When Fear Stops Us

In distress, turn to the Lord. What feels impossible will become possible.

Posted in , Jan 27, 2016

What to do when fear and panic stop us.

“I can’t do this!” my daughter wailed, “I know it hurts you, Mom, but I really can’t!” 

The distress in Elizabeth’s voice made it clear that entering a residential program to recover from anorexia was torture. She was terrified of the task before her. It was visceral terror that ran to the core of her very, very small being.

“It seems impossible,” I replied, “But there’s a big difference between what we think we can do and what we actually can. And we’re going to cover that gap with prayer.”

I promptly emailed my team of prayer warriors, contacted my family, and posted to my Facebook page asking for help. Pray for my daughter, I wrote, that she be given the grace, courage and fortitude to do what she thinks she can’t.

I think “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27) is true on more than one level. There’s the obvious fact that God is more powerful than we are, which opens up all kinds of options. And then there’s the less-obvious truth that our fears sometimes prevent us from doing all that He made us capable of doing. Panic prevents us from seeing what we can do… and so we don’t do everything in our power. If we turn to the Lord in our distress, what feels impossible often becomes possible because He calms our hearts.

At the moment my 21-year old howls in anguish to the Lord, but the noise in her head is too loud to hear anything He might say in return. I wish I could do something magic wand-ish that would take away her pain, but that’s not on my list of choices. What I can do is stay calm, be empathetic and pray that God will help her do what she needs to do, even when she thinks it’s impossible.

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