In the shadows

I’ve been thinking about my various darknesses and comparing them—sadness, anger, fear. You will soon know which one I hate the most. Sadness has lived in my heart for a long time; at last I am bringing him soup and making friends with him. Anger was sorrow’s familiar coverup, and one of the ways I stayed alive; I do not need him so much now. But fear is new.

Sadness lies abed of a morning with a question mark that sucks the meaning from the newborn day
And anger turns the viewpoint red, tips over tables, soils all the memories
But fear sits in the corners of the soul
and shivers.

Sadness weights the body, ages the skin, dims the seeing of the eyes
And anger sears inside, liquid fire that eats away at its own substance
But fear is naked
in the dark.

Sadness stretches into eternity, a hole in the heart to carry until death
And anger fixates on the past, obsessing, revenging
But fear steals both away and leaves
only the abyss.

Sadness calls effectively for help, for arms around the soul, for soup and flowers at the door
And anger shoves hard for space and power, autonomy
But fear peers, silent, from a fine looking body and cannot convince anyone
that there is aught amiss.

Sadness has tears
And anger has volume
But fear has
nothing to wield.

Sadness is a grown woman bereft, Rachel weeping for her children
And anger is a warrior, Goliath blustering on the field
But fear is a broken child, Mephibosheth splayed on the stone floor,
and who will take care
for him?

Sadness lies abed of a morning without answers for the question
And anger rages round the room overturning furniture
But fear sits frozen in the corners of the soul
and cannot even

When fear lives in my heart, I play him Scripture, and I share him with a mentor. What else? What do you do with yours?

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2 years ago

Ugh. Fear. I’ve tried to out think it and to think sensibly. Like using my brain to outsmart my brain.
But I wonder, what would happen if I turned my thoughts to worship God instead. Today I tried it. And it helped.
I have no answers. But I think many women face the enemy of fear. One day, we will be afraid no longer. And on that day, we will be satisfied in His likeness.

2 years ago

Creating music is a significant way I express myself in the dark [and delightful] moment. Thank you for sharing ????????

2 years ago

I pair courage as the counter for fear… “When I am afraid I will trust in You…” As fear becomes more familiar, we learn to meet it with courage. Which I see you doing. Often. And in this poem.

Liz Martin
2 years ago

For me the antidote for fear is love. Perfect love casts out fear. And the only perfect love is from God. When my soul lies shivering under the tyrannical reign of fear, a heartfelt prayer to feel The true love of God is always heard. Understood only fully in retrospect, perhaps. . .

2 years ago

I hate fear because it makes me feel out of control. So the best thing I can do is feed it scripture. That is when I make myself turn to it.

2 years ago

Our Abba Father has gifted you with the ability to write amazing word pictures! And that is a wonderful blessing for those who are visual learners! I thank God for you; He is using your pain and your abilities to reach into the hearts of wounded warriors!????

2 years ago

I know you want to hear about what to do when you fear. But let me suggest something NOT to do. Don’t let fear control you. Sometimes you may have to ‘do it afraid.’ As Theodore Roosevelt put it, courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you do not have the strength. And remember that God hath NOT given us the spirit of fear. Let’s conquer fear through faith, through Christ!

Shaunda Stoltzfus
2 years ago

No quick answers here. One thing I do know is that fear loses power over me when I am able to confess it to someone. Music also chases away fear. It’s hard for me to worship and hold fear at the same time.

Love you.

2 years ago

I echo this. Fear loses power when I name it to someone I trust. Since I have learned to recognize the physicality of fear, clenching inside my chest, I have also learned to ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” There most crippling fear is being afraid to admit our fear. (I feel like that phobia should have its own name 😉 )

2 years ago

I think fear and anxiety are closely linked to desire. Sometimes I am able to ask God for what I really want when I am afraid. Sometimes I just need to admit to Him how afraid I am, and receive His comfort, before I can even talk about what I need. I can’t really tell Him what I need when I don’t trust Him. Recently when I am afraid I’ve been asking Him what He is doing. And also choosing to live in hope and curiosity toward the future.

2 years ago

Oh fear. I never knew fear could leave me so helpless. Never knew how it would break places in my soul I hardly even fathomed were there. What helps?
Taking the pain to Jesus.
Talking to wise people about the fears.
Reading scripture.
Listening to choral music.
These things help, I have found no cure.

2 years ago

That was agonizingly beautiful. All points resonated deep into my heart. A heart that has been shattered but restored. God is faithful. Keep a solid grip on Him.
I stumbled onto your blog recently, thank you for your beautiful writings.

2 years ago

Fear. My fear sits at the edge of a huge black unknown inescapable future…. It is surrounded by sadness, the sadness from the despairing earthly pain and disappointments… And yes, the anger displays itself for the inconvenience the circumstances have dealt me….
I get it….
What helps?
The images of the childrens picture book in Pilgrims Progress, of walking towards the Celestial City.
The Hope in Jesus.

2 years ago

With a big thank you to authors Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Choosing Gratitude) and Ann Voskamp (A Thousand Gifts), I have found that my best antidote to overwhelming fear is gratitude. So, when those moments of panic and terror strike my soul and body, I run for my gratitude journal and start adding to my list. I haven’t reached 1,000 yet; but I am well on my way. And each time I am amazed all over again at how it calms my soul, refocuses my thoughts, and helps me to come out of the pit…almost as though God knows what He’s talking about when He says, “In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 😉

2 years ago

Hugs, friend! ????

[…] you for your responses to my question about fear. Here are the weapons we […]

2 years ago

Shari, thank you for putting the words the long battle of my life. I fight fear almost every day and I never knew how to put the battle into words because it is not a thing. This. “But fear peers, silent, from a fine looking body and cannot convince anyone
that there is aught amiss.” My fear so often feels like a selfish thing, representing something I want when I already have so much. Fear does not often paralyze me because I fight it, keep going. But it causes me to be less, give less than I could because when fear strikes I take a step only, the one thing I can force myself to do, at a time.

2 years ago

I look at my tiny girl now. She cries at strangers. She wants always to be in familiar arms. Loud noises and the big world scare her. And I think, this is me. You get this honestly. This is what I have had to step out from my entire life. And it takes tremendous effort. I am still really that tiny girl inside.

2 years ago

I take fear to Jesus, and read the verses against and about fear. And freeze inside. And beg for deliverance. And it goes away eventually, for a time. But it’s one of my biggest enemies. I know it well. Deliverance for me comes in knowing and trusting that God is Who He says He is, even if my and other people’s circumstances say He isn’t.

2 years ago

Fear is very familiar to me and even more so recently. What if I reach absolute rock bottom? But all these antidotes here are worthy of mention especially praise and worship, and quoting Bible verses. Surely the Lord’s hand is not slack that it cannot save. (Isaiah 59:1) very good poem!

1 year ago

I just came across this today, (several years after the post) and very randomly. I love the way you put words and names to your feelings, and the way you describe them. I think this naming of them helps us to deal with them. Fear for me these days is not the biggest enemy I battle, but it used to be back when I was a teenager and faced fears so deep it stole my peace and sleep. Worshipping God out loud, reading scriptures, praying and time finally helped me deal with it, but it took so much longer to overcome than I wanted to. Thanks for posting.

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