As I circled around level six of the parking ramp for the third time, I could feel my heart racing. It seemed like it was pounding in my ears. The well-lit parking garage seemed to be filled with ominous shadows. I was gripped by fear, and my over-thinking was leading my thoughts into dark places.
What if I never find my car? What if someone robs me? What if I freeze before finding the vehicle? I just wanted to find my car and get to the warm hotel bed that I knew was waiting for me.
Driven to the point of tears, I began shaming myself. How could I be so irresponsible by not remembering where I parked my car? At almost midnight, in an unfamiliar city, my thoughts and fears were getting the best of me.
This is what fear does. It can literally take over every pore of my body, making my mind race, heart rate increase, and sweat glands work overtime. But wait, how could I let myself get so engulfed in fear when I know that God quiets all fear?
Realizing this about God stopped me in my tracks. I literally halted in the midst of the parked cars. Had I not earlier spoken to my daughter about taking her fears and doubts to God? My advice had included listening to God’s word as a soundtrack instead of letting anxious thoughts run her life.
I had shared that each person can decide which sound track to listen to. In order to be intentional with one’s own thoughts, it's wise to cultivate an appetite for God’s word. Paul declares, “If anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Everything of significance that happens in life is a product of what one chooses to think, and then decisions are made based on that thinking.
Remembering our conversation grounded me. Rather than focusing on my situation or condition, I began to think about my position as a daughter of Christ, chosen and beloved. Some of the scriptures that have grounded me in the past came to mind:
Matthew 10:31- “Don’t be afraid, you are worth much more than many sparrows.”
1 Peter 5:7- “Let Him have all your worries and cares.”
1 John 4:18- “Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.”
Isaiah 26:3- “You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.”
As I recalled God’s word, it reaffirmed my condition as a child of God. It also brought to mind that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the mastery of it. Proverbs 28:1- “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”
I had to make a decision about the fear. Instead of giving into it, I needed to let it be a motivator to trust God more. If I just trusted God, He would guide my steps. It was time to change the soundtrack that had been playing over and over in my mind.
And so I began to pray for God to guide my steps. With every step forward, I could feel the fear weakening its grip over me. My heart rate slowed, and my breathing became more even. Miraculously, my car appeared around a corner I could have sworn had already been searched.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
I wish I could say that my faith always wins out. However, circumstances seem to come along that challenge my faith. I do know that when fear creeps in, I would like to be quicker to respond. My faith rests in God, and the council that I listen to most is likely the One I will follow.
God has been so faithful to me in the past, and I do trust God with my future. As fearful as I was, I do not ever want to forget my experience that night in the parking garage. It was the panicked feeling of fear that sent me to God’s word. And I am confident that by intentionally meditating on God’s word, I can claim faith over fear any time.
My prayer of thanksgiving on that unsettling night:
Dear heavenly Papa, you are so faithful to me, and I am thankful that in my weakness, you remain strong. You alone are mighty to ease my fears. Thank you for choosing me to receive your amazing grace, and thank you for your peace. Keep me faithful to you, and help me not to disqualify myself when you say I am enough. Continue to give me confidence and boldness in making decisions that reflect your love for me. I can rest in the assurance that my life is in your hands. No matter what storms or circumstances come my way, I choose to believe in you, and keep my focus on you, faithful God. Amen.
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Marla Waldron is an educator, blogger and mother of three amazing adults. She is an intervention specialist for her school district who provides specialized and individualized instruction for mild to severely impaired student learners. She is also a care-giver for her adult brother. She loves the beach, time with her kids and has a big heart for helping others. She and her husband live in Wyoming, Ohio.
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