What to remember when you're afraid

I struggle with fear. I always have. It's paralyzing, terrifying, life interrupting fear. And I don't mean fear of things like clowns or the dentist. I mean the kind of fear that creeps up in the middle of the night and shakes you from a dead sleep. Fear that circles around you like a fog. 

I fear getting hurt, physically and emotionally. I fear my kids or husband getting hurt. I fear that people won't listen or I won't matter. I fear the people I love getting taken from me. I fear things I have no control over. 

For a long time, I clung to that fear, because being afraid was easier than letting go and walking into the unknown. 

Let's be honest for a minute. It's easy to be afraid. Fear is effortless. Fear latches on to the tiniest memory, suggestion or thought and runs wild. 

But learning to control those thoughts, learning to shed light on why we are afraid takes way more effort and self-control. And then fear becomes familiar. 

I've had to fight to be brave. When I feel fear creep up behind me I have to beat it back with the things I know to be true. Things like scripture like Philippians 4:6-7 which says "Don't be anxious about anything. Instead, through prayer and thanksgiving make your requests know to God. And the peace that surpasses any understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus." 

I've had to quote that to myself over and over and over again at night when I get the case of the what ifs. I have even slept with my bible open to that passage so if I wake up at night with the same fear gnawing at my heel, I can beat it back. 

I am entering my nineteenth week of pregnancy. This is a pregnancy after a miscarriage and to be completely honest I have spent many nights awake in my bed terrified. Terrified that I will wake up tomorrow to the realization that I am living a repeat of my worst nightmare. 

And I have let that fear steal my joy. I let it stop me from thinking about baby names or looking at Pinterest boards of nursery ideas. And then I just had to scream it was enough! I had to get on my knees and ask God to remove this fear from me. I had to give myself permission to be happy, to be joyful, to look forward to each milestone of pregnancy, regardless of what the future holds. And for someone who lived in fear of not know what the future held, that has been a big step for me. 

If you're struggling with your own fear right now, I encourage you to dig in and let go. It's scary not knowing what comes next. But don't let that be the thing that prevents you from accepting true joy.