I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

Over the last few months that I have been writing for Keeper of the Home, I have noticed that the post that received the most response was my post on fear.

It seems the conversation about how to fight fear with faith is alive and well.

Everyone has fears—rational fears and so-called “irrational” fears! That means everyone has to fight fear! Don't think there's something wrong with you because of your fears, or that your fears are too big. Take comfort: there's hope!

Let me refresh your memory  . . .  

We humans are more like sheep than any other creature in God’s Kingdom. The Scriptures regularly use the analogy of sheep to shepherd to describe our relationship with God. There are many reasons for that—and one of the most important is that sheep cannot protect themselves from wild animals . . . 

As with sheep, agitation and anxiety are like poison to our souls and our bodies. When we are tied up in knots, we can’t think clearly, make wise decisions, or enjoy the day or our life. Our health is destroyed by worry and fear. Sometimes fear is so powerful that our life is limited and controlled by it.

In the end I did find freedom from the fear. I learned that MY TRUE SECURITY is in God alone. I learned what it means to trust.  The experience has resonated positively in my life for the last 30 years. 

These words from the psalmist truly became my words:  “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

I would like to dig deeper into the issue of fear by doubling back and going deeper into this topic.

Let’s begin here: 

Fear is a NORMAL PART of being human!

Everyone has fears—rational fears and so-called “irrational” fears! 

So don’t think there’s something wrong with you because of your fears, or that your fears are too big. Take comfort: there’s hope!

My story of fear

Here are more details of where my story of overcoming fear began: When I was a freshman at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, I was suddenly hit with a terrible fear.

One day, as I ate lunch with my boyfriend (who is now my husband Don), my tongue seemed to move awkwardly in my mouth as I was chewing.

All of a sudden, for reasons that I could not understand, I thought I was about to have an epileptic seizure. I put down my fork and did not continue to eat.

When Don and I got back on our bikes to ride in opposite directions to class, I was afraid that the epileptic seizure could happen at any time. From that day forward, for several months, I was afraid.

Everywhere I went, a dark cloud hung over my head in the radiant “Carolina blue” skies of Chapel Hill.

One day I sat and prayed in the undergrad library. As I stared down at my textbook,  I asked God to help me understand where this fear came from. Under the majestic dark oak vaulted ceiling high above me, I waited . . . hoping and praying for answers.

Finding the cause of my fear

In the stillness of the place, a memory surfaced. I saw myself when I was a young girl sitting with my family in the den watching a TV show called Dr. Kildare. This particular series was about a teenage girl who developed epilepsy and had a grand mal seizure on a surfboard in the ocean in California!  

Although I seemed to be unfazed by the program at the time, this memory seemed to the be source of my fear!

I realized suddenly that a fear registered in my mind and was stored in the computer of my brain, and had somehow popped up onto the screen of my mind. I was joyous to grasp that this subconscious memory was the basis of my strange reaction at lunch that day! 

Relief flooded me. I naively assumed that because I recalled the source of the fear, all would be well.

But this was just the beginning. A good beginning.

But there was more . . . 

The fear remained

Embarrassed by what felt like an irrational fear, I didn’t know where to turn for help.

My embarrassment prevented me from talking about my fear with anyone. I did not know a therapist to talk to . . . so I continued to struggle alone. 

Finally, one day, I did the one thing I knew to do: I went back to my dorm room in the middle of the day (hoping no one would be there), shut the door and locked it. I found my study Bible, turned to the back where I knew there was a concordance (like a bible topical dictionary).

Then I got down on my knees beside my bed and plead with God, “Please help me overcome fear.

Looking in the Bible

When silence was my only answer, I looked up the word fear in the concordance, praying for help from the Bible⏤something, anything!  I started looking up all of the verses related to fear, beginning with the Old Testament.

I plowed through, verse by verse, reading things like I quoted before: “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

“Great,” I thought to myself. “David found freedom from fear . . . but he doesn’t tell me how!”  

But that was not entirely true.  He says, “He sought the Lord...

But isn’t that what I was doing?

Can you relate? Do you struggle to fight fear?

And that is where I will pause for now to ask you . . .  Can you relate to any part of this story?  Do you have fears that you are afraid (ironically) to share with others—which only intensifies the problem? 

Take a few minutes and ask yourself: “What am I afraid of?”  If you are willing to share, please feel free . . .

How do you fight fear? What fears do you need to face?

Next up (in a couple of weeks): What happened when I looked up the word FEAR in the Bible.