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<< Encouragement for Today

Trading Fears for Freedom - Encouragement for Today - July 4, 2014

  • 2014 Jul 04
  • COMMENTS

Leah DiPascal

JULY 4, 2014

Trading Fears for Freedom
LEAH DIPASCAL

"But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT)

{Editor's note & trigger alert: We are mindful today's devotion might stir up emotions for anyone who's survived intense trauma. We pray you are encouraged by Leah's message.}

As a teenager, I lived a pretty sheltered life. I believed nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then one day, I found myself in the middle of a really bad situation.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a pistol put to my head. A robbery that was a sudden and terrifying scenario for this naive teenage girl.

"Don't move or I'll shoot!" The sharp words of my abductor rattled me to my very core. Shaking uncontrollably, I could feel the cold, hard surface of his gun pushing against my pulsating temple.

As my heart raced, thoughts ran through my mind: I'm going to die. This is it ... my life is over. I wanted to run, but saw no way out.

By the grace of God, I survived. But although I had no physical wounds, the memories of that experience settled deep within my heart. Like acid, it seeped into the center of my shaken soul and ate away at my once-upon-a-time teenage confidence.

At night, my mind replayed the awful scenario. And during the day, I was afraid to go anywhere alone. Or even be left alone.

What if I run into him again? Will he recognize me? What if he followed me home that day and knows where I live? What if he comes looking for me again?

I didn't feel safe ... anywhere.

I was afraid ... most all the time.

I struggled ... the memories haunted me.

Looking back, I realize my abductor abused me momentarily, but fear held me hostage for what seemed like a lifetime. It kept my thoughts in bondage and dictated my daily decisions.

My biggest regret during that season of distress was not having God's Word hidden in my heart. If I had taken the time to not only read but memorize His Word, I could have traded my fears for God's truth of freedom found in John 8:32: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (NLT).

On those sleepless nights, I could have claimed this promise instead: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant," Proverbs 3:24 (HCSB).

When I was alone and scared my abductor might return, I could have replaced my thoughts with today's key verse: "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4.

Have you ever experienced something tragic that's left you feeling afraid? Are your thoughts sometimes filled with "what-if" worries or scary scenarios that keep you awake at night? Does fear and anxiety hold you hostage today?

If so, I understand. I've been there. God's Word is the answer to help you move beyond your fears to freedom with a new level of unshakable courage. Here's the key: Real and sustainable freedom from fears can only be found in Jesus Christ and through His powerful Word.

Here's what I've discovered: What consumes our thoughts overtakes our thought life. We can't change what's happened in our past, but we can change how we respond to those difficult situations in the future.

As women of faith, we find freedom from fear when we choose to capture those fearful memories, cover them with God's Word and begin building a healthy thought life as we place our trust in Him.

Let's commit to focusing on thoughts that bring life, hope and freedom. Let's surrender our broken memories to God and allow Him to saturate them with His healing grace.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me so that I'm never alone. Help me to replace my fearful thoughts with Your Word as I begin memorizing Scripture verses today. I believe I can live a life of freedom from fear with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 43:18-19a, "Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don't you recognize it?" (GWT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women contains the life-changing truth of God's Word to help you gain freedom from fear.

If you've been a victim of violence, Wendy Blight's book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner can help you walk through God's healing.

Visit Leah DiPascal's blog to continue this conversation and receive encouragement on finding true freedom.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
You can start today by memorizing a few of the Scripture verses shared above. Speak them aloud or personalize them into prayers.

How can you let God's Word change your thinking as it brings healing to painful memories and true freedom to your life?

© 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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