“My shoe touched a poison mushroom and my hand touched my shoe and I put my finger in my mouth.” Her eyes are pinched. Her face pale. She sucks on a strand of hair. This is the gazillionth health crisis fear I’ve heard today. It joins a whole heap of “my stomach hurts – I have a bump on my ankle – the back of my knee is sore – there’s a mark on the bottom of my foot – my tooth moved – I think I have to throw up.”
Her fear drains me because it drains her.
She’s recently borrowed some of my fear of ticks, those vicious little blood suckers. Move over spiders, I have a new insect in my life to detest. Fear has much in common with ticks. It hangs on, buries in, and thrives off of our life force. Left to their own devices, both ticks and fear can make us very, very ill in body and psyche.
I’ve had seasons of psyche-sucking fear in my own life, when I can barely rally the gumption to roll out of bed, smile, move forward. The fear of “what if”, while annoying to everyone else around in its remote unlikelihood, can overpower even the strongest positive thinker. As in, there’s no convincing her that she might not have inadvertently poisoned herself by touching a shoe that touched a mushroom. And if that’s the case, what happens next??? (Suck on hair. Open eyes wide. Freeze.)
I do so wish I could share that in my seasons of soul-tick fear, I’ve overcome. But all that these seasons have revealed to me is how inadequate and cowardly and weak I really am. I can’t help myself. I can’t help someone else. Fear makes me impotent. I can’t seem to convince her she REALLY doesn’t need to worry about that bump-scrape-bruise-mark-itch-pain-tickle-cut-bite.
Then I remember what I should have thought of first: the only thing that has ever combatted my fear is something external to me. “If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” Psalm 94:17-19. Let me pick up those verses and hold them as a shield about me and about her; let those promises, not my own insufficient willpower, overcome the strength of fear.
Today, when the tick fears arise and swamp her beautiful blue eyes, we’re going to apply some tick spray. We’ll let God’s love, kindness, gentleness, understanding, and consolation block that fear. One bump, bruise, tick, and mushroom lick at a time, His consolations will delight our souls, sloughing off any clutching fear.
Borrow that tick-fear spray for yourself. It’s free for the taking!