Fighting Back When Fear Comes For Us
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94: 18-19, NIV)
I was on my way to the pharmacy when the walls started to close in. At first, I ignored it. I live about three minutes away from my destination. I thought I could hold the line against the hurricane that was beginning to spin inside my mind. But that’s the thing: anxiety waits for no one.
I was a newly-minted college grad, stuck in a career that brought me no joy, and I had no idea how to tell anyone that I felt lost. I didn’t want to be the floundering girl that couldn’t adjust to adult life. I didn’t want people to see that I was miserable most of the time. And I definitely didn’t
want to ask for help and tell the people that love me the most that nothing about my life felt right. And so, in choosing to struggle alone, I convinced myself that I was an island.
By the time I pulled into a parking space outside of my local pharmacy, my breathing was coming out in ragged, strangled screams, my hands were trembling, and my mind could only echo one thought over and over again: You are alone.
This by far was not my first anxiety attack, and I’m sorry to say it definitely wasn’t my last, but it was most certainly my worst. There is no way to describe the way everything starts to constrict, or how rational thought disintegrates into senseless shapes and colors. It’s almost like your mind wants to escape but cannot bring your body to move. Fear has this funny way of gripping us, dragging us down, and burying us alive in our own anxious thoughts. The sick thing is that the world tells us that anxiety is a battle within us; that there is something wrong deep down inside that exhibits itself in this way.
I disagree. Anxiety attacks, just like everything else, are just tools in Satan’s arsenal meant to destroy us and take us out of the battle raging for the Kingdom of Heaven. They are meant to steal our joy and distract us from what is really at play. They are a mind-game the enemy tosses at us, trying to make us turn in on ourselves, rather than looking spiritual warfare in the face and saying, “Not today.”
So about a year and a half ago, in the middle of the worst anxiety attack I have ever been subject to, I put my head down on the steering wheel and anchored myself to the one thing I could manage to remember: the all-powerful, wonderful, comforting name of Jesus. All I can remember was saying His precious name over and over again, and each time, I was able to pull myself out of the heart-clenching fear I had sunken into.
His name is louder than my insecurities and my anxious thoughts. His name is stronger than the lies of the devil. His name comforts, consoles, and restores joy. I won’t lie: sometimes, I fall back into my old traps, but I have learned that when those doubts come for me, I can’t keep them to myself. When my most recent attack struck months ago, I immediately sought out a trusted friend who was able to fiercely look me in the eye and remind me of exactly who I am: a Spirit-filled, beloved child of God. Now, that’s a truth that Satan so desperately wants me to forget.
And the same goes for you. What do you fear today? Do you fret that you are alone in your struggle? Are you terrified that you won’t fulfill your purpose? Does life seem like it’s crushing you from all sides? The funny thing about fear is that the older we grow, the less we fear physical things. We start to realize you can crush a spider and disprove the boogieman, but you can’t easily dismiss things like isolation, failure, or rejection. Fears become less tangible with age.
But no matter how drastically they change, one thing remains the same: they are no match for Jesus. He died on a cross to cover it all. He shed his blood so that nothing could make you unreachable to Him. He rose from death itself to prove that no tool in Satan’s sad, little box of tricks can prosper against those that stand under the precious power of His name. Just like it says in our key verse, when we find ourselves slipping, His love supports us. When we look inside ourselves and see oceans of anxiety and fear, his very word calms the storm and restores peace in our minds.
I don’t know what you face today, or what might be brooding on the horizon, threatening to sink you; but I do know that there is a God that stands bigger and stronger than it all. There is a Savior that is our solid rock in times of trouble. And there is a name higher than any other that strikes fear in the very heart of the spirit of anxiety: the name of Jesus.
So when fear comes knocking on your door, remember who you are. Trust in the fact that the God who created the universe knows your name, and has given you express permission to use His to fight back against fear.