The Valley

Yesterday was too sporadic to get in any solid hours of work time, which I desperately need.  So I got up at 6am this morning to tackle work while I had a stretch of quiet.  We decided to go to the later church service to give me some blocked time and it did help a lot to get in a good 4 hours straight.

I did get quite a few things completed and some organization done, although not as much as I would have liked admittedly. At about 10:15a I sat back in my chair and was contemplating what I had left that I wanted to do, what I really needed to study, and what I wanted to tackle with just an hour or so left in my time bank before I needed to get ready for church. Then all of the sudden and out of nowhere, I was having a full-fledged and off the charts anxiety attack. Cold sweat, heart blasting out of my chest, pulse irrational and pounding, ears ringing, and stars dancing in my eyes.  I didn’t even see it coming. Needless to say I made a beeline to the bedroom to lie down until it subsided.

Obviously a clear indication of how much stress and pressure I am under, not a little of it being self-inflicted. My need for perfectionism, combined with a complete lack of understanding, and then the added bonus of being on display for the world to watch as I (potentially) crumble, is apparently my secret-sauce recipe for a holy moly panic meltdown.

Then I went to church.  Psalms 23.  And I finally admitted to myself that I have been struggling with fear and trust.  With God.

Does fear come first or does trust come first?  Yes. Let me explain…

I have spent the better part of the last 10 years in the ‘valley’ of life.  From recession, to job losses, to financial ruin, to near marital collapse, I finally hit bottom and cracked in 2014. It was awful and wonderful at the same time.  I’ve written about my jump before so I won’t detail it here again, but what I think I failed to express before is that my leap was made with God fully in my heart and my trust completely in Him about what was next for me, whatever and wherever that was to be. I’ve always believed, I just never believed with bone-soul depth like this before.

2015 was the best year I’ve ever had. My husband and I found amazingness, I landed my dream job, I no longer had to grocery shop with a calculator, and all-in-all things have just been incredible since the turn of that New Year.  As 2016 rounded the bend, my daily devotions seemed to be growing less and less ‘daily’.  My tithes less and less mandatory. And so on. So reflections about this have been weighing on my mind for several weeks now. And a post on Friday by Steven at For His Glory has had me cycling in my head ever since. Then, I go to church today and felt like I was the only one in the room while my pastor was teaching.

I’m afraid. I’m in greener pastures than I’ve ever been in my life and have no doubt it’s my Shepherd that’s led me here. But the crux of it is, I’ve been afraid of my Shepherd because of it. Don’t you see, any second now my Cinderella bubble is going to burst. If I ‘avoid’ my Maker maybe He won’t notice me.  I’ll just fly under the radar. I don’t want to be tested again, please, because the valley that’s next could be my undoing.  I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do it again and please God don’t make me have to prove it to You!

So the reality is I have fear because I am not trusting God wholly. If I truly trusted, I would not fear. I have to let go of this, or maybe find this again, because it’s clear its affecting every facet of my life. Fear is trickling in through all the cracks I’ve been making while walking ‘under the radar’ with God. Will it keep me out of the valleys of life? No, but nothing will, and only God can hold me when I do.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

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5 comments

  1. Amanda, you are certainly not alone in your struggle with fear. I have them as well. Mine are different from yours, but the disillusionment is the same. Satan loves it when he perceives us in a state of fear. And you are absolutely right by saying that the only thing that can combat our fear is our faith in God. For me at times it’s like a swing. I rock back and forth for days. I can wallow in fear for a few days or a week, then I’m back to trusting God, then back to fear, then trusting God again. I will say that as I’m learning to trust God more with more stuff, the fear-monster seems not to hang around as much. I love those rare but beautiful times when I catch myself totally trusting God. Those are my mountaintops. At those times the valleys seem to be on another planet, nowhere near me and God as I trust in Him. Thanks for sharing. In my opinion, the more we share our struggles with other trusted folks, the more we shore each other up. That has to be a good thing. God bless, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know Amanda, I always even say that I’m “Phobophobic” which i believe exists, and if the WHO meet me they will register it as a psychological condition.
    Be Strong Amanda and let it all out with blogging and sharing 🙂

    Like

  3. Your post got me to thinking, and I can say for certain that I struggle on a daily basis with fear and letting God have control. I don’t understand why, except to say that I need to be in control. And many times I hate myself for my inability to trust God. I usually end up letting him have the reins, but its only after I’ve exhausted myself from try to control everything myself. He always works everything out for what is going to be best for ME, yet I always forget that. Gotta keep trying, though. Thank you for your willingness to share.

    Like

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