Last weekend I got a tattoo. I always said that I didn’t have the pain tolerance for it, so it would have to be something truly important to me if I chose to get one. I’m not one to hide what I feel or what I’m going through so if you pay attention you know that I regularly battle and often lose to my own mind- fear, anxiety, stress, intense sadness- and it just spirals. The last two and a half years in particular have almost been too much.
A couple of weeks ago on the way home from church, I asked my husband, “Do you ever get annoyed watching everyone have joy when you just don’t have any left?” His response was, “I’m a little more annoyed at us. We’ve been attacked regularly for the last couple of years and we haven’t used the weapons we’ve been given. We need to start reading the Bible and praying together regularly. Let’s think of some lies we continue to believe and then fight it through the Word and prayer.” It has made a world of difference. Inviting Jesus in and being candid and honest with how we feel about the ups and downs of life has been freeing and encouraging.
But it’s so easy to forget and start spiraling again. I decided I needed a constant reminder that God has never failed me and has always provided. For as long as I can remember, my favorite Bible verse has been 2 Timothy 1:7- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
FAITH OVER FEAR. I decided to get this on the inside of my left wrist/forearm so I literally see it every minute. I decided that even though it would hurt, it would in no way compare to the pain and heartache I’ve felt over the last couple of years. I could endure a half hour of needles (which actually only ended up being 8 minutes) for a permanent reminder that God is still good, and He is ultimately the only one who will guide me out of my sorrows.
The most beautiful thing about this tattoo is that it regularly reminds me of all the moments in life when God has been faithful to that verse. My first 2 years of college, my anxiety and self-confidence were sometimes debilitating, and I would come home and cry many weekends; I couldn’t pinpoint why though. Slowly but surely through learning and opportunities outside of my comfort zone, God gave me love for myself and power through a newfound self-confidence that knocked out that fear of being seen or known.
Serving others and making a difference in this world is insanely important to me. I’m thankful that I’ve been given hundreds of opportunities to do just that. But sometimes I suck. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I get in my own way. And in my worry and doubt that I’m doing any good, God has reminded me not to fear because the love He’s given me for others is still enough. It may be as simple as spending time with one person or as huge as solving the English class crisis in Louisville. The love He’s given me drives me to press on.
Power. Those stupid burglaries stripped me of all power, safety, and security. For literally 2 years, I refused to be alone in my own home. There was a long period of time that I was afraid to leave our locked bedroom to wake up in the mornings. My night owl, saint of a husband woke up with me and moved to the couch every day to appease my anxiety. I would hear every small noise inside and outside and think it was a threat. I’d never felt so weak and vulnerable. Thankfully psychotherapy and Krav Maga took the edge off, and through time, God restored my spirit of power.
And now here I am, still grieving the loss of my first baby just 7 weeks ago. I’m also in a new role at work that has had more challenges than expected. And there’s all the other little things. My own mind is my worst enemy. I’ve had zero self-control over it for awhile now and as life continues to get harder, I keep losing. When I chose to follow Jesus as a little girl, He gave me a new spirit that does not include fear. And I’ve been rejecting that. I have no reason to fear that “this is never going to get better.” I have weapons to battle my own negativity. But I am human, and I need to be reminded regularly.
Faith over Fear reminds me that the enemy can suck it because the battle has already been won. Faith over Fear reminds me that none of this is over; God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Faith over Fear reminds me of His goodness throughout my entire life so far. Life is certainly still hard, but at least I have truth tattooed on my arm.