Name It But Don’t Claim It
“You’re the most scared person I’ve ever met. I don’t know how you even get out of bed in the morning.”
When my therapist Norm said that to me during a therapy group session, I was shocked at first. Then I began to resonate with the reality of what he was saying. I was wrecked, and I didn’t even know it. That was 1985.
I’m not talking about specific fears here, like fear of spiders or heights or water or clowns. I’m talking about that gut-wrenching, life-stealing, detour and downer named FEAR.
That’s the enemy I didn’t even know I was fighting.
That subversive fight took almost all the energy I had. I often found myself feeling weak, helpless, alone, and abandoned. But no one was allowed to see that. I designed my own mask and wore it almost all the time.
All the energy I put into masking my fear brought me to the end of myself in 1991. Wracked with depression, overflowing with emotional and physical pain, spiritually desolate. And yet, on the outside, I was still wearing the full-body mask. Believing no one had a clue.
But God knew all the time, of course. He knew my games and covers. And he began sending in the spiritual warriors. One was named Terri, and she taught me how to pray with faith. One was named Gene, and he became my husband. He shared the Gospel with me in a way that took a machete to my mask.
And at age 40, I began my real life. With Jesus.
Good thing. Because fear was lurking by the roadside of my life. Waiting to pounce at just the right point of weakness. The enemy was using his entire arsenal to resurrect my fear. Major surgery. Relocation from a city to a small town in Oklahoma. The bombing in Oklahoma City. Financial struggles. Bitter disagreements. Distance from my family. Tornadoes of 1999. My husband’s job termination. Relocation to an even smaller town. 9/11. My husband’s deteriorating health. My husband’s death. My mother’s death, just three months later. More financial struggles. My job loss. Two more job transitions. No church home for two years. Cancer. My father-in-law’s death. The struggles facing my kids by marriage. And those are just some of the attack points!
But guess what! I am clothed in the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)! God keeps me standing up when I want to fall down. Facing fear instead of hiding away. Confronting fear instead of cowering in the corner. Living in freedom. I am strong because God is strong within me!
Does this sound too good to be true? Too perfect? Good! Then you will search for yourself to see how this is possible. And my prayer is that this God, my God, will give you more ways than you can count to fight your fear.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2)
Laura Warfel is the founder of More Than a Widow.
The focus of this ministry is to provide encouragement, hope, and resources for widows so that no widow has to walk alone.
For 10 years after her husband’s death, she avoided and denied how God wanted to use her to care for other women whose husbands had died.
When she met Jon Acuff and joined a group called Dreamers and Builders in 2013, she finally faced her fears and accepted God’s assignment.
The connections she has made since then have blessed her beyond measure.