Practicing Peace When We Feel Afraid and Alone
Heavy sigh. Yep. I finally said it. I woke up (more like, I got up after laying in bed awake for hours) and in tears whispered to the Lord, “I feel afraid.” Yesterday, I was singing in my car and dancing and feeling the sunshine on my face. I’ve been doing so well. I’ve enjoyed so much healing from the loss of my husband. I’ve been moving closer to wholeness again. And yesterday, I thought that Valentine’s this year might be no big thing. Just another day. But I finally heard news about everything going on the world and it all got to me last night.
I hate feeling these things, as much as I hate to admit them.
Now fear used to define me. It led me. It guided my decisions. But years ago, the Lord rushed in during a season of prayer and worship and He truly delivered me. So while I befriended fear for far too long, it’s also been a very long time since it came to visit me.
I think because I’ve had such victory over fear for so many years, it took me a long time in the wee hours of the morning to finally admit it… I feel afraid. Is it pride or self-protection that it took me hours to admit this? I don’t know.
When fear sneaks up on us
But when we have to be strong and brave because it’s honestly our only option, it feels foreign and unsettling when fear sneaks in on us. It honestly feels kind of scary to finally admit we feel some sort of fear. No matter how big or how small.
I think some of our most courageous soldiers, pastors, and leaders must feel this way too every now and then. That small quiet fear that you can’t afford to entertain for too long, but every now and then… there it is. Paying you another unwelcome visit.
Even in recent perfect storms (after storm after storm), I have rarely felt fear. But today, another perfect storm has been brewing and it finally got to me.
(By the way, why does it feel like often the only thing perfect in life is a perfect storm. The irony.)
Now here’s the deal. I’ve practiced peace. I’ve practiced resting in God’s presence. I’ve practiced walking with Him. Yes, I could give you a few step process to get there.
But today, I realize that it’s step one that most people forget. And today, it’s all I feel I need to offer you if you too find yourself finally admitting to yourself that you might feel alone or afraid.
But how do we actually get to peace when we feel afraid and alone?
The first step toward peace…
Say it outloud. Tell God that you’re not at peace. Cry out the ugly honest reality to the Lord.
This first step is a wobbly one, but I assure you… once you let out that honest guttural cry or that desperate whisper, you have taken your first step into the place of peace.
This is God’s presence. Jesus is Peace Himself. And when you finally admit to yourself that you’re afraid or alone or lacking confidence or afraid of failing, and then you finally tell the Lord about it, that’s when you’ve positioned your weaknesses in His strength. That’s when you put your insecurities and fears in the place of Peace and stability.
When we bring it to the Lord, “it opens the door to let the Comforter rush in.” (-danita jenae, When Mountains Crumble) This is the age old practice of lament.
So allow yourself the humility to admit how weak/alone/afraid/illequipped you really feel. And realize that this is what cracks wide the door to peace.
“When I am afraid I will trust in Him.” Psalm 56:3
This verse comforts me more than the ones that say, “Do not be afraid.” Because when I’m afraid, I’m afraid. And I couldn’t used to transition to peace so easily. I couldn’t just turn off the fear and say to myself, “Ok. Then I won’t be afraid because you told me not to be.”
But saying “WHEN” you feel afraid, it gives me permission to be human and to finally admit that I am. And bonus… it actually tells me what to do next. When I feel afraid, I will choose to trust in God.
So first we admit it to ourselves and the Lord, and then we say, Ok God. I feel this way, but at the end of the day, I trust you are able to rescue me. When I feel rejected, I know you won’t abandon me. When I feel worried, I know you will provide for me. When I feel unsafe and uncertain, I know you will protect me.
Can it really be that simple?
Yep. After my rising in tears and a sad uncertain whispered confession of fear, I fixed a cup of tea, held my Bible in my hands (I couldn’t even read it), and I told the Lord (and myself) the honest truth about everything I’ve been holding together on my own for too long. And that was it. He took it. This heavy load wasn’t meant for my shoulders, and in His kindness to remember my frailty, He shouldered all the weight.
This is peace. This is freedom. This is not being fully alone. This is trusting Him and not feeling afraid. Even when not a single one of my circumstances changed.
Though, I’ll sure take Him up on His promises when the timing is right. I’m ready.
What does it take for you to admit that you might not feel as confident and courageous as you’ve been trying to be. When was the last time you just got honest with God and told Him how you’re actually doing.
When was the last time you took everything you’ve been bravely storing away in your jar, and opened the lid, and finally let yourself feel a little of those things you’ve had to bottle for so long. That jar is so helpful. I’m learning it gets us through these huge callings on our lives. But once we start putting things in that jar, it can start to get so full we add one more fear to the list… the fear of even feeling everything we’ve been tucking away for later.
If you’ve read this far, maybe this is your invitation to crack that jar open, take a wobbly honest step toward the Lord, and let Him pour in His unexplainable peace.
Perfect peace. There are perfect storms, yes. But they are NOT the only perfect things in life. Perfect unexplainable peace. This is the kind that washes over us when we take these wobbly steps to trusting him more.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4
If you want more practical guidance on practicing lament and bringing your heartache and big emotions and doubts to the Lord… When Mountains Crumble is here for you.
With all my heart,