The Size of Fear

“With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me??” Psalm 118:6 NRSV

Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. Not all fears are bad either and some fears need to be conquered. Fear can protect us from harm and danger, but it can also keep us from taking needed action. For example, the fear of falling down may keep an older adult away from an icy patch in the sidewalk, but the same fear can hinder a toddler to try new steps.

There is abundant fear right now in so many people in light of the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Panic is gripping parents who want to take their children and shield them from the world. Fear is causing others to put unnecessary blame on unrelated issues to ease their minds. Fear is seeping through to our children as they watch our reaction to the horrible events that unfolded Friday. Parents already do enough worrying as it is. There are so many things that keep me poised on the edge of fear.

I still feel a lot of fear, and I don’t like being afraid.

I’ve found prayer to be the best medicine in fearful times. I have to be careful that I am viewing my fear from a biblical angle and not meditating on my own worries. I admit this is a daily struggle to trust God to handle all my fears.

I know my 6 yr old’s biggest fear is that Satan will take over her heart and make her do things like “that man did to those kids.” I have to put my own fear aside right now and comfort my daughter. We talk about how much fear Daniel must have had in the lion’s den but he also knew God was with him and that God was stronger than his fear. We talk about angels acting as our guardians when we are afraid just as Daniel had an angel there to protect him. We pray for God to keep reminding us that He is always with us no matter where we are or what happens. We pray for the brave teacher that hid her class and that we will have the courage to stand up for what we believe in the face of fear.

I have told my children the truth about what happened Friday but I am cautious in how much detail they hear. I am answering questions as best I can.

I am gripped by fear myself as my 6 yr old tells me, “We have already practiced hiding with our teacher and the police 3 times this year.

Fear makes me want to homeschool my children, but I cannot hide my children from the world. I cannot let fear get to me.

I know it can take years to overcome fear. I still have a big fear of men in hoodies and winter hats, as I was once held at gunpoint. But I didn’t quit my job when that happened, I still venture out in the winter, and I remind myself daily that God is bigger than my fear. I remind myself daily to put my trust in God so my fears can melt away. It’s easy to trust in God when things are going well, but when fear strikes; from a devastating tragedy, from bills piling up, from falling off the bike for the first time; it is hard to jump into God’s arms. But God can defeat any fear that set my knees knocking. I try to recall other times that God has faithfully conquered my fears. I am trusting that He will give me guidance and the right words to help my children as they come to me with their fears.

“When fear knocks at the door of the heart, send faith to open it, and you will find that there is no one there.”  – Author unknown

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