We took a trip to Florida recently and I was amazed at how I felt as I boarded the plane. It was same as when I boarded the shuttle bus that would carry us from long-term parking to the terminal. I kept waiting for the fear to rise but it never did.
Not too long ago I was frozen on the ground. Merely observing a plane overhead caused me to panic. To actually fly made me physically ill and I’d obsess over the trip for months in advance. The night before a return trip home -just four years ago- saw me curled up on the bathroom floor, sobbing. It was irrational and I knew it, but the fear had me gripped in its claws.
It no longer controls me. I still don’t like flying. I don’t like how it makes me feel; I get the same feeling on an elevator and I don’t like that either, yet after years of giving into the fear I decided it needed to end.
I couldn’t allow fear -of any kind- to control me.
Fear is a trick of the enemy, used to keep us in place. I was allowing Satan to manipulate me which was a stumbling block in my relationship with the Lord. In order to move forward with Him, I needed to be free from the fear.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
I used the spiritual warfare tools I’ve taught about.
I tried deep breathing techniques.
I tried to think my way out of it.
I tried everything I knew to do on my own and nothing worked.
The fear thrived despite my efforts.
I needed to be healed.
My mind was bruised from years of being beaten by fear and it felt permanently crippled. I needed help. My own prayers weren’t enough.
There’s much to learn from humility. To opening up and allowing others to view our naked hearts. It equates us to one another. It strips away comparison and leaves us vulnerable.
James 5:16 tells us, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (NIV)
There are several things to note about this verse. For my situation, I needed healing from the sin I allowed into my life. I wasn’t physically ill with a cold or disease. I was spiritually and emotionally ill. Fear, in itself, isn’t a sin. Fear can be healthy and can keep us from bringing harm to ourselves. When we allow it to control us it becomes a sin. Anything that we allow to control us, and keep us from living the life God has for us, is a sin. This is why we are continually growing in our walk with the Lord and why we will never be able to attain perfection here on earth.
The second thing to note is that it says the prayer of a righteous man, this tells me I’m to be careful who I choose to confess to. I need to pick people who are as committed to serving the Lord as I am. I shouldn’t confess to the church gossip, someone I don’t know well, or to that person online who is asking for prayer requests. If I don’t know your walk then you aren’t going to know my confession. This may sound strange to you, but when I’m asking for prayer for healing from something that is sinful I don’t need busybodies or people who aren’t grounded in their faith to be the ones I’m opening up to. I need solid Christians with deep roots. People who will pray and believe with me without turning around and telling everyone what my prayer need was.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. I’ve seen this. I’ve seen the opposite of this too. I’ve seen people pray for things for years and never receive answers to their prayers because of their unwillingness to pursue righteousness. Our spiritual lives have a lot to do with answered prayers.
I knew I needed to confess this to someone I could trust would pray for me without offering suggestions. I’d tried them all, short of asking my doctor for something that would knock me out, and I didn’t want to go that route because that wouldn’t heal me, it would only bury the problem.
I decided to admit everything to a group of pastor’s wives in a private online group. As soon as I typed everything and clicked the submit button I knew this was the right thing to do. Soon I had replies from Godly women all over my state, offering prayers to the Lord on my behalf. I was filled with peace instantly. I was able to get to the airport with no fear.
In fact, I looked that plane in the face and said, “You will not control me,” as I boarded.
I learned that the fear was keeping me from so many experiences (the in-flight bathroom was not one to be overly thrilled about ha ha). I’ve always preferred a window seat because it’s fun to watch the terrain; following the rivers that wind is intriguing from the sky. At night, the lights from the city twinkle like a feuding neighborhood at Christmastime, and on my most recent flight I was delighted to spot Target from the sky (no one else seemed as excited as I was).
I’ve learned throughout life that the answers to everything are in the Bible. God’s word has proven itself true time and again. Whatever your mountain is, search the Bible, pray and ask God to reveal what steps need to be taken for you to live in freedom. Take the first step. She who is brave is free and the freedom is richer than the fear.
About the Author: Suzanne Schaffer
I enjoy simple things: the sound of the rain, the laughter of a child, a cup of tea. a good book I believe in Jesus and I want to shine for Him. I love to cook. Chocolate is a life essential. Fresh cut fries are my weakness. I love to make people laugh (even at my own expense). I work out almost everyday (but I don’t like it). I order the same thing when I go out to eat (grilled steak salad). I’m dying to get a tattoo (but I’m afraid it would split the church). I’m an introvert, a pastor’s wife, and I love to write. Read more from Suzanne on her website: Not Enough Chocolate