Last night there was a disturbance, not a disturbance in the force but in the family room. We’re navigating teenage girlhood with our youngest and the waters can be pretty turbulent at times and usually when we least expect it. Well, a big wave of disrespect and moodiness splashed over John and I. As we sat blinking on the couch, staring at American Idol, the stormy little instigator marched upstairs. Moments later the disgruntled teen stomped down the stairs and out the front door! It was nighttime – dark and chilly out. John went to see where she went and found her sitting on the porch. He came back in and closed the door. I got a rush of restless energy so went to the kitchen to clean. Cleaning always helps when I’m anxious or just need to get my body busy so I won’t sit and fret. As I walked in and turned on the faucet to start rinsing dishes, fear blew an icy breath to fog up my heart. I thought, “What if she runs away? What if she does something else stupid? What will we do? Do I call the police?” Then I immediately thought, “I’m not going to worry about this” and instead began to pray. As I put dishes in the dishwasher rather forcefully, I prayed for God to send away any influence from the enemy that was affecting her and her heart. I prayed and declared that God’s Holy Spirit was the only influence welcome in our home, in the hearts of my family. I rebuked satan and told him to leave in Jesus’ name.
As I prayed – I was actually saying these things out loud quietly as I scrubbed the surface of the oven – I felt a growing boldness rise up. The fear started to ebb away as I kept telling the enemy that he was not welcome, that he had no power over us, and that he had to leave because Jesus said so. All we have to do is resist Him. That’s what the Bible says! (James 4:7-8) We don’t have to punch him, fight him, wrestle with him, or convince him to go. We just have to pull away and say “Eww, I don’t want you here.” Well, that’s what I did. As I prayed it was as if my wimpy little heart suddenly was fortified with the steely determination of Truth. I said, “I’m not afraid of you!” Instantly the fear was gone and I felt peace. I wasn’t worried at all. I felt strong – felt the power of God all around me, the goodness of Truth triumphing again over evil. (Like it does EVERY time)
I remember when I was little being afraid to walk through the church with the lights off. For some reason a church can be really creepy when it’s all dark. There was nothing there, though! No reason to be afraid. And usually my parents were around somewhere getting ready to go home. I HATE spiders, but most of them don’t hurt anyone. They’re just incredibly spindly, quick and unpredictable and can make me freak out like little else. When my girls were little and John wasn’t home, I had to be the spider killer. I would just tell myself, “I’m not afraid” and squish it. Of course I would usually do it as fast as I could and then get the heebie-jeebies, but you get my point right?
I was talking with a good friend once about doubts and faith, confessing I had some doubts and was feeling guilty about it. It was also making me afraid for the condition of my faith in God and the foundation I’ve built my life upon this whole time. He said he didn’t think doubt is the opposite of faith, but that fear is. I think he’s right. Doubt usually leads me to God for understanding, for peace, for conversation. Fear tends to paralyze me. The Bible says that perfect love (God) casts out all fear (I John 4:17-18) so that tells me that fear is NOT of God. Not that kind of fear anyway. My friend told me when doubts arose in his heart, he took them to God and just decided he wasn’t going to give in to fear. He wasn’t even going to go there.
Is it as simple as that? Just saying, “you know what? I’m not going to be afraid.” I think it is! For so long I’ve been captive to fears that have nothing to stand on. The devil is also the prince of lies and all the fears he sloshes onto us are false. They can be really powerful and trip us but they’re nothing. He has no power over us. The thought of facing him when we have God on our side is like us having a battle with a loaf of bread. (Hilarious simile compliments of John Crump. Makes me laugh every time I picture it.)
The next time you feel afraid – whether it’s of a dinky spider on your floor or a big, new life circumstance you find yourself in or something you don’t understand about God – choose not to be afraid. Choose to stand tall with God’s Spirit big inside of you and all around you. Choose to remember whose you are. Choose to take it to God, your Father. Choose to proclaim to the enemy, “I’m not afraid of you!”
Then watch God do something awesome.