Facing Fear Series Intro: Everyone deals with fear on some level. I’m currently in a season of facing fear myself. I decided to open up and share some experiences I have had in the past, and I’m hoping you’ll benefit. Today’s post is all about Facing The Fear of Tomorrow.
2017 had me on my knees for world leaders, families and communities all over the world. If you weren’t exhausted ringing in the new year, you weren’t paying attention to what was happening around you. I watched earthquakes make buildings crumble, school shootings on the news, families forced to leave their homes, and the sin of racism run rampant in our nation. Sometimes it had me asking questions like “Is my kid safe?” “Whats going to happen tomorrow?” “Can I hurt for someone else, anymore than I do for this person?”
To better carry the weight on my heart, when these thoughts come up there is one place I have had to train my mind to go, even if my emotions take longer to get there. I go to the Bible to find comfort and after that, I do three things to be smart and strong when the morning comes. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it feels pointless. It’s not magic, so things don’t immediately change when I snap my fingers. But when I truly embrace the habit, I eventually find the peace that surpasses all understanding, and find the courage to go about my business.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3 & 4
As our awareness grows of how much is out of our control, our heart and mind position is important. There are things we can do ahead of time to prepare ourselves and our loved ones for the unknown. Not prepare in fear, but prepare in faith. I hope you’ll be encouraged and try them too!
1. Get Educated.
Hearing both sides of the story is important to me, including conservative & liberal, rich & poor, black & white, the leader & the follower, and more specifically, reality & faith perspectives. What does God say about this life? About my life, my friends lives? And the tragedies we are becoming more aware of that have existed for generations?
“For I have a plan for you, plans for a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
This verse and others bring my heart and mind in alignment with the truth that even though I am not in control of everything around me, I know the one who is. When fear feels strong, I will say these bible verses out loud and turn on worship music. In that moment, I am choosing to make the bible louder than the thoughts in my head.
Biblical education and emotional validation isn’t enough though. What I am looking for is soul transformation, in me. Two things I have found to be true: (1.) Learning about different cultures can help me understand mine better and (2) Caring for others IS in my control. So I do these, and encourage my family to do these as well.
2. Make a plan, & make prayer part of that plan.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, will make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
When I was in college I worked retail at the mall. There were a few “plans” I had as a single young adult woman, to stay safe. -When dropping off a friend, I wouldn’t drive away until she got into her house. -At work, greet the customers, so that if someone is looking to cause trouble or steal, they know you are aware of them in your store. -Park by the light if working late. -Have a co-worker walk to your car with you, and you drive them to their car. -If your car has a coat thrown on the windshield, leave it alone, go back inside, call 911. -Immediately lock the car doors once inside your car, don’t waste time scrolling through your phone, especially in the dark -Have a loved one on speaker phone to walk you to your car if you are alone. -When I worked at the bank, I was trained to be calm. Over and over again, we were trained when to hit the security button, and how to respond, when being robbed.
In an emergency situation, I don’t think God will be offended if we remove ourselves from the toxic situation before praying “oh God! help!” However, when setting up meeting places, choosing code words, or preparing for the worst, I do believe praying in faith that God will remove the evil doer, protect you and give you wisdom is important.
3. Model your faith, specifically to your children & others you mentor.
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverb 22:6
Because our children are very young right now we have conversations, give our money, serve at community events, and pray, but we talk about how when they are older we will respond to a natural disaster, meet people in hospitals, and help those who are hurting. There have been times we would google what a hurricane looks like or talk about kids who are hungry. On occasion, Trevin and I have shared some of the stories of what is happening in our community and around the world with our oldest son. We have shared these stories (age-appropriateness always considered) to help shape his heart for hurting people, to encourage compassion, lead him to action, and to develop a heart of gratitude for the blessings God has so graciously given him and us.
There has even been a few situations that have weighed on my husband and I, and we have come home from school or work and sat down with our son to let him know we are thinking really hard about some things we don’t understand, and that we are sad we aren’t able to fix things for our friends who are scared or hurting. It’s on those nights, we cancel our plans, ignore the chores, turn on worship music and build LEGOS for hours. We model to our sons, 1. Family first, even when it hurts or is exhausting. Being gentle with others. 2. We choose to control our minds, words, actions and the atmosphere of our home. Being gentle with ourselves. 3. Seek refuge in The Word and presence of God. 4. Tomorrow, we try again with courage and faith.
In the midst of horrible situations from shootings, to natural disasters, to war, we take on the responsibility of shaping the future of these and other big issues. Even though the Anderson’s are a small family, I believe we can (and we will!) help shape our community. Even though we are not in control, we can always talk to the one who is. We can always be gentle with ourselves and others, and find comfort in the presence of God. And even though it doesn’t make it all go away, we can face the fear of tomorrow with courage and faith. Believe you can too, does that make sense?
Psalms 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”