I wrote this post a few years ago. This week, after sharing it with someone wrestling with fear, I decided to edit it, and share it afresh. I hope you will be encouraged.
I rode to the tenth floor. I smiled, as I relished the freedom and fantastic views I knew would come from my hotel room on a high floor. I unlocked the door and threw down my bags, then I pulled back the curtains and breathed in the beauty of the old church steeple towering above the tree-lined streets, silhouetted against the fall-colored hills. "Thank you Father," I whispered, "for helping me to overcome the fears that kept me on the ground floor for so many years."
FEAR, it was my constant companion from my earliest days. I remember running to my parents room night after night because of terrifying nightmares or climbing under my bed in the dark because of a frightening noise or peeking through tightly laced fingers during the scary part of a movie. Just like the Bible story of the young shepherd boy, David, and his enemy, Goliath, FEAR was my enemy---the Goliath I always contended with.
I thought fear was normal, something I just had to live with. Until, I surrendered my life to Jesus. Then I began to learn that God didn't want me to be afraid. Like David, the Lord began to show me a handful of "smooth stones" I could use to slay my Goliath of fear.
1) Don't Feed The Giant
My first memory, when I finally understood the grip fear had on my life, was at a horror movie. Until then, I loved to watch scary movies. But that night, it was all I could do not to run out of the building. I discovered I no longer had any desire to watch gore, blood, and terror. In that theater, I realized an ugly truth. When I watched those movies or read those kind of books, I was feeding the fear and giving it fuel to grow in my heart. In the story of David and Goliath, the boy took his sling shot and chose smooth stones to launch at the giant. The first smooth stone I learned to wield against my giant of fear was this, Don't Feed the Giant!
2) Hold on to God's Word
A dear friend soon taught me about the second smooth stone I needed as a part of my arsenal against my Goliath. It was a Bible verse she held on to after her baby boy died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She told me, "After my son died, I felt like I was going to go crazy." She said she walked around for months afterwards meditating on 2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. She attributed keeping her sanity to holding on to this simple, but powerful promise in God's word during that horrible time of grief in her life. So, I picked up my second smooth stone, and began to memorize God's promises as I fought the giant of fear that tried to overwhelm me.
3) Learn to Trust in the Lord Your God
I seemed to be gaining ground and finding victory over my Goliath, until our family moved to San Diego. Suddenly, I found myself alone in a new city with my husband and our four small children. My husband was gone long hours, as he worked during the day and attended law school at night.
My fears exploded! I was afraid of everything from the infamous California earthquakes to the imagined dangers and demons that haunted my thoughts each night. Daytime was easier because I kept busy with my children, errands and housework. But at night, when I finally climbed into bed, I was so exhausted I was even afraid to fall asleep, because I was sure I would die. And that triggered my biggest fear of all, my fear of death!
Night after night, I lie awake. Desperate for sleep, but wide awake with fears and wild imaginations. I could feel my body chemistry change. I now know, I was probably having panic attacks. But, I was determined to be strong. I never told anyone about the terror I suffered each night. No one, except for Jesus. Every night, I cried out to God. And during the long, hard season, I gathered one more smooth stone, the stone of learning to trust in the Lord my God.
Slowly, over days and weeks, as I lay awake at night battling my Goliath, I clung to the Bible verses in Psalm 91. I memorized and meditated upon God's powerful truths: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust...He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge...You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday…"
At first, the battle would last three or four hours until finally God's peace would come, and with it sleep. After several months, the power of God's truth began to replace the fear after only one or two hours. Then, one night, a couple years later, Goliath showed up taunting me with his lies. I felt the fear creeping in, so I quickly pulled out my smooth stone. Confidently, in faith believing, I proclaimed aloud, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
Immediately my giant fled, once and for all. Overwhelming peace came. And, I slept soundly from that night on. The Bible tells us, when David killed Goliath his confidence was not in his sling shot and smooth stones. It was not even in his own skill or ability. In I Samuel 17, David said, "You (Goliath) come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty...This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down...All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
Whenever I speak on fear, more than any other topic, women come to me afterwards to share that they too privately battle with fear. As I close, it is my pray that whether your Goliath is fear, or something else, God will show you the smooth stones you can use to slay your giant. And, I pray that above all you will grow, more and more, to trust in our faithful God, that you will cling to His precious promises and believe in His powerful truths to help give you the victory to slay any Goliath in your life!