WHITE KNUCKLE FEAR

We have lost the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  Situations which we once were not formidable have now pushed us down.

Image of woman afraid

In the past few years have you gone through periods of speculation regarding an upcoming situation (whether something scheduled in the next day’s events or an item that slithers into your heart as a vague possibility)?  It could be that upcoming meeting with the boss or maybe watching a doctor on TV tell you how many people have been diagnosed with RSV in the adjoining town.

FEAR THAT WAKES YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

This is not the minor stuff such as the kind of fear I encounter when I wonder whether people will notice that I’m wearing two different colors of shoes (one being navy and the other being black). No, this is white knuckle fear that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It robs you of being able to breathe deeply and threatens to suffocate. Joy has gone up in flames. The actual event you have been speculating about has yet to happen.

Just want you to know, you are not alone.

WE HAVE BEEN ROBBED OF RESILIENCE

The pandemic and the resulting changes in our world have robbed us of resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  Situations which once were not formidable have now pinned us down. Speculation has gained a great deal of dangerous power. We are paying the price.

SPECULATION HAS RUN AMUCK

I have a friend who is going through turmoil at work.  Her boss keeps telling the employees that “big changes are going to happen imminently”. However, the “imminent” has drug into weeks.  At her job, usually “big changes” mean big sacrifices at the employees’ expense.  Fears at the workplace have amped up into hyper mode and speculation has run amuck. 

My friend is a believer and a few years back may have been able to just take a “wait and see” attitude.  The problem is that she has lost her reserve. She can’t put speculation on a back burner.  Life is draining out of her.

NOT IN JESUS’ “SUGGESTION BOX”

Jesus banned speculation. He said: So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34) This “don’t worry” is not in Jesus’ polite little suggestion box for Christian wannabes.  It is a command. Jesus is saying, “Look, if you trust me enough to take care of you for eternity, will you trust me enough to take care of those events that have not even happened yet?”  Real faith can rebuild and grow resilience.

ROPING IN SPECULATION

People have little reserves to deal with a world gone mad.  The good things is, recovery is possible.  John Eldredge writes:  “You can start building mental resilience right here, by roping in speculation. Every time you find yourself speculating, tell yourself to stop it! Bring your thoughts back under control: I’m not indulging speculation. It’s godless. Turn your thoughts immediately to God: You are good, Father. You are with me. You are still in control.” (from “Resilient: Restoring Your Soul in These Turbulent Times”)

GETTING RID OF WHITE KNUCKLE FEAR

This is not a quick and easy fix. This discipline can only be learned by letting the Holy Spirit take charge of how we view life.  Jesus says, “Deal with the present, not with speculating over the future.” He wants to rid us of that white knuckle fear which wakes us up in the middle of the night and which robs us of being able to breathe deeply. Jesus wants to build our resilience. It can only be found in Him. 

Author: Jacquelin Stoner

I have had years of walking alongside of individuals, encouraging those who want to change, but need help navigating to the better place God has envisioned for their lives. I believe Christ is central to genuine lasting life change.

Delight in helping women to discover wholeness in their "New Normal".