“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I assured my five-year-old granddaughter, Destiny, in the lobby of the movie theatre.
I hugged her as she tearfully whimpered, “I’m too scared.”
For months we’d been dealing with this—her latest fear. She had leaned forward one day, and the automatic toilet flushed while she was still sitting on it. The memory of that haunted her–even in her dreams. Now she often refused to use public restrooms—she said “because of the sound,” but she did have a dream that I got sucked down the toilet. On this particular day she had run screaming out of the bathroom, overwhelmed by fear.
Even though she said, “I have to go so bad,” once again she waited until we got home.
Not long after, I attended a women’s Bible study. The leader challenged us to write down a fear coupled with a statement about God. At that moment I realized I was afraid Destiny might end up on a psychiatric ward. This wasn’t a new fear. I’d had it concerning myself and my two daughters. Now it was resurrected.
Hadn’t the doctor said Dessie could have anxiety issues due to being a preemie? She’d already been labeled ADD. Then there was our family’s mental health history, including my sister’s schizophrenia and suicide. Destiny’s father also battled mental health issues.
By this time Dessie’s toilet terror was diminishing. She was using public non-automatics on her own and at times automatic toilets if I held on to her while she peed and/or covered the electronic eye with a piece of paper. It had been awhile since she screamed in a public bathroom. But still fear for her future had grabbed hold of me.
So instead of, “I’m so afraid Destiny will become mentally ill,” I wrote, “If Destiny becomes mentally ill, God will be with me–with us–and He will help us deal with it, and even bring good out of it.” I felt the fear melting. And I remembered what Destiny had announced one day: “I will not let fear ruin my life.”
As I’ve been reflecting on letting go of fears, I recall that God tells me what I told Destiny: “There’s nothing to be afraid of” when it comes to my ongoing battle with fears.
This “nothing to fear” statement is found in Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified version of the Bible. There God says,
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear].”
I was shocked the first time I read that. Certainly there are legitimate adult fears—ones involving family, the future, finances. And what about all the dangers and evils in the world?
Next in this verse God gives a reason for me to let go of every fear:
“for I am with you.”
Believing God is always with me and letting go of fear go together.
Today as I think about the statement I wrote at the Bible study and fears that creep back into my mind on a regular basis, I hear God whisper, “There is nothing to fear.”
With His help I’m moving closer to believing that.