I have an enemy. A ruthless one, as enemies usually are. He has stalked me all of my life, no matter what I do, he is always lurking around, waiting for an opportunity to paralyze me once again. And he’s like that, too. He carries around tazers that stun me out of my mobility and leave me hanging onto whatever is close by, no matter how unstable it is.
His name is fear.
He has shown up in varying people and circumstances over the years, and he’s so talented that he can show up in many forms all at the same time! There are normal fears that plague me, like the future, money, my children, and the list goes on and on…. But there is this. The fear of death. I’m not really afraid of death, but the impact it would have on my family. Okay, I’m a little afraid of death itself…I don’t want it to be painful and I don’t want it to be drawn out. If you’ve had a serious illness, like cancer, that you’ve recovered from, you can probably relate. You’re in good health now, but what if it comes back? What if this time, I don’t get to make it? I have had those thoughts alot this past year, and lately they are attacking with a vengeance! I’ve now had three strokes, one that nearly killed me…how many more times before my body just…gives up? Gosh, I know this isn’t pleasant, but I PROMISE it gets better, so hang in there with me, okay?
A synonym for the word “fear” is “dread”. Dread can be described as a “distressing emotion; heavy and weighted.” That is a great description! There is nothing heavier than carrying the burden of fear. And even though God promises to make our burdens light, I’ve never really known how to make that happen until now. I will share my little secret with you, so listen up!
At church this morning, I was feeling very heavy with this fear who loves to bother me. I prayed before we began…I play trumpet on our praise team, and I wanted to reflect in my heart what we were singing. So, the first song was “With Everything”. The first lines are: “Let hope rise, let darkness tremble in your holy light…” I was desperately praying these words over my life while we were singing them. And then there is this part to the song that is simpy “whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa”. Now, there doesn’t appear to be any spirtual depth to those words at all! But then our pastor, and my lifelong friend, said something like this: ‘Singing the word ‘whoa’ requires you to push breath out of your body’, then he quoted the verse above. I think sometimes praise is just about breathing…giving him every breath, even if you’re unsure of everything else.When you push those “whoas” out of your lungs, you do somethingn pretty amazing. I was singing those “whoas” until my heart was emptied out of all of its fears. And then I picked up my trumpet and POURED my heart out to him some more.
You see, I emptied myself of my fear by giving it to him in the form of praise. I love God. I love how He uses our pain to bring out something beautiful. I am quite sure this is not the last battle with this form of fear, or any fear, for that matter. But I do hope I remember to physically PUSH breath out my body to praise Him, the One who loves me, because love is the thing which conquers fear!
Challenge: If fear is strangling you today, take hold of words of hope and shout them, sing them, whisper them, whatever! But whatever you do, keep on breathing!!