This post was first published on Monday 16th March 2015 on the blog for the Association of Christian Writers, More than Writers, for which I am a regular contributor.
Trying to stop feeling fear
What does trusting God feel like? I used to think I wasn't trusting Him because I felt fearful in the face of difficulties. I thought I was a failure. I would read the Bible and pray, waiting for the fear to go and for the trust to arrive. I tried to metaphorically grit my teeth and work up a feeling of faith. But that never really worked. It simply left me feeling even worse, more of a failure and wondering what I had done wrong.
This week I read Psalm 55. I have read it before but this time it hit me right between the eyes. Especially verses 4 and 5 - "My heart pounds in my chest...fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can't stop shaking". King David, Israel's greatest King, the man after God's own heart was shaking with fear due to the situation in which he found himself. He wanted to fly away from the situation. He wanted to run away.
Trust is a choice
It was a revelation to me. I knew the psalms were full of emotion but somehow the day I read this psalm that truth fell the 12 inches from my head into my heart. I read on to see what David would say next. Verses 16 -18, 22 contain these words,
But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice.
Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
If you had asked me before this week, I would have told you that trusting God is an act of our will but somehow this week that truth dropped down into my heart. My eyes were opened. I'm not letting God down by feeling fearful at first sight of any difficulties. He is waiting to see what I will do despite my fear. He is waiting for me to chose faith, to choose trust.
And the amazing thing is that once I have chosen to trust Him the fearful feelings often go, or at least they lessen. The mistake I made before was trying to stop the fear first and then to trust. It doesn't work that way. I know now I need to trust God as an act of my will whilst feeling scared. Then the fear often does go. Like the priests of Israel carrying the arc of the covenant across the River Jordan into the Promised Land. The river did not part until they had stepped into the water.
Are you facing a difficult situation? Do as a shaking, fearful David did. Chose to trust God as an act of your will, to give Him your situation whilst still feeling afraid and wait to see what God will do for you.