Casting Out All Fear

As a formerly dominant/controlling wife – I can tell you that I had one primary motivation for those 15 years of our marriage – FEAR.  BIG FEAR.

A GLIMPSE INSIDE MY SOUL BACK THEN

I was TERRIFIED about so many things all the time.  I was consumed with worry every day.  I was anxious.  I knew what I thought needed to happen for things to be “ok.”  I saw myself as sovereign – I had myself as trying to be in control of my life and everyone’s around me.  I felt all the weight of my family and marriage and the world on my shoulders.   I saw myself as HUGE spiritually.  I saw my husband as small and weak emotionally/spiritually.   I saw God as so tiny and impotent.  I felt overly responsible for myself and everyone else.  So I believed in my soul that if I didn’t make things happen “right” there was no one else who would ensure that everything worked out properly.  That’s a LOT of pressure.  Trying to control things that you actually can’t control creates an enormous amount of stress and anxiety.

What I was doing was committing idolatry.  I set myself up as god of my life.  It wasn’t a conscious thing.  But that was how I lived.  I had very little understanding of God’s sovereignty, His might, His greatness, His abilities, His being God – over MY life.  Not just that He was sovereign over countries and galaxies – but over MY life.  I would have said that I believed God was sovereign.  But that is not how I acted.  I acted as if it ALL depended on ME.  THAT IS SCARY!  And, of course, it’s impossible for me to control life.  Thankfully!  But trying to have control – it was all an illusion.  The more I tried to be in control, the less control I really had over others or even myself.

FEAR OF SO MANY THINGS

I was afraid of:

  • my husband dying before we could get married, my husband dying on our honeymoon, my husband dying any time!  That was definitely a daily big fear.
  • my husband not loving me anymore – another HUGE fear
  • horrible illnesses/health problems
  • me dying and leaving my children motherless
  • not being able to have children
  • my husband not wanting to have children
  • my children dying
  • miscarriages
  • money problems
  • retirement funding
  • where our country was headed, would there even BE a United States of America in a few years?
  • conflict at home, at work, with friends, with extended family
  • making mistakes
  • hurting/killing someone as a pharmacist or in a car accident
  • criminals
  • storms
  • doing something wrong as a mom to mess up my children
  • my husband’s sin and mistakes
  • not doing things just right
  • would my children accept Christ?
  • would my children end up ensnared in some horrible sinful addiction?
  • jeopardizing my children’s emotional/physical/spiritual health
  • and lots and lots of unending other things

I was ALWAYS running some problem/conflict/fear through my head all the time.  I couldn’t turn it off.  I WANTED to turn it off.  But it was like an audio tape that just played OVER and OVER and OVER.  It was overwhelming.  I didn’t know how else to be.

If my husband was 15 minutes late coming home from work – I would be completely paralyzed with fear that he was dead in a wreck somewhere.  I would play worst case scenarios through my head constantly.  It was depressing!  And I would think, “NO!  Don’t let THAT happen!  My world would fall apart!  It would NOT be ok!  PLEASE, GOD!  Keep him alive!”

All that worry – and almost always for nothing.

My worry  and attempts to control things showed how little I trusted God, and how much I was trying to trust myself instead.

“JUST DON’T WORRY!”

People would say that to me – and I would just look at them blankly because I had no idea how not to worry.  It sounded like a wonderful concept.  I longed to be able to stop worrying.  I was insanely jealous of my husband’s ability to be calm and at peace and not worry.  But I had some deeply rooted idols in my heart.  So it wasn’t as easy as “just stop worrying.”  I had to identify:

  • the extreme amount of pride in my heart – that I actually believed I knew better than God and that I thought I was sovereign over my life, not Him.
  • the idols of trying to be in control of myself and everyone else and God
  • the reality that trying to have control was an illusion and that I didn’t really have control.
  • that God was big enough to lead me through my sinful husband.
  • that if God really wanted me to do something, He would get me the message somehow – and it would probably come through my husband.  I wasn’t going to miss out on God’s will for me if I was submitting to my husband.
  • that if my husband did make me sit and wait for weeks, months or years and didn’t lead me somewhere at 60 mph constantly – it would be ok.  I can trust God to lead me and waiting is ok.  That was HUGE!  I HATED waiting. I was VERY, VERY IMPATIENT.  I was always running ahead, trying to pull God and my husband along.  That didn’t work well.
  • that God was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH bigger than I had understood before.  And that He is truly all-powerful, sovereign, mighty, and all-knowing even in my personal life and marriage, even over my husband, even over my children.
  • how VAST God’s love for me is.

I HAD TO WORK THROUGH MY DEEPEST FEARS

I had to hash out all of this stuff with God and scripture.  It took time.  It was hard.  It was humbling.  It was painful.  It was terrifying at first.  I began to obey God even when I was afraid.  At first, trying to follow my husband and not be in control felt like I was flinging myself off of a cliff.

But then… everything was ok.  Hmm.  That was surprising!  The more I practiced respecting my husband and allowing him to be in charge – I began to experience deep, supernatural peace every day.  WOW!  That had NEVER happened to me before!  What an incredible blessing!  Why on earth did I live the way I did before?  How could I have been so blind?

So I worked through all my deepest fears.  And I came to the place where I could actually say, Your will, not mine, be done, Lord!”  I had to come to that place of submission to God BEFORE I was really able to submit to my husband.  I had to understand that I was cooperating with my husband’s leadership out of obedience and reverence for Christ – not ultimately out of respect for my husband.  The KEY was my relationship and trust and faith in Christ.  I learned to ultimately trust HIM – THEN I was able to trust Him to work through my man.  I had to learn in that order.

I even got to the place where I could say, “I want Your whole, total, full will for me, my husband, our marriage, our children and our lives – whatever that is.  I hold nothing back from You.  I trust You with EVERYTHING.  I don’t want to miss one thing You desire to give me or do through me!”

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear. because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  I John 4:16-18

I eventually was able to say to God:

  • You know when my husband and my children will die and how.  You have that in Your loving hands.  Thank You for the incredible gift of their presence in my life so far and for the priceless gift of today.  You know so much better than I do what is best and how to bring the greatest glory for Yourself in my life and my family’s life.  I trust You with this.  If and when it happens, I know You will be here with me to take care of me, love me, strengthen me and provide for me.
  • You know when I will die – and I trust You to know best and to handle that and be with me every step of the way.  Teach me to number my days and see each precious moment as a gift to share with those I love today!
  • If I lose my job or my husband loses his job – I trust You to provide for us and work things out.
  • If our country comes under Your wrath and collapses – I trust You to provide for us and our children and seek Your greatest glory.
  • If I get cancer or some awful disease – I trust You to use it for my good and Your glory and to draw people to You.
  • I trust my children to You, Lord!  If I die when they are young, I trust You to take care of them and provide for them.  I trust You to lead them to Your heart.
  • If our house burns down – I trust You to use that to accomplish Your purposes.
  • If there is an awful disaster – I trust You to use it for good.
  • This works on the little things, too.  If I know God is sovereignly orchestrating my life, I can trust that He will bring good even from little inconveniences and annoyances and when my plans don’t work out just right.  I trust that He is protecting me from harm, or lining up a divine appointment for me to meet with someone unbeknownst to me.  So I look forward to each moment and hour with anticipation, looking for all that God is doing around me and in me.

I haven’t been severely tested with these things yet – just a few minor tests here and there.  I don’t ask God to send me death, disease and destruction.  But  I know that I will be tested in my faith during my lifetime – maybe today – and that’s ok.   What I am going to share with you may seem impossible to believe.  But I am at peace about all of the things that used to paralyze me with fear.  I know and have tasted the goodness of God’s love.  His Spirit is filling me every day.  His peace floods my soul.  I know I am His.  I feast on His Word every day.  As long as He is with me, the darkest valley is full of light.  My heart is full of praises for Him.  This life is an adventure and He is directing my steps.  I trust Him - even if it means suffering, even if it means pain, even if it means death.  I am at peace with the unknown because I know that my Lord is going before me and will work all things for my good because I love Him.  I see how much greater His wisdom is than mine.  I don’t want my own way anymore.  My own way leads to destruction.  I want God’s narrow way that leads to abundant life.

Now, I truly do have a gentle and quiet (calm, still) spirit that is of great worth in God’s sight and I do not give way to fear.  That is all God’s doing.  And it really is such a beautiful thing!  How I thank and praise Him in amazement at all He has done and is doing in me.  And how I pray that you might also be able to experience His incredible peace, joy, purpose and power in your life, too!

TO THE HUSBANDS OF FEARFUL/CONTROLLING/DISRESPECTFUL WIVES

I know you are hurting because of your wife’s controlling actions, and the way she doesn’t seem to trust you and treat you like the competent, intelligent, capable, loving man that you are.  There is probably a LOT more going on in her heart than you realize.  She is hurting, too.  She needs to know perfect love.  If you can begin to show her the perfect love of Christ – if she can count on your love, even when she is unlovable, she may begin to see God’s enormous love through you.  Perfect love drives out all fear.  God can use you, godly husband, to break through your wife’s terror and to show her that she can trust you and she can trust God.  She can let go of the fear.

Lord,

I pray that we might know Your love more and more.  I pray that You might help us to see our idols and tear them down and uproot them.  I pray that we might set You firmly on the throne of our hearts as God.  I pray that Your perfect love might cast out all fear, and that we might delight in You and seek Your will above our own with great joy and anticipation of all that You are planning to do in our lives!

In Christ’s Mighty Name,

Amen!

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13 Comments on “Casting Out All Fear”

  1. learning1
    June 30, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you so much for this post and site. I have been so strongly encouraged through you. This post describes the exact place I am right now – the timing is God-sent. :) I never realized just how much room self had taken up in my heart. Living without focusing on self or fears or pride is all new territory. (And I thought I had a godly focus before!) I have been hearing this same message about trust (which is HUGE in making any of this work) and not worry. Thank you again!

    • peacefulwife
      June 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Learning1,
      I thought I was a very godly wife before all of this radical transformation. But I was missing all of the most important stuff! I was missing God’s power, His peace and I was not trusting Him, but trusting myself. I pray that you might be greatly encouraged and that your faith might grow by leaps and bounds and that you might have the beauty of a gentle, quiet spirit that does not give way to fear and is of such great worth in God’s sight!
      I hope to hear from you again soon! Looking forward to sharing this journey with you. I can’t wait to hear all that God will do in your life!

      • Gina
        August 8, 2012 at 3:28 am #

        This blog has already helped me so much. I have been married for one year and this particular post might as well have been written about me. Although I will continually profess that God is sovereign, I am paralyzed by fear and my illusion of control- with my husband, my family, my life in general. I feel so burdened by it and am excited to let go of this huge burden…but also so scared.

        Thank you so much for sharing and giving me hope that God can work in us in spite of us.

        • peacefulwife
          August 8, 2012 at 9:29 am #

          Gina,

          You are very welcome! I pray that you will figure this out MUCH sooner than I did! I don’t want to see you continue in all that fear and anxiety and trying to control for 15 years like I did.

          You are always welcome to contact me if you have questions, concerns, prayer needs or difficult feelings to process. I will do everything I can to point you to Christ, His Word and His power – as well as obedience to God. May God richly bless your marriage! I am SO excited for you!!!!

  2. Nina
    June 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi April, so this is sooo me. I am very controlling and want to control every aspect of my relationship but as I have been in deep prayer with the Lord he has shown me that I do not trust relationships being that every relationship Every person that has been in my life and come into my life from a young age has hurt me. And so he let me know that I have not trusted him with my life because I have a fear of him hurting me. And that goes to show the relationship I have with my husband. I just cant trust him. He has never done anything to make me not trust him. I just feel like im going to get hurt. And so with my relationship with Christ is I do not trust him either. Every time I am faced with fear I handle things the way i have handled them all my life. And inside I feel like I can take care of whats going on because I have taken care of myself all my life. I just realized that I keep people at a distance including my kids. I dont not have the relationship I would love to have with them and my husband out of fear of getting hurt. Like I dont let anyone come to close to my heart. The one that has come close is my husband and It scares me. In relationships i have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, Death, domestic violence and the loss of my children.. my mother took them from me because I was on drugs bad so she raised them I just got them back when I got married. They are 14 and 11 and I got married 4 yrs ago. Does this make sense to you? To me this all plays in to why I am controlling I didnt have control of my life when I was getting hurt as a child physically by my mother and sexually by my cousin so today no matter what it is I have to say how things should be. And I realize thats not good. I cant tell you how much your blogs are helping me and for the first time I feel so broken inside like something is dying inside of me. I feel like I am cut wide open and for the first time in my 5 years of walking with the Lord something is taking place I cant explain it. I feel like all I want is Jesus I want him to mold me break me. I have been so consumed with what I want and how I want my husband to be and thinking that I was at a good place with God when I am a woman full of fear, pride, jealousy, control and I want change!!!! I wish I could say more but there will not be room. I dont want my husband to meet my needs today I want Jesus too and that is a big one for me because I have felt like that has been my husbands job since we got married. I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg but Jesus have your way in me Let your will be done in my life and not mine. I feel like he has let me go as far as I could go and it got to a place last week where He showed me that my ways are not working my ways are getting me know where I want a relationship a true relationship with Jesus and I pray that I get one! Thank you

    • peacefulwife
      June 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      Nina,
      Precious sister in Christ!!!! How I wish I could hug your neck and cry with you and pray with you! You know what – you have plenty of reasons in your past that explain why you learned as a child that you needed to control things and try to protect yourself. Some of my controlling behavior is from some weird conclusions I made when I was 5 years old. A child sees themselves as the center of the whole universe, and sometimes we get these childish explanations and ideas stuck in our heads and that is how we continue to cope and handle things.

      I haven’t been through the incredible amount of trama, abuse and damaging relationships and problems you have been through. How my heart breaks for you just hearing about the pain you have endured. It is totally understandable why you have been so afraid because of what you have experienced. But now it is time to find healing in Christ and die to that old life, your old self and be reborn to soar on eagles wings in His power. Your old self is dying. Your old ways of looking at life are dying. It’s part of being buried with Christ and then you will be raised to new life with Him. He is renewing your mind, your soul and your heart. I do think that having a godly, older mentor there in your church may be extremely helpful for you, or having a godly female counselor to help you with the abuse you have been through – you are going to have a lot to process and a LOT to dig up and shovel out and then you will be rebuilding everything from scratch on the solid foundation of Christ alone.

      I had always controlled things, too – or tried to – since I was 5. I pushed my twin sister down the stairs when she asked me to buckle her sandals before church one morning. I told her to buckle her own sandals. She kept begging me and bugging me and I pushed her away – but didn’t notice we were at the top of the stairs. She fell backwards down the stairs and i ran to my closet. My Dad gave me a huge spanking, which I deserved, and told me I should have checked on my sister or she could have died. He was absolutely right in what he did. But I internalized that if I said no to someone’s request of me, they might die. So I had to say yes to anyone asking me to do anything. THat is not what my Daddy was trying to teach me, but I learned I was VERY POWERFUL and that people’s lives were in my hands. And when my mother would be afraid of my little brother yelling at her, she seemed so weak, that I felt I had to take over and be the parent. So I didn’t trust my parents to take care of things. They seemed weak. Looked like I needed to be in charge. And I lived that way all of my life. It is PAINFUL to unpack all the emotions, feelings, scars and wounds from the past. You may need someone to help you with your burdens because they are HEAVY.

      Like Laura Doyle in “The Surrendered Wife” – I had to learn to find my “trust muscles.” I had never really used them before. I didn’t even know where they were at first or how to work them. It took practice. It was scary. But I learned that I could trust GOd first. And then as I realized how huge and loving and trustworthy He was, I was able to trust Him to lead me through my husband.

      It sounds to me like you are in the perfect place – where God can do surgery to remove all the decaying, rotting, gangrene infested parts of your soul – where His gloriously brilliant light can expose all the sin and corruption in you and He can remove it. It’s overwhelming and scary. But when you see Who has you and how trustworthy our God is, you can rest, knowing He is doing a life-saving surgery and that you will be healthy and whole after He is done!

      I am SOOOOOOOO proud of you for being on this journey! I am SOOOOOOO proud of you for doing the hard work and digging up all of the idols and the unhealthy and false beliefs you’ve been living with for all these years. I am so proud of you for seeing that your husband can’t meet your needs ultimately – only Christ can. You are doing GREAT! God is working in you and He has miracles going on in your soul. I am so glad you are willing to embrace what He wants to do and give up the old, broken, dead parts of you and allow Him to replace all of that yuckiness with real life and real treasures of heaven!

      You take up all the space you want!
      When you are to the place you are willing to be broken before God – that is a GOOD thing!

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT – THIS IS NOT EASY AT FIRST!!!!!! It is extremely radical to uproot your old wrong beliefs and to confront the mountains of sin in your soul. It was for me! This is not just a self-help book or you putting perfume on your leg that is rotting with gangrene. This is amputating the dead things, and allowing God to remove anything He wants to and allowing Him to replace it all with things from His heart.

      IT IS NOT EASY! I am with you! I completely agree! It feels hard and awkward and foreign. But as you have more time and practice and begin being able to hear God’s Spirit speak to your heart – He will give you the power and strength and wisdom to do this. And it will be AMAZING!

      Keep up the great work, girl! You get an A+ this week!!!!!!

      • Nina
        June 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

        Hi April, thank you for responding. Yes I have already been in abuse counseling for 2 years and that was like 2 times a week and I went to a Anger workshop in that counseling and I have a Mentor, a sponsor and older women at the church I do talk to. But I had never touched on this wife subject lol. Its always been abuse abuse abuse. So I gotta say although this is scary i feel quite excited to start working on me with God. I have been able to get alot of the hurt out and from my past its just the behaviors that have stayed there. Its like I know the word of God says to put to death all of that stuff I just didnt feel secure in doing that and now I know I am at a place where I want that. So thank you for listening once again and another thing have you ever done topics on Jealousy?

        • peacefulwife
          June 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

          Nina,
          Yes – it is SCARY at first. But I HAD to get through all of this deep foundational stuff in my own soul in order for me to be able to trust God so that I could obey Him. I had to know who God was and have a heart level of trust, not just head knowledge like before. I had to uproot and dig out so much sin and wrong beliefs – and then lay a new, clean, beautiful, solid foundation on Christ alone and His Word. I decided that if the Bible said it – I am going to obey. Even if I don’t like it, even if I don’t understand it. And becoming a slave to Christ has opened up a world of freedom, joy and peace that I never knew before! I LOVE living with Christ as LORD of my life.

          Hmm… jealousy. That is a great topic. I haven’t covered that one yet. Is there anything specific you’d like me to address? Like a wife being jealous, or handling a jealous husband?

          I am SO HAPPY AND EXCITED FOR YOU!
          Thank you for sharing your heart and story!

          • Nina
            July 1, 2012 at 1:58 am #

            Ok April thats exactly where I feel like I am at I want to know god and trust him and not just head knowledge thats right I dont want that anymore I want to do what his word says even if I ABSOLUTELY DONT LIKE IT wow. Love it love it….You Are Awesome thank you so much for everything you have to offer women like me :) And as for the topic on jealousy it would be a wife being jealous. I have had struggles big time with that one. Of everything and everyone.

            • peacefulwife
              July 1, 2012 at 7:07 am #

              Nina,
              You are in a very beautiful place right now, my dear sister in Christ!
              I pray that God might be greatly glorified in all that I write. And I praise Him that He can use me somehow in spite of all of my sin!

              Ok, I will get to work on a post about jealousy – in the next week or so!

              Thanks, Nina!

  3. Nina
    June 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Oh yea and I am still implimenting compliments but its hard and I am asking God to tame my tongue. I have had lots and lots of things to say but I have been going to God. This is going to be one heck of a journey but I am ready. Even if it means God has to break me completely. I have apologized to my husband the minute I start taking control of things and for my tone and attitude but April I gotta say it again IT IS NOT EASY

  4. Santosha
    July 1, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I LOVE this post. Wow. I know that I do not yet feel convicted in my idolatry of myself and my own control, but I feel like there are cracks being formed. I will read this post over and over again. I especially heard God speaking to me when you said you were afraid of dying before you got married, dying as a newlywed, not being able to get pregnant, hurting someone as you work (i am a nurse)… God is certainly speaking to me through you. Thank you.

    • peacefulwife
      July 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Santosha,
      I didn’t see my own idolatry for a LONG, LONG time. The tip off was the lack of the fruit of the Spirit in my life. The fact that I was anxious, worried and controlling meant something was wrong – but I always used to think it was because my husband wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do. And if he’d do what I said, then I’d be better. Nope! It took some SERIOUSLY deep soul-searching… down to the very foundations of my faith. I had to tear out much of what I built my spiritual life on and rebuild on Christ and His Word alone. Pretty radical stuff! I’m glad God is speaking to you. It’s VERY exciting to be in His will and do things His way in His power. I am looking forward to seeing what He has planned for you and your husband!

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