Saturday, October 1, 2011

Facing Your Fear

This past year, I have suffered from 5 bouts of the dreaded stomach flu. Yes, FIVE BOUTS! The first was at the end of February. I managed to contain it to just myself, with the help of my trusty jug of bleach. The other 4 times were all in the span of a month & a half.
What's significant about this, other than that is an INSANE number of times to get stomach flu, is that one of my BIGGEST fears was getting stomach flu. I was so bad, that if someone so much as even said the words, "stomach flu", I would suffer from an anxiety attack! Fear would grip me. It was horrible. I would go out in public, ever conscious of germs that are lurking on anything from shopping carts, to doors, toilets to taps. I was equipped with my trusty hand sanitizer at all times, which I later found out, does NOT kill the stomach flu virus (Norovirus). So then, I went out & bought hand wipes that included an ingredient that may have helped kill the virus. No matter, it was better than nothing! I kept my boy away from cootie-infested McDonald's play places & play groups (which I always avoided, anyhow), & spent much more time at home when I would hear of stomach flu running rampant.
If I suspected I or my child had been exposed to the stomach flu, I would be on edge for 2 whole days after, waiting to see if we had caught it or not. Then sweet relief would overtake me when I saw that we hadn't. Seemed, the only time I could relax, was when I was safe at home, having not been in any public place for at least 2 days!
Where did this fear began? I was living with my husband & child, in the "middle of nowhere", which is fairly accurate. Every direction you looked out of our windows were trees. You couldn't see the nearest neighbors, & there was no amenities within walking distance. Nothing but the wildlife & lots of bugs to keep you company. We were extremely isolated, getting out maybe once a week for church. I began to be tormented. Too much time on my hands, left to myself. Probably some loneliness I didn't recognize as such (since I enjoy being alone).
I had that H1N1 (AKA "Swine Flu") & I'd have rather taken a week of that, then a few hours of stomach flu!
Fear is a nasty thing. Stress comes with it. Sickness & fatigue follow.
I had a 6 day bug that I shared with my boy who, then had it for 5 days. It seemed an endless month & a half of washing barfy bedding, scrubbing the bathroom, floors & doorknobs with bleach & hardcore hand washing, as well as isolation. It just didn't want to leave my house. No sooner I'd recovered the first time (from the 6 day bug), 3 days later, it hit me again! 2 weeks later, it got me again. 3 weeks later, again. Fortunately, I didn't share it the last few times (again, thanks to bleach!).
There is a worldly saying that says to overcome our fears, we need to face them, & I totally believe it. That is taking nothing away from God's perfect love that casts out all fear, because, ultimately, that is the cure-all for fear, period. However, I believe the Lord allowed this sickness to hit me again, & again & again...& again....& again....until I'd faced my fear enough times, that I would no longer be in bondage to it. Not a fun lesson to learn, but I tend to learn things best, the hard way!
Am I still weary of stomach flu? Weary, yes, terrified, no. Of course I will take precautions not to catch it, but it's not the same gripping fear. I am more nonchalant about it. Kind of like, if I get it, I get it. Big whoop.
Fear is never truly rational if we know the Lord. Jesus said many times, "Fear not!" He wouldn't say it if we had cause to fear. Fear puts us into bondage, which is exactly what Satan wants. I felt in such terrible bondage to this irrational fear!
All things work for good....Yes, all those barfing at both ends fits served to glorify God! Now that fear is under control.
We all have fears/phobias. God can deliver us from ALL of our fears, just like it says in the Psalms (& David knew what he was talking about! What a life!). We just gotta let Him.


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  2. This bought back a memory from childhood ... I became obsessed with cleanliness and I would wash my hands red raw. I was a very insecure child, anxious and nervous ... worries overtook me and spoilt the joys that I should have been experiencing, being a child growing up in a country that is privileged and abundant in all things. When a child feels dirty it is often due to the things that are going around them - and the inability to be clean is a frightful experience for a child that knows no better.

    This is no way relates to your story as you had good grounds for feeling the way that you did, especially being a Mum!

    But (as you said) thanks be to God who sets us free from all our fears and phobias, today I can say that I am clean because of what He did for me!

  3. Amen brother!!! Thanks for sharing that!