When I (Kim) was a child, there was one thing I feared most: my parents’ death. One night I’d dream my mom died, another my dad. I’d often steal into their room just to make sure they were still there, still breathing, still alive.
I’m honestly not sure where this fear began to take root. Neither of my parents battled health issues. Neither had a brush with death, nor even an extended stay in the hospital, yet those feelings of fear were as real to me as the pillow that captured my tears as I slept.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:18, NLT
It’s easy to understand when a child expresses fear. We comfort. We listen. We might try to fix it. But we also quickly learn there’s no telling an 8-year old girl that the fear she feels about losing her parents isn’t real. A child is quick to show you that the truth-telling moment doesn’t bring her comfort.
So what happens when that 8 year-old girl grows up to become a 33 year-old woman and experiences those same feelings? What would you say to her? What if that woman is you? What do you say to yourself when fear dominates and controls?
Fear, itself, is a feeling, and depending on the situation, an expected one. I felt intense fear after my daughter died from a fire that destroyed our home. My worst nightmare became my vivid reality. Even so, I remember people telling me not feel fear, not to worry. She’s safe in heaven. The fire’s over. The problem? I did feel afraid. I did worry. Telling me not to feel a certain way added shame to the weight my heart carried and began to crowd out what I knew to be true about God.
The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.’” Psalm 91:14, NLT
That’s when I knew it was time to say no. No to fear and shame dominating my life and heaping it on top of an already smothered heart. I said no to well-intentioned people controlling my healing. I said no to staying stuck in a place of bitterness and resentment. I said no to the divisive tactics of the evil one whose singular purpose is spelled out in John 10:10 – “The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy.” No to losing sight of God’s true character.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1, NLT
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4, NLT
I don’t know how you’re not triggered all the time.
I sat in a staff meeting with three men of integrity, men who love Jesus with all their hearts. We discussed the election, its aftermath, and some situations that are weighing heavy on our hearts.
Through the course of the conversation, two of them shared something that touched a deep wound in my heart, a sorrow God has spent the past twelve years healing.
I could’ve allowed resentment to enter in because his daughter received healing when mine didn’t. I couldn’t turned bitter and spouted the other mom whose daughter is gravely ill shouldn’t get her hopes up because death takes who it wants. I could’ve allowed my feelings to barrel over the relationships I had with these three men because I felt the hurt and pain.
But I knew better. I knew it was time to say no again. No to fear of division. No to bitterness and resentment. No to damaging relationships because of the feelings that twisted and turned inside.
Instead, I cried. I hate when that happens, especially when I’m the only female in the room. But if I’m going to say no to fear and shame, I need to say yes to something that invites vulnerability and connection.
I cried and shared the fear that churned inside my heart. They had no idea, How could they? I shared how the struggle is constant, the fear and sorrow that sometimes lurks in the background, and sometimes smacks me square in the face. I shared that there are others like me, others who walk with deep unseen wounds and how we treat people really matters. I shared and we drew closer as together we said no to fear and shame.
I don’t know what lies ahead for you, for our nation, or our world, but I do know when I’m going to say no: when fear and shame dominate my thoughts. When the destruction and havoc from our enemy runs rampant through our world and in the lives of people we know and even those we don’t. When darkness looks like it may win or hatred might have the final say.
I’m grateful my little 8 year-old self faced her fear of loss, because this 45 year-old self has the courage to say no to fear’s power over my life. And when those feelings of fear and shame rise within, I will choose to say no to them again and again and again.
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” Psalm 91:2, NLT
What are you saying no to these days? Share below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.