Five of us women piled laughing into her great big sports utility vehicle. We had been in training together for four weeks, the latest of which brought us to the hustle and chaos of the city. We had taken turns driving each day to a different lunch destination, and as we pulled into the narrow space, I jokingly admitted that I would be afraid to drive such a massive car.
And then it happened.
The one in the front seat turned to me and said “you’ve got to stop saying you’re afraid.”
Ouch. Barely a month after meeting me, she speaks these words. And I wonder how many times a week — a day, even — I say that I am afraid. I know that I am an anxious person, but do I really let that anxiety overflow from my heart and through my lips often enough for her to pick up on it so quickly? I sit quiet though lunch, embarrassed and pondering.
I’m afraid of driving in Atlanta. I’m afraid of getting lost when I’m by myself. I’m afraid of not having enough money when the bills appear in the mailbox. I’m afraid of someone I love being sick or hurt. I’m afraid of big crowds. I’m afraid of the angry father whose son we put in foster care last month. I’m afraid of circumstances that are entirely beyond my realm of control. The list could go on for ages.
But the Holy Spirit speaks loud and clear: how many times a day do you say that you are loved?
The question brings me to my knees on the inside. How often do I remember that I am known and pursued by the Author of perfect love?
Do I remember that I’m loved in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic on Interstate 285, or when I take a wrong turn despite having my GPS on, or when the college loan payment is due, or when it comes time to schedule another meeting with the angry dad? No.
Claiming my fear has become like a mantra. Anxiety, the banner waving over me. My knee jerk reaction to situations of stress and angst has not been a positive response to the truth of the Gospel. Maybe you’re in the same boat? It is high time we choose a new refrain — something that is true, and faithful to the test of time, because He is true and faithful. Scripture assures that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Love never fails, because that’s who He is.
It is said that the words “do not be afraid” occur three hundred and sixty-five times throughout Scripture. They’re often followed by the promise that He is with us. He is our shield, our refuge, our help, our healer, our provider, our portion. He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ. He is just, He is patient, He is merciful, and He is Truth — the stability that this unsteady heart so desperately needs.
These are things my weary heart needs to hear. And it just goes to show how powerful our words are. If life and death are in the power of the tongue, I’ve been attempting suicide.
But the Surgeon is faithful to tenderly stitch my sliced soul back together again, and how He grieves the self-inflicted wounds — so painfully aware of the anguish His Son endured to heal me.
The Father delights in His children. If we tried to count the ways He is wooing us, we would never reach the end.
So I say I am loved, aloud to myself as I schedule meetings and visits between weeks of training that will inevitably exhaust and as I peer over the dash when my GPS announces it is rerouting me after that left instead of right.
And I feel alive.
Aliza Latta says
Erin – I love that. 365 do not be afraid’s, one for each day of the year. Shivers.
Right!? The Lord’s mercies are new every morning! Love you, sister!
Oh, you have described me so well. I too have a lot of anxieties. My fears keep me silent and uninvolved. I also refuse to drive in Atlanta. (I gladly pay for the gas if someone else will just drive!)
Thank you for the idea of a new mantra. I pray I can remember to say, “You are all I need. With Your strength I can do all things,” when in the midst feeling overwhelmed.
Oh, Kim. I absolutely know how fear can keep us silent and uninvolved. Love that mantra — He is all we need! Praying with you now!
Darlene Kimsey says
I love this new mantra. And I’m thankful for your new friend/co-worker who was bold enough to speak life to you.
Love that you stopped by, Darlene. You bless my heart.
Thank you. That hit the spot. God’s promises are just true. Period. That faith will drive out fear. You helped me set my mind straight today.
Thank you, fellow E! Perfect love casts out fear, and we are held by the Author and Perfecter of love!
Great words to read today. This:
“Claiming my fear has become like a mantra.” spoke to me deeply. I may not claim fear like you, but I do claim my recent heartbreak every day. Over the last few days, the Holy Spirit has really been dealing with me on this. Thanks for the encouragement.
You’re adored by the King, Melanie. I’m praying now for a mended heart. Bless you.
What I needed to hear as I start my day trying not to be overwhelmed.
I am loved. As Bonnie Gray says. Be loved.
I have a chose to walk in the fear, or let Christ show me how to walk in His perfect peace.
This is what I need to hear everyday! The Lord is so faithful to remind me. Walk in His perfect peace. Amen.
Beautifully said. The older I get, the more I see that FEAR is what keeps me…keeps most of us…from doing what God would have us do and being ALL that God would have us be. As moms, if we aren’t careful, we pass these fears onto our children. And none of us want that!
“Love never fails, because that’s who He is.”
Hey Erin, I love this so much. I don’t think I say the words “I’m afraid” very often, but I know I think them… a lot. And the Lord has been showing me to fight off fear. To claim his love. To trust His protection. And now you’ve given me something tangible to proclaim when tempted. Thank you, friend. This is beautiful.
Kristin at See the Shine Be the Shine says
Oh, I am right there with you… my heart needed this today…I am working on acceptance and releasing my fears and expectations to God. He tells us to not be afraid a bazillion times, yet, I have a fear habit and I need to allow His love to break it….. thank you for your words today♡
Paula McLane Jennings says
what an amazing thing to ponder – do not be afraid – 365 times? Once for each day of the year.
Would love to get my hands on all 365 verses that say “do not be afraid…” What a great way to start everyday.
Lisa E says
What a great post today. You spoke to my heart, I let fear keep me quiet. I worry about the bills, I worry about my husband with kidney failure. I worry about what others think of me, on and on. I love this new mantra!!
Erin – this is an awesome message!!! I did Beth Moore’s breaking free study last year, and this reminds me, that when we strip away the lies of Satan (the source of all the anxiety) we absolutely MUST paper up the TRUTH (that we are LOVED) or else we just let Satan come back in and redecorate our minds with the lies again. Thank you for this reminder to change my thoughts. Just what I needed today.
Hang in there girl… we are still IN PROGRESS and the Lord is helping us to figure it all out One Day At A Time. =)
Kelly Taveras says
Wow! a much needed read… Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for this reminder, Erin. I deal with a lot of fear, so it’s important for me to remember that Jesus is bigger than anything and everything.
Erin Salmon says
Bless you. Thank you. Praying that the Prince of Peace would continue to woo you.
Marisa Slusarcyk says
This was a great read! I am saddened a bit that the author bio says “Erin is an imperfect…” Why does this sadden me? Because we were all created in His likeness and by His hand, sure we are all sinners and we are not perfect the way our Saviour is but we are still perfect because God doesn’t create anything imperfect or halfheartedly. In the beginning, Genesis, the very first book of the Bible God created EVERYTHING that means you and me and generations to come and when He was done He didn’t say “it will do” or “good enough i am tired”! Rather, that Father God of ours He beamed down on us like a new mother who gazes at her newborn for hours and He said “It is GOOD” Good, Erin, you are GOOD because God said so! Please don’t set yourself to standards that humanity has placed live up to the standards of God and simply be “good”. I pray that through all the chaos and pain and life and all that gets in the way and brings us down that you Erin can remove the word “imperfect” from your resume and be the proud child of God, the proud wife, mother, sister, friend. You are good, straight from the mouth of God!
I too suffer from overwhelming anxieties. My personality, natural disposition and past trauma seem to make me more susepticle to fear. I fear that God will let me down and not bless me my loved ones deep down heart dreams. I heard the Lord say that a certain situation would all work out and it didn’t. I feel ashamed of my fears because God has been so so so faithful in many areas of my life and STILL I quake and tremble inside over these hopes and dreams not coming to pass. I know the enemy sees where I am weak and hits these tender spots over and over. Thank you for sharing so that I dont feel so alone and thank you for some tools to try to overcome my fears. I loved <3
Dawn Camp says
Erin! This is wonderful and now I’m even more thankful that you braved an hour and a half of Atlanta roads to come to my home for (in)RL.
It was SO worth it! 🙂
Thank you for your post. I am so near to wanting to die to be with The Lord. Mt heart is in tatters,& numb. My husband is a drinker,& he has continually blamed me for things when they go wrong. It is my fault & after over 30 yrs I have no hope. I have been called very name,& I live afraid of the next outburst, even though now they are sometimes weeks apart. They used to be every couple days. I have no self esteem & all I think of is how to do whatever I need to do so that I do t make him angry. I feel like a failure,& am wasting this life. I know god loves me, why I don’t know, but would give so much if I could be with Him. It hurts so much here. I’m sorry. I just had to tell someone. The. People at my church have heard this for yrs & I just feel like a burden to them. Could you maybe pray for me. I never get any responses in these. Thank you & may God bless you.
Christina, my heart is heavy for you. You have no reason to apologize. If you hear nothing else, hear this: you are not a burden. You are not a burden. I am so sorry that you have been made to feel like your load is too heavy for someone, anyone, else to come alongside you. I pray that you will find that love here at (in)courage, but more than that, I pray that you would feel the Father’s love. He loves you because He created you. You were designed before the foundation of the world to be a house for glory. You were fashioned with a story, and we need you here. Don’t give up. If you need someone to talk to, I would love to keep in touch.
“But the Surgeon is faithful to tenderly stitch my sliced soul back together again, and how He grieves the self-inflicted wounds — so painfully aware of the anguish His Son endured to heal me.”
My goodness, enough said. That’s beautiful and true and straight through the heart of the Gospel. Thank you, Erin.
Beth WIlliams says
I refuse to drive in any big city. Afraid I’d get run over, lost. etc. I have some anxieties–claustrophobia & don’t like elevators but I’ll take them if I must.
Love the fact of telling yourself God loves me not matter what! 365 times–one for each day of the year he tells me I am loved & his mercies are new each morning! I will stop being anxious and upset over stuff I can’t control and learn to let go and let God shine His Mercies over me!
Nicole M says
Erin, I, too, suffer from anxiety. Thank you for this beautiful post–I will work on saying to myself “I am loved” rather than “I am anxious.”
Many blessings to you and do not give up!
Katie Reid says
Wonderful (in)courage debut Erin!:) I thought the same thing as Aliza- one “do not be afraid” for each day of the year! It’s reassuring that He knew we’d need that many and would provide for us in that way. Thank you for your honesty and the exhortation to us and yourself to speak of and receive His love.:) Hope to see you over here again in the future!