As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a scaredy-cat kind of girl. The girl people love to sneak up on, spring pranks on, scare the life out of. By my own admission, I’m an incredibly easy target. Perhaps it’s just my nature, or perhaps it’s the fact that I was scarred for life at an early age by my big brother who used to chase me around the house in a scary mask. Regardless, I’ve spent a majority of my life being fearful.
There’s a group of ladies from my church who are more like sisters than friends. We share a kinship that can only be created by a knitting together of hearts by the Father’s loving hands. There’s no shortage of laughter stories, tears, hugs, prayers, coffee, “jus’ sayin’s” or “just keepin’ it real’s” when we’re together. There’s no jealousy, no competition, no pretense. It’s so refreshing. We have, however, affectionately named ourselves the Fantastic 5, although in reality, we’re just some saved-by-grace Jesus girls who have been given the divine privilege of doing life together and through whom God speaks His truth and promises into each of our lives.
Today was no exception. I share the commonality of an early morning commute to work at the same time as one of my Fantastic 5 girls. We chat almost every morning, and the Lord totally guides the conversation. On some mornings, the topics run the gamut of our bad hair day that has ensued, upcoming ministry opportunities, raising our children, supporting our husbands, and specific prayer needs for that particular day. Often, one of us may lead the conversation out of the overflow of our heart and what God’s uprooting, planting, and harvesting there and without missing a beat, the other person shares Godly insight and encouragement to affirm and discern what the Lord is doing in the other girl’s heart. As my F5 girl simply explained it this morning, “calling you in the mornings on my way to work is just as natural and instinctive as putting on my seat belt before I get on the road. It’s just so cool!” Whew, what a blessing I’ve been given through the richness of friendships in my life!
This morning’s conversation wrapped up with me sharing my specific prayer needs for tests I had scheduled this afternoon – an MRI, and MRV and a CFS (cerebral fluid study). I knew that this appointment would be a few hours in length, somewhat physically uncomfortable, and all the time spent in an MRI machine, but it wasn’t until this morning that it occurred to claustrophobic me that I had never confirmed that the tests would be administered in an open MRI machine. I had done so for my previous MRI’s, as you have to request the open machines, but of course neglected to do so for the marathon battery of tests I was preparing to endure. As my fears started to mount in record time upon realizing this, I told my friend that I absolutely had to call the hospital and inquire which machine would be used, and beg them to accommodate my need for an open MRI. To which my friend replied, “No, don’t call them.”
What?! I knew my friend was crazy in a Jesus-freak kind of way and I adore her for that, but this response had me completely befuddled. What if my suspicions were correct and I was scheduled in a traditional machine? What if they couldn’t accommodate my request to change to an open machine? What if I end up stuck in that forsaken machine forever?! What if, what if, what if?
Again she encouraged me not to call them, and proceeded to enlighten me in true Bible teacher fashion that God has me in the palm of His hand, that I am to be strong and courageous, that with God’s strength and courage this too would be conquered, and that it was time to throw down with the devil and fear not!
At that moment, it occurred to me that calling them would replace Jesus’ position of authority on my heart’s throne with fear and in so doing, I would be handing over my entire day to the enemy in submission to fear which is contrary to the way I am to choose to live based on the truth of God’s Word. The Word implores me to trust in the Lord, to not be anxious, to not worry, to be bold and strong and courageous, to know that He has redeemed me and set my foot upon higher ground, that He has plans for my good, that He is with me, and the list could go on and on. Some Bible scholars even speculate that there are over 365 verses in the Bible that speak to dispelling fear and building faith, though one single “Fear not” spoken by my God should be more than sufficient to convince my soul that God’s got my back regardless of the circumstances. The devil was not going to get the victory today!
I never called the hospital radiology department prior to my tests this afternoon, nor did I ask them once I checked in which type of machine would be used, because it didn’t matter. What did matter is that I could confidently rest in the promises that God was with me, that His perfect love casts out all fear, and that He has given me not a spirit of fear but one of power and of sound mind. And a sound mind cannot choose to embrace both faith and fear. Even if only for today, I chose to fear not!
You too can choose to fear not regardless of your circumstances. Choosing faith over fear isn’t denying the existence of your feelings in the flesh – doubt, uncertainty, lack of control, despair, fear – rather, it’s choosing to yield them to a God who is strong enough to carry them for you and powerful enough to equip you to overcome them. It’s only when we reach the end of our capabilities that God’s unlimited abilities are unleashed and we can press on through life with confidence and the courage to fear not!