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The Color of Scared - Second of Three in Seeking Spiritual Freedom from Fear
Sunday, October 9, 2022 by Cindy Sproles

I’ve said before I despise Halloween. I’m sorry, parents. I know your kiddos are cute in their superhero costumes, but for every two cuties, there is that one dressed in black and sporting a white face and a sickle that I can’t get past.

I did my share of trick-or-treating as a child, but my costumes were always things like Bugs Bunny or Cinderella (I guess Mom thought since I was a Cindy, Cinderella seemed like an appropriate costume). It doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t enjoy the experience. My Mom and her friend would meet, and they’d walk Karen and me around the neighborhood – by the way – our neighborhood wasn’t long straight streets with houses close together. It was big hills and steep driveways. Did I mention the local cemetery backed up to our lower lot behind the house? Halloween just wasn’t fun for me.

There was one lady who actually worked with my Mom as one of our Girl Scout leaders. Mrs. Perry. We’d walk to her house, and she was sweet to invite us in for hot chocolate and popcorn balls. The thing was, Mrs. P recognized my fear, and in her sweet-natured way, she’d hug me and remind me I was safe. “Halloween is just a silly holiday that earns you free candy.” She’d giggle and then whisper in my ear. “I pray for safety over your evening.”

When you’re a kid, you don’t think about fear in terms of praying over it. But, Mrs. P. did pray over us, and though I didn’t understand, I did recognize that was a special thing.

Fear comes in various packages. Sometimes it’s the “horror” factor, other times, it’s the uncertainty of the moment or future, and sometimes it’s an unworthiness that creeps in to tear away our self-confidence and self-worth. The point is fear is a genuine thing.

When I look over those folks in the Bible, I wonder if they fought the same fears I do. Mary faced the possibility of being put to death as an unwed mother-to-be. Gideon stood staring down into a valley with an army taken down from thousands to 300 hundred. David stood at the feet of a giant with nothing more than a sling and a rock. He had to be afraid of what he was about to face.

When we began the cancer battle with my husband, fear lived as a lump in my throat. I had a hard time physically swallowing. When we know what we’re up against, we can better battle the fear. Cancer doesn’t afford us a fair picture of what we’re up against, and standing firm is hard because, despite the instruction, there’s no solid answer.

Through the years, I’ve fought my fearfulness in various ways. In my first marriage, my husband loved Halloween and he found great joy in doing things to scare me. For him, it was just fun and games, but for me, the small fears only grew into terror. Sadly, he was a minister who’d turned alcoholic (the alcoholism happened long before I entered the picture), but as we faced financial struggles as a young ministerial family of four, his inability to cope drove him deeper into the bottle until our time of separation. I was in Tennessee and he was in Illinois when the Illinois State Police called to inform me my husband had been in an accident and wrapped his new car around a tree on a country road. He had a few cuts and bruises, but because he was intoxicated, it probably saved his life as the car rolled and spun out of control. There it was – the reality of the fear.

 

When we face a decision that includes God, Henry Blackaby tells us, “it’s a crisis of belief.” My decision over the years has been to be “fearless” in my walk with Christ. Early on, I could hardly face a spiritual decision without the fear of disappointing God. What if I failed in the task He’d offered me? What if I didn’t do it well enough? All the what-ifs came to fruition. Do you see how fear over even insignificant things seep into our souls? Fear doesn’t always come in the shape of a Halloween mask.

Still in my prayers to be freed from this fear, God stepped in and shared with me how to be courageous. He understands I am very much an introvert. (I am!) But He also called me in the midst of being an introvert, to be a writer, and not only that –  but to be a conference teacher. Then to step into a position of leadership with our ladies' ministry at church. He even placed me as the director of a conference. Talk about fear.

Here is the thing about God. He works within us to accomplish His will – a good work. And He promises to complete it –even in our fear. I said yes to God. I’ll do what you lead me to do but…

His response, “Yes is all I need. The rest is my battle to fight.” And He does. God has shown me that I can step outside of being an introvert to pour into others the teaching and encouragement that is necessary.  My prayer before any conference class is twofold.

  1. That God would stop my knees from shaking. Clear my voice, and rear up the confidence I need to stand in front of folks and teach.
  2. That as I teach, I might be a glory to Him. Be in obedience to His will and be courageous in my representation of Him.

Every single time, God answers these prayers. He prepares me, stifles my fear, and reminds me to be of good courage, He will complete the good work He has begun in me,

In a crowd of people chatting, I am the listener. One-on-one, I seem to be able to carry on good conversation. Recently, I was in a meeting where every time I tried to interject a comment, someone would talk over me. I was shut down every time. For the larger part of the meeting, the passive-aggressive side of me would start to speak, then back off and surrender to silence. God knew I had a question that was important and He saw my fear. After a time, it was like He reached down from heaven, took my arm, and raised it in the air. I began to wildly wave my hand and interrupt. “May I please say something? I’ve tried multiple times and every time you folks shut me down. May I please speak?” The room quietened. I was given permission to speak. I asked the question that needed to be asked. Just like that, God said, I’m gonna help you out here. He equips us. He even physically boots us in the backside to get us moving. laugh

I still have things that I fear and God is gently walking me through those nutty things – things like Halloween and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. It doesn’t look like Halloween will vanish just for me. Some things we just learn to live with, right? But, what I am finding in this crisis of belief is that the Almighty Father is far greater than my fear. He is teaching me how to face them, push through, and come out on the other side, unscathed. Isn’t that something?

Spiritual freedom means a lot of different things, but for me – it’s pointing to a closer fear-free relationship with my God. Take time to face your fears. Reach out to the Master. It won’t be easy, but it will be right, and freeing in the long run.

Crash Image by Rico Löb from Pixabay 

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Comments

Jill Marie Thomas From Lewisburg, PA At 10/11/2022 5:34:27 PM

When I've sat under your teaching at recent conferences, you've been a real blessing to me and I'm sure to the Lord. Thank you for stepping around your fears and out of your introverted self to be being willing to do what He's called you to do. I get this. I'm the same.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Good company! Thank you.

Jane Duquette From Gulfport, FL At 10/10/2022 11:03:14 AM

One of my life verses is, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:7 It is in the context of not being afraid to share one's faith. Satan would love to frighten me silent. Get the behind me Satan.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Great promise. Thank you.

Shirley E. Leonard From Pennsylvania At 10/10/2022 5:57:25 AM

Wow, just wow, Cindy. And - thank you.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Awww thanks. I hope it is helpful. God works in special ways, it's just learning to say yes, whether it's a task or an inner thing.

Mountain Breeze Writer


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