Weak, No Longer

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”‭‭ 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have struggled in the area of fear and anxiety for much of my life. As a child, this was exhibited through my intense, vocal fear of storms and tornadoes, to my silent anxiety about something bad happening to those I loved, or my extreme discomfort around people I did not know. As a teenager, I was even referred to as “snotty” once, by a peer, to my sister. I was anxious around a group of my peers and it was received as them thinking I didn’t want to have them as friends. I didn’t know how to calm the nervous feeling…the fear. As an adult, my fear of storms continued, my anxiety over someone I loved being hurt or dying was tenfold once I had children and a husband, and my discomfort around strangers continued. I learned to fake being socially uncomfortable, though, because now, my fear was that, Heaven forbid, someone might think I don’t like them or that I’m “snotty”. Friends, this is a short list, and nowhere near all-encompassing for me. Fear. It’s gross and ugly.

Stick with me, though. There is good news! Over the past several years, God has been working on my heart. Chipping away, at the fears and anxieties that have threatened to control me, and often have. You see, when we settle in to our fears, it does control us, and we are no longer the ones in control. We feel weak and powerless. BUT God… Scripture tells us that the spirit that is given to us, is not a spirit of fear! No, it is a spirit of power and self-control…two things we don’t have when we allow our fear to take hold of us. I still struggle, but I KNOW when I feel that familiar unease begin to rise, that it is not of the Lord. I know that there is more to life than being consumed by my anxieties. I know that God is faithful and good. His promises are true and worth holding onto. When I lean into Him and cast my anxieties on HIM, he carries them, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I know that the ultimate peace, the one that defies all reason and understanding, comes from Him, alone (Philippians 4:7). When I trust and let go (this is the hard part!), I am free. Then, as I walk in freedom, I also walk in the power of God, through Jesus, and am no longer controlled by my intense fears. I am weak, no longer. Not because of my own strength, but because I can release control to the One who has the power. It’s all about control.

Dear friend, if this speaks to your heart, I encourage you to talk about it with someone! One of the best things for me was vocalizing my anxieties, both to fellow believers, and to God, himself. Rest in God’s faithful promises throughout scripture. Be open to the freedom that God has in store for you. He is waiting.

*As a side note… I flew out of country, to visit a friend last year, all by myself! This was huge for me. And…tomorrow, my husband leaves to serve in Kenya (yes, Africa), for 12 whole days. Honestly, I feel sad that he will be gone, and we will miss him, but my God has graciously carried away my fear and anxiety, which undoubtedly would have been prevalent not long ago. There is hope. This is just the beginning!

Stephania Whitfield

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