Following is a guest post by radio host, educator, conference speaker and writer, Christin Ditchfield, author of What Women Should Know about Facing Fear, which recently released from Leafwood Publishers. You can follow Christin on Twitter and Facebook and learn more about her at www.WhatWomenShouldKnow.org
I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4
When I was a child, I was full of fear – fear of the dark, fear of bugs and snakes and spiders, fear of things that go bump in the night. As I grew older, my fears turned inward and I became hysterically, horrifically shy.
That is, until I fell in love with Jesus. His perfect love cast out my fear. And I have never been the same…
It’s true that in my adult life there’ve been seasons when I’ve had to battle fear again. I’ve had my share of worries, anxieties, stresses. I’ve even experienced panic attacks and night terrors. But those times have been few and far between. And I can honestly say that fear is no longer a dominant theme in my life. I have to face it from time to time, like everybody else. But I’ve learned quite a few things along the way. I’m still learning every day.
Here are three things I’ve learned that I’d like to share with you — three things I hope will be a help to you:
- God used my fear to draw me to Him.Some of the sweetest, deepest, richest experiences I’ve ever had in my relationship with Him, the times when I have felt His presence most powerfully, when I have heard His voice most clearly, came about as a direct result of the suffering I endured. The desperation I felt. The determination to press in and grab hold of Him – only to find that it was He who’d grabbed hold of me.
- It is possible to be set free from fear. Free from its stranglehold. Free from its domination and control.I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve been set free. Yes, sometimes I still feelfear, sometimes I still battle fear, sometimes I’m still tempted to fear, but I don’t live in fear. Not anymore. It’s hard to put into words the difference that makes.
- When I feel afraid now, I see that as an alert, an indicator, or a warning. It helps me know that something isn’t right. Either I am in some kind of danger and I need to be alert and on guard, or there are some heart issues going on that I need to deal with. Once again it brings me to the feet of Jesus.
Let me share one example:
Just last year I found myself in a really dark place emotionally and spiritually. It felt like I had been there for a really long time. I realized I was afraid I might never get out of it. More than afraid. I was terrified. What if I was stuck here forever? What if I never got free? How could I go on living like this?
This was a new kind of fear.
“But God…” as one of my dear friends likes to say.
But God, in His great love and tender mercy, whispered some of the same sweet words He first spoke to my heart so many years ago. He led me to Habakkuk 3:19, the verse that inspired Hinds Feet On High Places, which in the Amplified Bible reads:
“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk – not to stand still in terror, but to walk – and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility!”
It’s my prayer that He will strengthen and encourage your heart – as He has mine – as we take the next steps of our journey together.