Name the Fear

By Annie Rohde

I always go back to the Psalms. David’s outpouring of emotion reminds me that we can share our heart with God.

David was recorded over and over for his faith and relationship with God.
He didn’t polish himself before going before God. He asked God to purify him.
He didn’t pull himself out of the muck, but asked God to pull him out.
His story is a story of how God showed up–a God who does the heavy lifting.

Often, we are just asked by God to come. One step closer.

When I walk toward God in heavy emotion, be it fear or anger or exhaustion or sadness, I first need to acknowledge it.

The first step for us when we are deep in fear is to acknowledge it. To name it.

Ronald Rolheiser says, “We get into trouble whenever we don’t name things properly.”

When we hide the fear, pretend it’s not there, cover it up, or try to deal with it in our own strength, we’re acting out of self-reliance. Let’s seek God-reliance.

Let’s name it.

Yes, I’m feeling fear.

Let’s name it in front of our God. Lay our fears at His feet, pour them out in a psalm, cry them out.

Be honest with God. He already knows you’re riddled with fear.
Be honest with yourself. You need His strength to overcome the fears.

Psalm 56 helps me see that naming fears in the presence of God often gives way to a deepening faith.

David cries out to God with his fears and God reminds him of truth. By the end of the psalm, David is professing “in God I trust, I will not be afraid.” He got there through honest expression of emotion.

Take some time to name the things you’re feeling. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s a mix of feelings. We need Him to reign over everything, even our emotions.

Draft your own Psalm. A Psalm in the day of pandemic.

Dear God,

We need you.

If it wasn’t clear before this, it’s clear now. We cannot do this without you. Our stocked shelves don’t give us peace. Our color-coded schedules don’t bring us joy. It’s only by your hand. You are our refuge, our fortress. Remind us to run to you. Remind us that it’s in you we find strength and peace and joy.

Show us the path to faith over fear.

Amen.


“Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.
Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll —
are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?

I am under vows to you, my God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.”

Psalm 56

2 Replies to “Name the Fear”

  1. I honestly just named my fear of negative thoughts leading to negative utterances before God and less than 24hours I stumbled on your post. This is confirmation that God heard me. Thank you

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