To know God and to make Him known.

The Bondage of Fear

Driving along the moon-shadowed roads out to the grassy football field north of town, I thought about how so many moms I know are consumed by worry. I see it on Facebook, I hear it at church and at community day. I’m not sure why the question got stuck in my mind, but I began to wonder what everyone worries about, and that wonder would not let me go.

So, I did as any twenty-first century mom does when she has a quandary. I googled it. My question was simply, “What worries moms most?” And what I found did not surprise me. You may find the answer familiar, as I did. But I hadn’t felt this worry in so long that it caused me to pause for a minute. The answer was: evil. Of course that wasn’t how it was worded; most moms said “someone hurting my children,” or “bad things happening to my kids,” but that was the answer just the same.

The fear of bad things happening to my children used to cripple me. I remember lying awake at night, paralyzed as I imagined someone grabbing one of my babies and driving off…or one of the children running into the street and being hit by a car…or someone violating one of my innocent ones. Have you ever done that? Let your imagination take you on a journey of despair and pain? My heart would race and I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body as I would subject myself to those crazy imaginings. It got so bad, I often couldn’t sleep because of the fear. I prayed for my kids, and I prayed to be released from that fear for a long time. One night, when my husband was out of town and I was once again unable to sleep, I decided to memorize all the verses I could find on fear. It’s funny how sometimes something is so simple that we overlook it.

Ephesians 6:12-17 tells us: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, … 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (NIV).

Did you catch that? The sword of the Spirit, God’s word, will slay the spiritual forces of evil. It is our weapon, and we cannot forget to use it, or we are powerless. That night, as I paced around my room memorizing Scripture, I was freed from fear. It was like walking through a doorway. On one side was bondage; on the other side was freedom. It was simple, no fanfare, no crying, no big epiphanies, just a quiet release. That was twelve years ago, and the crippling fear has never come back. Never. I have moments of valid worry, but God showed me that night that He loves my children more than I do, and He taught me how to hold them in my open hand, not clench them tight. For when we release those we love to God, we also let go of the responsibility for their lives. What He does in them, and allows to happen to them, is His business. Mine is simply to obey and trust, and in so doing, be released from that bondage of fear.

 

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