think of a way to end this post without sounding too negative. Or not sharing something that would not just help me find a way to face my fears, but also maybe help whoever’s reading this to face theirs too.
Until this morning, during my prayer time.
June 5 reflection from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (emphasis mine)
He Himself has said . . . . So we may boldly say . . . —Hebrews 13:5-6
My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ’The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ’The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.”Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ’I will never leave you . . . .’ ”Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will never. . . forsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?
Fear is real, but at the same time, God is also real. And infinitely bigger. And…I don’t know what you’re fearing right now, and sometimes I don’t even know what I am afraid of, but maybe all we need to do is take that deep spiritual breath. Maybe then, fear would loosen its grip and we can face it. And then we’d remember that still, small voice saying, Courage, it is me. Do not be afraid. And we’d remember that God is our helper, and He has never, ever forsaken anyone who’s called on Him.
Maybe, maybe…we don’t have to be so afraid after all.