Facing Down Fear

When my son volunteered to go back for a second tour of frontline battle in Iraq he requested that I not pray against him going.. it was hard for me not to pray that way. Over the next few months as he prepared to go back God did something in my heart.. he turned worry inside out in me.. I don't think that I ever worried after he touched my heart and gave me a peace knowing that Matt was right where he needed to be. Matt has been home for a month now (he gets out of the Army in April after four and a half years of service) and I recognize how much he has changed. He needed that second tour of battlefield duty to recover from his first tour. I think that God is amazing in the way that he uses a wounded man's courage to heal him when he returns to the battlefield and faces down his fear.

This speaks to me this morning about facing down my own fears. Using my son's experience I think that these are the factors in facing down fear:
  • Faith: The first step is to trust God as you choose to return to the battle. I remember my grief counselor saying that you need to step into your pain. The fear of pain is so real and it is so hard to take that first step of faith in overcoming that fear.
  • Endurance: The second part is to (excuse the verbiage) stay the course. Courage is often something that must arise in us every day. I hate this! I would rather face down fear once and then move on. It is just not the way it works. To overcome we often have to face down our fears every day.
  • Strength: There is a praise song that begins by saying "strength will come as we wait upon the Lord". With each day we can grow a bit stronger.. as we face down our fear it ceases to define us and control us. We grow stronger in grace and weaker in fear.
  • Victory: I really don't like this word but there does seem to be a time when we experience fear less and less until we realize that we aren't afraid. Sometimes this is an event but often it is a process.. sometimes we can face fear down in a day and sometimes it take much longer.

I stuttered as a child and it lasted into my early twenties. I was deathly afraid of public speaking. Oral book reports in high school mortified me.. I did everything I could to keep from speaking in front of a group. Then when I was 26 Christ came into my life. A year later.. in September 1977 in a crowd of about 700 people at a Charismatic church I spoke out an extemporaneous word of prophecy from the congregation. Over the next few months I did this on several occasions. Then one day I realized something.. I no longer stuttered! Since that time I went to Bible College and now speak publicly on a regular basis. Through the exercise of a spiritual gift God amazingly healed my stuttering as I faced down my fear of public speaking.

Not sure how to end this. I confess that I am still facing down fears that deal with Ann's health and our future.. to that end I solicit your prayers. Having said that I offer an invitation to you. Email me or post a comment here.. make it the first step in facing down your fear.. and you will have my support and the support of others who read this.. and may God grant each of the courage we need.

15 comments:

  1. Just reading a book about Viet Nam :( ... but basically stopped by to thank you for your prayers and words of encouragment.

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  2. KB, my nephew is in the middle of his third tour. He called me while he was on leave a few weeks ago--may I rise to courage every day.

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  3. I love that God can change our worry into faith. Bless you for seeking him first, Bob. And thanks for saying hi. I am doing well. :)

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  4. good stuff....meaningful good stuff. THANKS

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  5. I pray for Matt, still. I pray for you and for Ann. I understand what you face.

    It's often a battle to stay in the "now" instead of the "what might come."

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  6. I can say it no better than this:

    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

    Praying for you.

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  7. thank you... will have to bookmark this post.

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  8. Great witness.

    If God is for us, who can be against?

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  9. Bob:

    Thanks for participating in this week's edition of The Seventh Day, the blog carnival hosted each Sunday On the Horizon!

    What a great post! I agree with your assessment, esp. about endurance. It's fairly easy to do anything for the short term, but the distinction comes of course with the ability to sustain courage -- or any other attribute.

    The Seventh Day: Eighth Edition is now live, so I hope you will stop by & pay a visit to some of the other participants' sites. There were a number of fabulous posts contributed this week!

    Blessings to you,

    Hopeful Spirit
    On the Horizon

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  10. Hello. I 'm here via The Seventh Day, and I'm glad to be here. This is a wonderful post, the exact words I needed today. God bless.

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  11. Bob:

    My cousin Matt is a SSG in the
    101st Airborne in the Army. He is on his 3rd tour in Iraq right now and I am counting down the months til he comes home (hopefully in september of this year). I write to him quite a bit, handwritten and email. He knows that I love him more than anything right now.

    I am a good letter-writer to military guys. I come from a military family (mostly Marines, including my husband) and support our troops whole-heartedly.

    If you would like me to write to your son, I would be more than happy to. I know how they love to get mail. Let me know and I will send you my email address so you can send me his address.

    I will pray for him daily as I do for Matt. God bless both of our military boys.

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