Sunday, April 02, 2006

Serious as a heart attack

In case you were wondering, my fast from fear is still in progress. I am still enjoying a freedom from fear that borders on the miraculous. Not that fearful thoughts haven't tried to lure me back into the shadowlands! But God's grace continues to illumine my way, and fear can only shrink back into the darkness.
I had a strange occurrence not long ago, however, that taught me that fear comes in many guises. It can present itself as sheer terror, with its lightening bolt rush of adrenaline, or it can quietly insinuate itself into the heart through the termites of worry and anxiety. Let me explain . . .
One lovely Sunday morning, Greg and I were having brunch with friends. As I walked out of the restaurant toward the car, chest pains gripped me. The onset was sudden, intense, and painful enough to bring tears to my eyes. When the pain continued to intensify, Greg took me to our health clinic to meet our family doctor. An EKG revealed a healthy heart, so my doctor diagnosed stress and excess stomach acid as the cause of my chest pain.
That came as a shock! I'd been so set free from fear that even the chest pains didn't scare me. True story!
But when my doctor (who is also my friend) asked me how my job was going, it hit me--I had been very anxious for some time about the new responsibilities I had taken on at work. I hadn't articulated my feelings or even given much conscious thought to the matter, but it had evidently been eating away me for sometime.
Why those worries erupted into chest pains on that lazy Sunday morning, I don't know. I do know that the Lord was helping me recognize the different faces of fear, and be victorious over them all. I repented of my anxiety, talked through the more stressful aspects of my job with Greg, and we prayed together for peace and wisdom.
I felt instantly better, and work has been a piece of cake. At least when I tackle it one bite at a time!