“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
Fear can be a good thing. Fear keeps us aware of dangers – hidden and not so hidden. BUT, my Heavenly Father has commanded me to not be afraid.
Fear in a not good way has been part of my life for a very long time. As a young girl, nine or 10 years old, I was sexually abused. He was a teen boy who stayed with us for a week, maybe two. The perpetrator told me my parents knew. He told me they said ‘it’ was okay. He said I could tell, but wouldn’t matter because ‘it’ wasn’t a secret. He told me ‘it’ was a test to see if I could not tell. I believed him.
This is the earliest I remember fear in my life.
Ugly fear. Nightmare inducing fear.
I’d always been warned if someone said not to tell, I probably should. I thought only people who grabbed you off the sidewalk, or in a dark place you shouldn’t be, were who would do such a thing. I didn’t even know ‘it’ was sexual abuse until several years later. It was the summer I turned 17 when I was working at a Christian camp and another girl was telling her story. At that moment, I realized she was also telling my story.
By this time, much more fear & hurt had been introduced into my life, much of it from my own mind. Fear, guilt, shame, and paranoia were constant companions day in and day out. Fear of not doing well on tests. Guilt for the “not a secret” I was afraid to talk about. Paranoia of doing something wrong. Shame for all my feelings & failures.
Deep seeded lies had taken root and been blooming for years.
My Heavenly Father’s heart was hurt when I was abused. He did not hurt me. I was hurt by human hand. My Heavenly Father says to be strong and courageous. I’m just beginning to realize this doesn’t mean I won’t be afraid. I can be strong and courageous IN Him and still be afraid, but when I trust Him, I win over the fear. This is a new tactic – thought process – for me.