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Fear Loomed in the Dark

Does fear hold you in bondage? I remember the fear I felt as a new wife, mom, and woman who hoped for growth. I longed to “get it right” in my life.  

In the silence of my thoughts, I clung to fears like a baby clings to his mother.

Feelings of unrelenting fear paralyzed me because, as they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My parents divorced when I was a child, which engraved in my mind a failed marriage. Would I fail at motherhood? Sadly, fear kept me stuck in the behaviors I feared most. 

I branded myself with self-sabotage even though I didn’t realize it at the time because self-sabotage is a form of fear. Fear of growth. Assuming that a healthy, happy family wasn’t possible after growing up in a broken home, I often destroyed opportunities for growth because I didn’t believe change was possible.

In my fear, I set out to do everything perfectly, which is a grand sabotaging tool. I was determined to overhaul my marriage and family life or get healthy, but I quit a few weeks later.

I quit because my perfection and all-or-nothing thinking were not sustainable, realistic, or attainable. I’d crash to the ground like a boulder from the mountaintop. Sadly, I believed the fears that continuously lingered in my mind. “Change isn’t possible.” “I’m doomed to replay the same story I grew up with.” “I’m stuck and unable to escape the try-and-fail cycle.” 

Anne Wilson Schaef states it with absolute clarity, “Perfection is self-abuse of the highest order.” We don’t strive for perfection because we want to hurt ourselves. We strive because we’re afraid. Afraid to release our fears to God and let him control our lives. 

Fear is like a never-ending beating drum reminding us of our broken wounds, whispering that transformation is for everyone except us. Fear is like a broken record spinning with chaotic sounds in our heads. Fear is like a relentless dripping from a broken faucet.

When we fear our lives instead of embracing, trusting, and healing our past wounds, growth remains impossible because we can’t see beyond the lies we allow to linger in our minds.

Fear looms in the dark when we allow our past to control our future, creating sabotaging behaviors that stunt our growth. When we allow God into our lives, surrender our desire for change (he placed the desire on our hearts), and begin with tiny steps forward, we permit God to work in our lives. In daily tiny surrenders, we learn to show ourselves the same grace God shows us, take steps toward healing our broken wounds, and move forward in small ways every single day.

As you can imagine, I never figured out how to be the perfect wife or mom. I never

was meant to. Entrusting my life, marriage, children, and desires for growth isn’t about perfection. It’s about surrendering it all to God so he can guide my small steps forward. 

Fear once held me in bondage. Thankfully, when it comes knocking on the door, I quickly remember it’s a lie, whisper a prayer, and take a step forward. We release the grip of fear by acknowledging its presence and moving onward. 

In what ways are you releasing the bondage of fear in your life?

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23


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