A Crippling Fear
By Rosemary Flaaten -
Relaying my family’s medical history is like reciting a death wish – Heart Disease, Diabetes, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. But the one that fills my heart with the greatest fear is Alzheimer’s. My mom started showing signs of this mind-robbing disease in her early 50′s. That’s way too young to forget how to balance your checkbook or to pick up your daughter from piano lessons. As an adolescent, I experienced up close and personal the effects of this disease; not just on my mother, but on our whole family.
So as I approach this same time of life as my mother’s battle began, I am having to beat back the fear “what if early onset Alzheimer’s is my fate?” In my darker moments. I challenge myself to remember the billboard slogan I read five miles back on the freeway and I test myself to see if I can recite the names of all my neighbours. Focusing on the fear prompts me to exercise my brain, but it also cripples my soul. Fear has a shrivelling effect. My focus becomes narcissistic as I pull in to protect myself from the horrible future my mind exaggerates. Fear takes me out of the present and suspends me in a future that is warped with shadowy unknowns.
Enter God. “My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge” (Psalm 141:8). “Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land (Jeremiah 51:46). “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 1:21). There are close to one hundred commandments in God’s Word to not be afraid.
When I am trusting God to hold me in the palm of His hand and protect my future, my fear dissipates. Fear is the antithesis of trust. Trust and fear cannot coexist. When I feel the rising tide of anxiety, I must take heed and pursue greater faith. God knows and holds my future. He will never leave me now or in the future.
PRAYER: Father, protect my mind from fear of the future and instead replace it with trust in Your ever present faithfulness.
“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).