Rejecting Fear and Choosing Trust

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I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life. When I was a child, I would lay awake for hours, terrified our house would catch on fire. As I got older, I switched to fearing bad grades. Then I became a mother, and my fear exploded.  

Here I was, responsible for these little people who felt like tiny pieces of my heart walking around in the world. SO MUCH could go wrong. So much could hurt them.

The fear and anxiety ate me up, and to combat it I tried to control every aspect of my children’s lives. I thought that maybe if I could control everything, and do everything right, I could protect them.

I exhausted myself and went to such extreme measures that it actually became a problem for our family, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of my kids getting hurt.

Then my 2-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia, and to my horror I found out that controlling everything didn’t necessarily mean I could keep my kids safe. Bad things would still  happen in this fallen world.

How was I going to deal with that?

Luckily God had a plan, and I’ve spent every moment since that horrible day of my son’s diagnosis learning how to follow it. God’s plan is for all of us, and it’s so much better than my plan was. It allows us to live a life with less fear and anxiety.

You see, the fatal flaw in my desire to control everything is that it’s impossible to control everything. And since it’s impossible, I was setting myself up for more feelings of fear and anxiety every time I failed. 

I knew all along I should turn to prayer. I even bought a cute little sign that said, “Stress Less, Pray More.” But I didn’t know how to do that. I’d been a Christian all my life, but every time I prayed, it sounded like the frantic pleas of a person wandering through a dark maze.

But God knew my struggles, and so as He began to teach me, He started small. One day my husband was planning to leave the hospital when suddenly a blizzard  began to rage out our window. I was terrified for his safety. What if he got in an accident? How would I do this without him?

With gentleness, God encouraged me to stop worrying and just enjoy the snow. Through this, He saved me from a lot of anxiety and worry about something that was never going to be a problem. The storm blew over quickly and the snow melted before my husband had to leave.

Then, by the grace of God, over time I learned the power of stating my trust outloud – verbally rejecting fear and embracing trust.

When Cooper’s immune system was wiped out by the chemotherapy, and I wanted to clean 24/7 in an attempt to remove all danger, I made myself stop and say out loud, “Do your best and let Jesus do the rest.” Then I would force myself to stop trying to control the situation with obsessive cleaning. Instead, I would do what the doctors said was necessary in order to realistically keep Cooper as safe as possible.

Through consciously coming to God and stating my trust out loud, I started to slowly train my brain, and my will, to trust God.

My son is still on cancer treatment, but things have slowed down, and we are getting back to normal life.  

Recently, in this “normal” life, we had a scheduling conflict between Cooper’s cancer treatment and a big event in our other son Anthony’s life. We needed to make a decision about what would be best for both boys, and it was stressing me out.

That’s when I remembered my “trust-training” and made a conscious effort to bring my fear and anxiety to God. I presented Him with the problem and asked for His help. Then I let it go and fell asleep for the night — letting the blizzard of worry pass.

The next day, I felt God had given me some clarity about the situation, and my husband and I were able to make a decision. I was grateful for God’s help, and I was determined to trust Him that it was the best solution.

Finally the big day arrived, and as it did, I had a Bible verse running through my head:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Things didn’t go as expected at our doctor appointment and one hiccup after another put us behind schedule. Even so, I felt at peace throughout our day. If I started to get stressed, I just repeated the Bible verse out loud, and it helped me remember to trust.  

But then the appointment ended, and we found ourselves in the middle of rush hour traffic with a 120 mile trip ahead of us. I started to lose some of my resolve to trust God as we drove through the frigid, black night.

I needed to come to terms with the fact that we were late, and we might not make it to Anthony’s event. But I couldn’t get the image of him sitting there feeling disappointed and abandoned out of my mind.

I believed God’s hand was in our day. I felt Him stretching me, asking me if I could trust that His will was best — even if His will wasn’t what I wanted.  

But I was devastated. I wanted to trust God. But the truth was, my heart just wasn’t in it.

That’s when I remembered what my years of trust-training had taught me — it helps to declare out loud that I am rejecting fear/anxiety and instead choosing to trust God.  

So I told God, “I want to trust you, but I’m just not quite there. I know it, and you know it. But I’m going to declare my trust and pray that your grace gets me there. So God, I choose to trust in you and lean not on my own understanding.”

Nothing happened, and to be honest my husband kind of looked at me like I was a looney bird. But I sat there and worked on my heart, willing it to trust.

Not fifteen minutes later, I recieved a text that Anthony’s event was being rescheduled.

I shouted for joy! We wouldn’t miss it. It would be rescheduled!

Then I started to grasp the fullness of the situation. Obviously I hadn’t known this would happen, but God did. And with this new information, I realized the decision he’d guided me to earlier that week was the perfect one.

I’m still learning to trust God in every situation, but when I get it right there is so much joy, and it builds my faith.

Questions for you:

Do you struggle with fear and anxiety? If so, what do you do to cope? How has God guided you to trust Him over the course of your life? Have you ever noticed that stating your resolve to follow God out loud makes a difference? What are your favorite Bible verses for when you struggle with fear and anxiety?

I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!






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36 responses on “Rejecting Fear and Choosing Trust

  1. Alison

    What an awesome testament to trust!!! I was wrestling with anxiety as we traveled over the holidays (because hello, long car trips with two small kids plus the drama of visiting family…recipe for stress.) One night, I picked up my “Jesus Calling” devotional book, realizing that in the midst of traveling, I hadn’t been taking the time to pray and connect with God regularly. The message for that day (January 4) blew me away–the author suggested whenever you feel fear taking over, to say aloud, “Jesus, I trust you.” Boom! It has made such a difference. I feel like I can head things off at the pass when I feel the anxiety start to brew, especially in those late-night hours.

    It’s so encouraging to hear your stories and know that I’m not the only one who wrestles with this! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      What is it about declaring our trust out loud? I still don’t fully understand it, but I’ve felt its power. How neat to hear that you have too! And I love that Jesus Calling book; what a treasure! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Janice

    When things around me start to melt me down I tell myself “forget about all of that (whatever it is) I can not conquer the world and fix what is bothering me and let God take control. He is the only one who can take care of the problems and solve the solutions. I think of Jesus sitting with all the little children around him and feel that I am there also. At night I can wake from a sound sleep and think of different things that I have no control over and tell myself stop it you can’t fixed it let go, I roll over and am back to sleep again. What a relief it is to know that troubles and trials are all taken care of by the only one who can, God. Fear not little flock.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      I love that we are all kids to God! Sometimes being an adult isn’t all that fun. It’s nice to know we can trust our Parent in Heaven to take care of the hard things in life. “Do your best and let Jesus do the rest!” I say it to my kids, and I say it to the kid inside of me!

  3. Joanne Viola

    I am currently in the middle of a 6 month situation. This so spoke to my heart as God has been making me realize I need to pray for each aspect of this situation as it arises. And He has been showing what to pray for & how. It is amazing how He truly does direct our paths as we trust in Him. Glad to have been here today from the RaRa Linkup. It was my first time on the linkup & my first time on your site so….”It is nice to meet you!” Blessings as you continue to give Him control!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Welcome to Genuflected, Joanne! As you say, God directs our paths, and it is amazing to see where He leads us if we can just trust Him! And when we don’t have the strength to trust, how awesome is it that God will give us the strength we need. We just have to ask Him! What a seriously amazing God we have.

  4. Kelly Balarie

    What a journey that the Lord has brought you on! What a journey! You are so authentically pursuing him. I love how you didn’t know how to pray and how you have been led to seek after him in the small things. I love how you have chosen to fall on him during these hard times. I am blessed by your story. Keep sharing. God is doing some big things through you. Cheering you on. See you next week!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Thank you Kelly! It has been wonderful to learn I can lean on God’s great strength rather than my own limited strength through this journey. See you next week!

  5. Carmen Horne

    Ahhh trusting God. Why do I/we struggle so with that? He has proven Himself so often yet when I feel out of control, I want to panic. Is it the momma in us I wonder? Thank you for your honesty and transparency. I will pray for you guys. I didn’t realize your little one was still in treatment. Goodness, you are a inspiration!

  6. Genuflected Post author

    Thank you Carmen! I think trust is like anything else that is good for us — it’s hard to remember to do. But we will persevere with His help!

  7. ~Karrilee~

    What a powerful testimony! I am praying for you and your son and family… so thankful that a bit of ‘normal life’ is returning. I used to be a worrier and a doubter… given over to fits of fear and unbelief. Slowly – with intention, God changed my natural bent to be one of faith and joy, rather than fear and anxiety. It was not overnight or easy… it was a consistent taking every thought captive and renewing my mind – but it’s worth the effort… Great post!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      I’m so glad to hear it, Karrilee! I started the journey to trust God more when my son was first diagnosed with leukemia, but I’m still on the journey. I’ve got lots of hope that some day trust will be my natural state. With God’s grace, anything is possible!

  8. June

    Wow, Jenni! what great testimony! I love how God asks us to do something, and then provides us with all the help we need to obey. Of course it’s still our choice, and I’m so thankful you chose to trust (He knew you would!) and He used that whole situation to grow your trust in Him. How awesome!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      June, you are so right! It’s our choice. And not just one big overall choice. I find that I need to willfully make a choice to trust God every single day. And as you say, it’s amazing to see how he uses the situations in our life – big and small – to help grow our trust in Him. Thanks for your comment, June. I love to hear from you!

  9. Ginger Daniel

    YES! Speaking outloud! Love it. Aren’t we all rollercoaster faith girls! I’m thankful God doesn’t see us that way, though. It’s a journey to trust, trust and trust again. Glad I stopped by…

    1. Genuflected Post author

      “Rollercoaster faith girls” now there’s an awesome post just waiting to happen! Love it, Ginger! We humans certainly do tend to have trust issues when it comes to God. Thank goodness He is so patient with us! Thanks for your comment, it made me smile!

  10. Janet from FL

    I found your blog through Holley Gerth’s link up today. I am a cancer survivor, although I have never had a seriously ill child. I use Proverbs 3:5-6 to calm my fears and doubts, too. It was great to see it quoted right at the top of your post. May God bless you and cover you and your family with love and grace and healing.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      I’m so glad you stopped by, Janet! As a cancer survivor, I imagine you know more than most people how important it is to actively choose trust. It’s an exercise in faith some days, that’s for sure! Thank you for leaving a comment. Keep in touch!

  11. Holly Barrett

    So happy you shared this with us at Testimony Tuesday! God does indeed have a plan and we just have to learn to trust it. Blessings on you and your family and special prayers for your sweet boys!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Holly, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to link up with so many other amazing Christian authors at Testimony Tuesdays! Thank you for stopping by Genuflected and for your prayers. We will take all that we can get!

  12. Melinda McCray

    I love the blizzard metaphor. Isn’t just like that. Seeing our way out of worry is not something we can do, but trusting God to leat us out by speaking our trust will.

    My memory verse right now is Isaiah 42:6.

    “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and I will hold your hand. I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people. I will make you a light to the gentiles.”

    To me it says that He will lead us out, and then we can light the way for others.

    Love your words friend

    1. Genuflected Post author

      What a beautiful verse! And I love that you told us what it means to you. The blizzard metaphor is one that I go back to often in my life, even today. It helps me remember to focus on gratitude to God, no matter the situation, and trust that He will take care of the problem better than I ever could! Still learning though, still learning.

  13. Trudy

    What a beautiful testimony of learning to let go of our plans and trusting God! I, too, worry far too much and am still learning to trust. Thank you for sharing this, Jenni.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Thank you for stopping by, Trudy! So grateful for your comment and for comfort that others out there are saying, “Me too!” Together we can support each other as we move toward trust.

  14. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Jenni,
    Visiting from Bonnie’s link-up and I am so encouraged by your post of God caring about the details in your life! It is so amazing how he gently leads us to trust him, as I’ve seen over and over in my own life, but each time it happens is astounding to me. So happy to meet you and I’m keeping your family in my prayers!

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Yes, Valerie, I pray and pray, but every time He answers my prayers it still seems to catch me by surprise! Not sure why that is, but I wonder if it makes God shake His head and laugh a little. Thank you for your prayers and for stopping by Genuflected. Blessings to you!

  15. Tiffany

    Jenni, your honest heart really touched me. “Trust training” – just love that. Isn’t God just so faithful to patiently train us up in the very things He knows we’ll have to bear down and cling to. Your story of trust in light of some trying circumstances is inspirational. Who doesn’t deal with anxiety – that’s built into this frail flesh, isn’t it? 🙂 One of my favorite verses is Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my portion forever.” So blessed to have been your neighbor at #tellhisstory.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Another beautiful verse, Tiffany. Thank you for sharing it with us! Anxiety certainly does seem to be built into this frail flesh of ours. With grace and trust-training, I’m praying God helps me to overcome it some day!

  16. Sarah Donegan

    What a big God-moment! That made me smile at the end 🙂
    I struggle with fear and anxiety and God is teaching me how useless it is. I was once told that 90% of what we worry about doesn’t happen. That helps me put it in perspective some times.

    1. Genuflected Post author

      Yes, I think I’ve heard that too! And when I’m honest with myself, I think it’s probably a fairly accurate statistic. Thanks for stopping by, so grateful for your thoughts here!

  17. Create With Joy

    Thanks, Jenni, for sharing this inspiring testimony with us at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy! I’ve also shared your struggles and those verses have great significance to me.

    Would love for you to join us at the Book Nook at Create With Joy – our new community/party specifically for book lovers! 🙂

    1. Genuflected Post author

      I just discovered your site this week and have spent quite a bit of time poking around! Somehow I missed that Book Nook though. Thank you for the invitation, I will check that out!

  18. Terri Presser

    Thanks for linking this great post up at Good Morning Mondays. I struggle with fear every time my oldest son drives out the drive. I have trained myself to just pray and put him into God’s hands. The Proverbs 3:5-6 verses are my favourite, thank you for sharing your heart with us. Blessings

  19. Genuflected Post author

    Oh teenagers, what an opportunity to grow in trust, right?! No wonder God is starting my trust training when my kids are so young. I’m going to need all the years of training I can get! Thank you for stopping by and for saying “me too.” The support and encouragement we give each other helps us along our path to trusting God more fully. Blessings to you!

  20. Kathryn Shirey

    Gérât post! How hard it is to learn this trust thing – especially when it involves your children. I struggle to trust and obey every day – and sometimes still find myself worrying and trying to control. It’s a journey!

  21. Connie Rossini

    Beautiful post, Jenni. We are never done with trusting in this life, and it seems like just when we think we are, God brings another situation where we need to just abandon everything to Him. Fears for my kids were a terrible struggle for me until pretty recently, and I didn’t even have to deal with any major issues with them–it was all remnants of what had happened to my sister when I was a child. God continue to strengthen you!

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