The house falls dark and still. Stairs creak and unfamiliar noises haunt. There is no one there, I whisper to myself, trying to make it true. But fear takes me captive. I pull my feet up, desperate to ignore it.
It creaks once more and I open my eyes. Convinced that someone is there, I see shadows. Irrational thoughts consume. Shaking and hysterical, I flip on all the lights. The room is empty. I attempt to calm the hysteria, but it’s too late. Feelings of defeat convince me it will be another one of those nights. All lights on. Phone on my chest. Sleep scarce.
* * * * * * *
Fear has defined me. In 2000, I slept with every light on for almost an entire year. Then I got over it only to fall back into the same patterns a few years later. I simply don’t do ALONE very well. In fact, I’d rather get a root canal than be in a dark and quiet house without a man to protect me.
But I don’t have that option. For now, every night is dark and quiet. Every night. And sometimes, it’s more than I can bear. Lately, I have allowed fear to regain its bondage over me. I’ve fallen back into sleeping with the lights on, triple-checking locks, and holding my phone on my chest (as if that is somehow going to save me).
While safety is certainly one of my biggest issues, fear takes other places in my heart captive. In fact, I find that sometimes I am more afraid of what could or might be than what really is. I let fear control my thoughts and my actions.
Fear that I would not be enough.
Fear that I would not graduate.
Fear that I would be hurt or die.
Fear that he wouldn’t love me.
Fear that I would mess up my kids.
Fear that eating something would make me sick.
Fear that the bank would be robbed while I’m inside.
Fear that a car would run the stoplight and hit me.
Fear that I would be homeless.
Fear that right would not win or justice would not prevail.
Fear of that which is unknown.
After years of hard work, my struggle with fear has been mostly overcome. And yet this week, I find myself needing a reminder. How do I conquer the dark and unknown?
- Sleep with the lights on. I know it’s odd, but it works. Start big and work your way down to a few soft lights. This keeps me from staring into the dark and wondering. In the light, I know that no one is there and everyone is safe.
- Don’t watch t.v. This one is crucial for me. I can not watch murder mysteries or even the news. At all. I used to LOVE suspense, but when I finally cut out watching that stuff, I found that my mind was able to focus on true things. I wasn’t walking around at night feeling terrified anymore.
- Guard your conversation. Talk and think about true things only. Don’t deal with that complicated problem or discuss options for your future until it’s time to do so. Many times, heavy topics will lead to anxious subconscious thoughts when you lie down and even throughout the day.
- Deal with it as a spiritual issue and claim God’s truth over your life.
- Recognize that the enemy wants you to be afraid and refuse to let him have the satisfaction.
- Declare truth out loud. When fear creeps in, tell it to leave in the name of Jesus. Declare your safety out loud. Read or recite Scripture over the enemy and his deceptive thoughts. Keep a list of verses by your bed (I’ve included one that you can print out).
- Pray before you go to bed. But not for safety. Pray about anything else! Focusing your thoughts on the greatness of God will keep you from dwelling on your circumstances. Remember, Jesus alone can comfort. And He knows your every need, even if you avoid praying for it before bed.
- Put verses in every corner of the house and read them. Make them personal and declare them out loud.
- Commit yourself to look up every instance of the word FEAR or AFRAID in the Bible and record your findings. This is life changing, as the Word reminds us over and over NOT to give in to this battle of fear.
If you don’t struggle with fear over physical safety, the same principles apply. Just transfer it to your situation. If you fear legal dealings, follow the above steps before dealing with them. If you fear failure, claim these truths any time the thoughts creep back in.
Scripture for when you are fearful
Print these truths out on cardstock and post them around your house or carry them in your purse. You can even leave it as one sheet and hang it on the fridge–whatever you need to do to remember to claim the truth over your life. Start preaching the Word to yourself and your heart will be in constant peace (Phil. 4:6-7).
Sometimes, I find myself feeling defeated when I find victory over something only to have the same problem return. But I must remember, all things on this earth are a struggle. This life requires daily dependence on Him. He desires that. Perhaps I must revisit my issues to remind me that I can do nothing without Him. I will not give in to fear. I will cling to His every promise and declare victory over the enemy.
Your turn…have you battled fear? What are some practical things that you do to keep fear from consuming? What are you favorite verses to proclaim over fear?