As I awake a tidal wave of anxiety rolls in and pins me to my bed.
I hear the kids downstairs, and that tone of voice means one thing—a fight will ensue. I pull the covers over my head and let the undertow of dread pull me under.
The kitchen needs cleaned. The laundry beast needs tamed. Church responsibilities loom. Is this my life?
I hear my husband break up the fight. The house quiets, but an unseen hand turns up the volume of negativity in my mind, lies amplified.
You’re a failure, the worst mom ever. Loser. Fat. Idiot. Hack. Poser. Socially Inept.
If “hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” as Emily Dickenson said, then my hope just flew the coop.
But then I hear it, my new war cry. An anthem I sing to myself when I don’t want to face the world outside my covers.
That’s all I say, but the whisper stirs in me courage to quit the bed and put feet to floor. I am brave, I tell myself. No longer a lily-livered girl, God made me strong, confident and full of faith.
I’m learning to speak kind words to myself—the words of God. These truth words don’t come easily. Sometimes they burrow through two tons of lies before they can settle in my mind.
On my darkest days these lies roar to me from my dreams. Singing the brave song helps. Faith quiets the lies like rain clouds part for the sun.
The Bible brims over with songs of courage. Some days I murmur these ancient brave songs to myself.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires
with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Pslam 103: 2-5 NIV).
Abraham knew about bravery. I can see old Abe leaving home when God said so, setting off for destination unknown. I see him stroke his beard and ponder. Does he overanalyze every bend in the road like I tend to?
I didn’t think so a few years ago. I saw Abraham as fearless—so patriarchal and perfect. I realize now perfect, is what I imposed on Abraham—it was the ideal I reached for. Perfect and fearless.
I’m sure Abraham had moments, seasons—maybe even years of doubt.
I can see Abraham having it out with God right there on the road to Canaan, maybe just like the fight I heard from my covers.
God, why are you making me move? Can’t you just tell me where I’m going? Can’t you see what a huge inconvenience this is for me?
Abraham, the father of our faith, probably knew better than anyone how belief and fear can mingle.
Watch him walk toward Mt. Moriah, wood on his back and his Isaac chatting innocently by his side. You think his heart wasn’t pounding out of his chest?
But somehow Abraham learned that faith is not the absence of fear. He learned to dance to the rhythm of his own fearful heart.
Abraham found his own brave song.
Maybe it was the sound of bushes in the wind mixed with the cricket’s song, the first time God appeared to him.
In the middle of crippling fear, faith can arise. It can be as simple as a tune that your heart hums and when all hope has vanished.
What’s your brave song? What tract do you play in your mind to overcome fear?