A couple of months ago a friend of mine asked if I would write up something for her to share on her blog about my fears. She had asked several of us to do this, and her point was to show her readers (which she has a bazillion of) that even those that are in the spotlight (my light is mini compared to the others she had participate in this *fun* activity) struggle with fears. We all do. Fears are something that can be outward in our lives, but they can also fester deep inside of us that unless we told someone no one would ever know.
I thought about this for about 2.5 seconds before I knew what my fear would be. I wrote it all out, and had Aaron read it because it’s so personal and he’s a good indicator if I should or should not put something online (do you have someone that does that for you … if not, get one immediately!) and then I sent it off to Glennon. That was a few months ago, and honestly I had kinda forgotten about it. Then her series popped up and there were my friends all sharing their fears. Honestly I hoped that she had never gotten my email, or had lost it, or decided not to post it. Then Saturday my fear essay was on her blog and I felt as though I had showed up naked to a party because of how personal it was to read my words.
I won’t rehash what I wrote, but basically one of my greatest fears in life is that my husband will cheat on me, or leave me for someone else. If you knew my husband you would laugh this off and tell me that I was being stupid. But to me it’s so real. I’m 100 times better about this than I was when we first got married. I know this fear, and I acknowledge it, and I fight it a lot. Most days this fear lays dormant in my heart and soul, and then something happens to someone I know and love and it begins to rage inside of me. All of those fears come rushing back in to my mind and I think “I’m next, I just know it”.
Here’s what I do about this fear.
#1 I tell my close friends about it and they hold me accountable to it. What they don’t say is this “Jamie, you know he’s not going to, so stop worrying about it.” Nope not at all. My close friends that love me and love the gospel tell me this “Jamie you have to trust in God more than you trust in Aaron. He might. And if he does you will be okay and so will Aaron. God will sustain you. God will comfort you. Jesus is better than Aaron.” That’s what they say. They tell me the gospel. That we all mess up, but Jesus is better. Hopefully by God’s grace this won’t be a path I walk on, but if it is, God will not have left me nor forgotten me during it.
#2 There have been many real-life circumstances that have bred some of these fears in my life. Good friends and family have found themselves in the scenario I fear the most. And although I may try to justify my fears based on their experiences, my fear is not their fault. Their experiences can’t be blamed for my sinful fears. I must own my fears, not place the blame on anyone else, and instead trust the sufficient grace of God. I’m learning the older that I get that life circumstances can bring us closer to God than had we not been through them. In my darkest days I have needed Jesus more than in the days when everything seemed okay. 2 Corinthians says this, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Me fear and my weakness only brings me closer to the Father, because his grace is sufficient for all my fears.
#3 I ask God to take it away and for me to trust in him. I don’t want to live in fear and honestly most days I don’t. I don’t want to be anxious and honestly most days I’m not. But when I am, I take this to God and ask him to comfort me and guide me. One of my favorite verses in the bible says this, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Y’all I get goose bumps each time I read that ….. pray to God – don’t be anxious – AND HIS PEACE WHICH IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. I love that part. That’s what we need friends when we are anxious and fearful. We need God’s peace that doesn’t even really make sense to guard our hearts and minds.
If this is something that you deal with as well, I’d love to hear how you deal with it. What do you pray? What do your friends tell you? As soon as my post went up on Saturday I got a text from a dear friend of mine who has actually walked down this road. There has been cheating in her marriage. They have been through the darkest days a marriage can go through and they survived. They are on the other side and their marriage is healthy and thriving. She encouraged me so much in her text that I talked her into writing something to you guys to encourage you as well if this is a fear of yours, or your reality right now. Tomorrow I’ll let her share with you.
Jamie- Thank you so very much for being honest about this. I struggle with this too, and work every day to turn my anxieties and fear over to God and know and trust that He is bigger and better and holds more love and grace than either myself or my husband. I have to know this and believe it with everything in my soul- and I am getting there, only through Him and because of Him…
Summer thanks for sharing. It’s so hard I know it. I also know that through is word we can have strength and power. Praying that for both of us!
Thank you for sharing how you handle this fear. Scripture is so powerful.
I read your post on Glennon’s blog & while I like the idea of voicing our fears and being honest about them, I really appreciate this gospel-centered approach to living in freedom because of who we are in Christ and what his promises are to us as his children. Thanks for sharing this! Unfortunately I have struggled with this same fear. My dad was unfaithful to my mom, and they divorced when I was almost 16. In 2005 & 2006 I went through the darkest moments of my life because I lived in fear that my marriage would have the same ending as my parents’ marriage. My husband was on staff at a thriving church, and I was afraid to be vulnerable about how much I was struggling. We barely made it through those years (thanks to an incredible counselor and the sweet, redemptive healing God did in my heart). I can honestly look back and be thankful for those awful years now because they led me into a deeper relationship with Jesus, and I’m a different person because of them. Thanks again for sharing both the original post and this one, too! I think you & Aaron are amazing together, and I pray that God continues to bless your family with grace and abundant joy!
Katie thanks so much for reading this follow up to that post. Voicing my fears is always good for me. It keeps me accountable and helps others know we’re not alone. I also like to always remember who my advocate is (jesus) and how is helping me through my hard times, fears and all that other yucky stuff that we go through or hold in our hearts.
Thanks for sharing your story. I KNOW those feelings so well, and can tell you that Jesus is a great healer and when we give him our pain he can take it and give us joy. He promises us that much. Thanks for sharing!
I too struggle with the fear that my husband will cheat on me or leave me. My childhood was all about loss and because he’s the very best thing I have, I fear I will lose him too. I think I also struggle with this because he has a big time important job and I “just” stay home with the kids. I fear that I won’t be interesting to him or attractive to him because there are better things right in front of him. Thankfully, God has been so kind to me in this. I work hard to trust my husband and to trust Jesus no matter what, knowing that Jesus is enough. I also am comforted to know that when my husband married me he made a serious promise to me AND to God, that he would be faithful. One thing I have found in all of this is that the less I talk about it with my husband (while still talking with close friends about it) the less I think about it. Thanks for sharing Jamie, it’s good to know I’m not alone.
Love the part about owning our fears. It is easy with fear or with any sin to put the blame on someone else or on our circumstances when the real problem is our own hearts.