The Truth about Fear [Identifying the ‘Mice’ in our Closets]

It was my day off from work and I was all set to have a productive day at home.
Laundry basket in arms,  I headed down our hallway towards the laundry room.

Thats when I heard it.
A rustling sound coming from my linen closet.
I nearly dropped the laundry basket full of clothes on the floor.

The evening before, our landlord had informed us that there were some mice found in the building and asked us to keep a look out for any more. This conversation came flooding back into my mind like a tidal wave and I froze.

You would have thought that I ran into a grizzly bear in my hallway with the way I put down the laundry basket and slowly backed away until I reached the safety of my kitchen table. I jumped atop of it to figure out a plan of action from a safe distance, all the while never taking my eyes off of the closet.

It’s not that mice are hideous, or dangerous, and I know that they are likely more afraid of me than I should be of them. But I can’t handle the way that they scurry and dart one way to the next. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.

The best plan that I could come up with was to roll up a towel and to block the crack at the bottom of the closet. If I could at least keep the mouse (or mice!) in one spot, then we might have a chance at catching them later. (And of course by “we”, I really mean Adam.) I executed my plan and darted back to my safe spot on the table, and proceeded to text my husband to let him know of the dire situation I found myself in. He matter of factly stated that he would not be coming home from work early to deal with my predicament. I was on my own.

So, I spent the rest of the day, doing what only made logical sense to me at the time.
I sat on my table.
And if I needed to move around my house, I brought a chair with me so that I would have a ‘safe place’ to get to if my towel plan didn’t work.
And I did this ALL day.
My hopes for a productive day were dashed, and my attention went continually to the closet.

As I look back on that day, I can’t help but think about fear and the posture that we allow ourselves to take when we yield to it. There are some things that we have legitimate reason to feel fear towards in our lives, but sometimes – we listen to the voice of fear when it holds very little merit at all and we live according to its whispers.

The worst … and most humbling ( & even slightly humorous)… part of that experience with my fear of mice that day?
There were no mice.
Let me say that again.
There were no. mice. at. all.
None. Nada. Zilch.

The rustling I heard was my powdered laundry detergent falling over and spilling down the wall, and my brain put together a story that kept me postured in fear for the next 8 hours. I must have looked ridiculous climbing upon chairs to get around my apartment, all the while my laundry basket sat in the middle of my hallway – still dirty.
And all because of fear.

I can’t help but wonder how often we live our lives in a way that is yielded to the fear of “what if?” We allow insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty to write stories in our minds and we live according to them. Consequently we live our lives postured in unreality and we forfeit living in the confidence, hope, and fruit-bearing destinies that God has for us. All because our FOCUS is diverted from the TRUTH of who God is, who we are in Him, and the purpose that He has for our everyday.

So friends, can you take a moment to be honest with yourself?

•Do you have any ‘mice’ in a closet of your life?
•Is there an area of fear/anxiety/insecurity that diverts your attention from the Truth of God and robs you of purpose and living fruitfully?
• Have you so yielded to fear that it has begun to control the way you live?

If you answered yes to any of these questions – please know that you are not alone.
I have too.
I have yielded to anxiety for a long time and it has wreaked havoc on my heart and mind, in relationships, and in my day-to-day life. But I believe with my whole heart that we don’t need to keep living this way.

Usually there is a progression with fear. It doesn’t gain control in our lives automatically. If we look back at our own journeys with fear,  we have generally made a progression of choices to yield to it. It is this progression of agreeing to it that has allowed it to have such a strong impact in our lives. But – the beauty of that – is that we can also choose NOT to yield to it anymore. The grip that fear has had on our hearts will loosen as we yield instead to the Truth of who God is, who we are in Him, and the purposes that He has for our lives.

I didn’t wake up that morning with a plan to ditch my laundry and sit on my kitchen table all day. It started with something I heard. And then a thought. And then a conclusion that I came to based on that thought. Then, that thought turned into an action and I made choices the rest of that day based on the previous action that I had taken.

Even for those of us whose fears were planted by trauma and pain, we don’t have to remain victims. Our painful experiences may have begun the domino effect of unhealthy thought patterns and choices – but we do not have to continue to yield to the fear that was planted within us during those times. We still get to choose.

Isaiah 61:1 tells us that Jesus came to dwell with us, to live, to die, and to be raised to life again so that He might:
“bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for those who are prisoners.”

And boy oh boy, it can feel like we are prisoners when we are living with fear in the drivers seat. But through Christ, walking in step with His Spirit, and journeying with others – we don’t have to live yielded to fear any longer.

Because the Truth about Fear? 
…The only power it has over us is the power that we allow it to have in us. 

So, what are the first steps to dealing with fear?
We need to identify what it is. 
Then we need to recognize the way that we yield to it in the way that we think and in the choices that we make.
Finally, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to help us recognize His Truth in relation to that fear, and to choose to yield to it – renewing the way we think (Romans 12:2) and choosing to live accordingly.

If it took time to learn to yield to fear and allow it to have a strong hold upon our hearts, it might take some time to learn to stop yielding to fear and to begin yielding to the Truth of God’s Word and to choose to live abided in His deep love for us.

But the journey is well worth the effort.
” For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”
{1 Timothy 1:7 ESV}

Walking with you,


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