Life doesn’t scare me. I do not have a timid spirit that fears the unknown or trembles at the future. I can jump from cliffs over 50 feet high. I can speak in front of a crowd. I can ride a horse bareback through an open field. I can challenge myself and enjoy the struggle, even if it ends in failure.
Life simply does not scare me.
Except for spiders and needles, those just are really NOT ok! And of course I am not infallible. Fear is still just as much a part of my life as the next person’s. I just don’t let it rule me.
EXCEPT… these past two months have been awful. So bear with me as I just ramble a bit about my fight with fear.
The beginning of 2016 for me has been quite a jam-packed journey. This has been more a journey of seeing the downward spiral fear can take you through and the laborious upward climb towards defeating it.
And I haven’t fully done it. I doubt I will ever completely beat fear. But I have a God who can.
Thus far in my 22 years, I’ve been pushed to trust God with my future and trust God with things that worry me and yes, sometimes scare me, but I had no clue how to fight fear that consumes your entire day- waking AND sleeping hours. The fear that causes you such abject helplessness you doubt your entire reason for existence.
It may not have appeared like this, but hey, I have deep thoughts underneath the excuse of “I’m just tired” and when you have lots of quiet hours staring at neuroanatomy, you have time to let those thoughts take precedence.
Point being, trusting God that the nurse knows what she is doing when she comes at me with that awful needle to do a TB test is one thing, but life? That feels like it’s asking just a bit too much. I have been completely helpless these past two months trying to strategize how I can bring up my GPA in PT school. This may not seem like such a scary thing, but trust me, this is my life right now. Weeks are planned around tests and studying. Laundry and grocery shopping and sleeping take a backseat to learning my profession.
I’m not a good test-taker. I’ve been blessed with enough intelligence that it really hasn’t impacted me too much. But now? My future in school depends on it. The sheer frustration at being unable to prove my understanding and knowledge drives me crazy. Can you imagine explaining the entire anatomy of the shoulder only to promptly miss the very facts you just spoke? It’s maddening.
And there is nothing I can do to fix it.
I have employed every test-taking strategy Google and my professors have to offer. I have a working knowledge of most of the material I have learned in class.
I do everything right! And it makes no difference.
I can’t fight this. I have no weapon to wield against the anxiety that takes over weeks before I even take the exams.
Except, I actually do. I was driven to this point, getting subtle nudges through messages at church, learning scripture with my small group, talking with my sister, and finally, watching the movie War Room. I have always known that prayer is the way for believers to battle, but it takes preparation, self-discipline, and confidence in the sovereignty of God.
And it is my only way to combat fear.
The Bible is filled with teaching and instruction and promises about prayer. It is a very real way to communicate with God and engage in spiritual warfare. I wrote in my journal that night, “I have come to another moment of choosing- myself and my own strength or God and His sovereignty in all things. I CHOOSE GOD! How can I do anything else? I have eternal peace and continuous joy in life because of Him. I want to serve Him, to fight for Him, and to be the warrior and servant He’s called me to be.”
I have an updated attitude. I have been reminded that I, Annamarie, do not have the strength to be completely self-sufficient, and thank goodness, I don’t have to. I simply have to surrender. Look how far God has brought me!
In my own strength, I could not have come this far. By my own strength, I can go no farther. But by the power of God and the power of my prayers, in 2 years time, there will be another picture of me in another graduation gown, fulfilling the dream He has placed in my heart.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)
“And I [God] will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
“The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Fear had gladly built up a massive fortress around the walls of my heart and my mind. Then I began to again fight to bring them crashing down with my prayers. My friends, prayer is powerful. Prayer convicts, prayer heals, prayer lets you cry out to God when you don’t have words to speak. Prayer needs to become what I schedule my week around, not my tests. Prayer needs to become my test-taking strategy. Prayer needs to be my weapon of choice to fight fear.
(Disclaimer: I still study, but prayer is what allows me to go into a test or quiz without anxiety and with a clear head.)
I am only human. I will feel frustrated and helpless and fearful all too soon again. BUT, fear has no place in my spirit when God is there. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear will not rule me; it may knock me down to my knees, but that is fine. My knees are where the true fighting is done anyways.
It is there, on my knees, with the weight of the world coming down, where I pray.
The road goes ever on,