For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a slave fear and anxiety.
As a kid, I would worry at night that someone was gonna break into our house. I would fret that our house was gonna burn down, even to the point of laying things by my bed that I wanted to grab if our house caught fire in the middle of the night. I slept with lights on, even until a couple of years ago.
I worried about fitting in, about looking nice, about what people thought of me. I worried about grades, test scores, money. You name it, I feared it.
During my freshman year of college, I finally started realizing that this wasn’t normal. Looking at my grades, I realized that my homework scores were fine, but my test scores were extremely low because I would panic during tests.
The summer after my freshman year, I was diagnosed with anxiety and put on some medication. I started taking the meds, but they made me become so mellow that I lost my bubbly personality. So I eventually dumped the pills down the toilet.
Fast forward to my mission trip to Thailand. God did major work in my heart. He showed me that my intense fears meant that I wasn’t trusting Him. That He could hold my fragile heart and that I can turn to Him in moments where my anxiety peaks. He used my teammates to speak truth into me. In those 3.5 months, I relinquished so many of my fears to Him. It was beautiful and I tasted true freedom in Christ for the first time.
In the years since Thailand, God has revealed more and more of the fears that I wasn’t handing over to Him. It’s been a process of laying those at His feet and trusting Him.
Recently, I finally laid down one of my major fears to Him.
This may seem silly to you, but to me, driving on the interstate gave me crippling fear.
When I was 15 and taking drivers ed (in Virginia where I lived at the time), my driving instructor never took me on the interstate. My dad, teaching me outside of drivers ed, only took me on the interstate a couple of times. So, I never REALLY learned how to drive on a busy interstate and the longer I waited and avoided the interstate, the more the fear built up.
Whenever I took longer car journeys, I would click the little “avoid highway” option on the google maps app on my phone. Which is exactly what I did when I drove up to Michigan to visit my Thailand teammates 2 weekends ago.
Yes, I willingly added an extra hour and a half just to avoid highways. And there were many detours on the little backroads I took, so the trip up to Michigan took me over 5 hours.
I was so frustrated at how long the drive was and the whole weekend I kept thinking, “what if I just take the intestate home?” Could I really let go of a fear that had been building in me for 10 years?
Just as they did in Thailand, my friends encouraged and spoke truth into me. They filled me with truths and confidence in the Lord.
And when I left Michigan, I merged onto the interstate and drove it the whole way home. I was a little nervous, but with lots of prayer and some City + Colour playing in the background, I made it!
In these last 2 weeks, I’ve been zooming around the outerbelt here in Columbus, letting go of that fear every time I merge onto the interstate (also saving a lot of money on gas, to be honest).
Just like I talked about in my very first post on this blog, it’s good to celebrate the small victories. So I celebrate this small step. I celebrate that Christ continuously helps me break the chains of fear and anxiety in my heart. I celebrate that I am free indeed.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:36]