Originally published Tuesday, 15 October 2013.
I was eighteen years old when I had my first child and had no clue how to parent, much less, how to do it all alone. I had never boiled bottles (do people even do that anymore?), changed diapers, or dealt with cholic. Fear quickly permeated every area of my life. What if I couldn't do this right? What if I didn't have enough money to feed him? How was it going to affect him to not have a father around?
Those early years were not the end of my fears either. As time went on, I became increasingly worried that my children may choose the wrong friends, fail a test, or make the same mistakes I once did. Fast forward several years. I met and married the man of my dreams, secured great employment, and purchased a lovely home. Occassionally, I feared that that man would one day leave me, like so many in my life had, or that I would lose that great job and not have the ability to pay my mortgage. What was this? Fear. Fear. Fear. I was inundated with the What-ifs of life.
Fear can grip our very soul. It can dictate how we live our lives. I was completely oblivious to how much fear I was carrying, until I sat in a sermon one Sunday morning by a local pastor. He asked us to write down the things we feared. He, then, asked us to share our list with a neighbor sitting next to us. Tears streamed down my face. I was embarrassed that even though I had been on my Christian journey for years, I had lived a life of bondage to a long list of fears.
2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is faith in the wrong things. What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least. Learn to take authority over your fears:
1. Acknowledge the fear and choose to trust God with it. If you fear that you will always be alone, confess it to the Lord and trust that he knows far better than you what you need. If you fear you will never purchase a home, trust God. If you fear your children may be killed in a plane crash, trust God. Begin to openly acknowledge what you are carrying.
2. Seek God until he takes away all your fears. (See Ps. 34:4). Keep pursuing freedom. Keep Praying for him to deliver you from it. Keep professing God's truth over your life, not your feelings.
3. Recognize that they can't do anything to you. You belong to the Lord. Do not listen to what they say. Do not listen to those who say you won't make it, you won't win, you can't do it. Satan whispers in your ear that your forgiven sins will hinder you from future successes. Don't listen.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her personal story of homelessness, abuse, and teen pregnancy. She is founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom, and has appeared on countless radio and television programs. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.