Have you ever been crippled by the fear and anxiety of losing loved ones?
I’ve lost several loves ones over the course of my life. Some losses were harder than others, many filled with trauma or tragedy.
Because of this, my family developed a sort of system to cope. No matter how you were feeling, you always said “I love you” before leaving.
You made yourself appreciate time together - no matter how you felt towards each other or what was between you that day.
It sounds great, and I thought it was. But in the midst of this, that time with my family became an idol. It became so important to make the most of this time that I lost sight of God’s intention in that time.
This was no healthy way of coping. Because when things would end on a bad note, I’d be riddled with anxiety and fear until the next time we were together.
It also led to extremely unhealthy boundaries because when you’re trying to make the absolute most of a moment together, you set aside boundaries that may be necessary for a healthy relationship or a healthy life.
So in this toxic and yet consuming environment, I learned to cope with tragic loss.
It wasn’t until I was married that I began to see how unhealthy these coping mechanisms were. I began to see the rituals and anxiety-driven things that spouted out of my childhood and young adult life.
And I really struggled to let them go.
Even though it had been years since I’d been through a loss, I expected one at every turn. Not only did the trauma of some of these losses affect me, but the fear that I’d lose someone I loved again crippled my ability to live in the peace that God intends.
Have you ever experienced that fear of losing someone? Maybe, like me, you’ve been through multiple losses or maybe it was just one extremely tough loss that has you stuck in an unhealthy cycle.
This unhealthy, anxiety-driven approach to coping always comes out in full when my husband leaves for a long trip. I find myself feeling more and more anxious in the days leading up to his trip. My mind constantly jumps to the worst-case scenarios no matter how hard I try to avoid thinking about it.
And one night several months ago, as I lay awake in crippling fear of losing my husband, I was left with a choice:
Allow the fear to win or surrender my whole heart to the Lord.
I’m so happy I chose to surrender in that moment. It wasn’t instant, but the peace that consumed me when I surrendered my husband’s life and my life to the Lord changed everything.
I began to realize that I was putting my husband before the Lord. That intense fear and anxiety resulted from my perceived idea that I needed my husband in order to be okay. That things would not be okay without him.
But that lie is something Satan wants us to keep believing. Because if we go on believing that, we are crippled. We cannot live out God’s intended peace and plan when we put our loved ones before Him.
I had to release my grip on this fear and this control. God is in control. He knows what I need, and honestly, He already has a plan for each one of my days and my husband’s days.
Coming to this conclusion lasted about a few hours until the anxiety found me again. And I had to again surrender it all to the Lord.
Surrender is not a once and done thing. In fact, sometimes I have to surrender it over and over again, each moment that the anxiety knocks at my door.
So today I want to share some truths with you to encourage you if you ever feel consumed by the anxiety or fear of loss.
God has you in His hands
It’s so easy to feel we have to control our circumstances, especially when we’ve been through loss.
So often, I want to control the safety of my loved ones. And if I can’t, then I resort to those unhealthy coping mechanisms I mentioned before - absolutely HAVING to end on a good note, making sure time together is 100% good, no matter what is going on, etc.
But God’s got this. He’s got you and your loved ones in His hands. And He is working for your good.
Remember these truths when you’re facing fear or anxiety of loss.
You will be okay. Grief is not the end.
I hate to hear this. Because it means accepting that grief and loss is yet again a real possibility. I’m almost afraid that if I accept that, then God will allow it to happen.
But God does not work this way. God loves us deeply and He truly wants what is best for us.
That is why it’s important to remember this truth: that grief is not the end. You can find healing. You will be okay - no matter what.
God has the ultimate say and with His grace and His power, you will be okay - no matter what!
The ONLY way to peace is in surrendering to God.
The truth is - you cannot control what happens to you or your loved ones. No amount of micromanaging, helicopter-momming, clinging or controlling will control what happens.
We see tragedy and loss all over the news and all over our lives. It happens. It sucks, but it happens.
And so no matter how desperately you try to control your circumstances, you will not be able to provide peace and security. Because the only way to peace is in surrendering to God.
Remembering that you will be okay, no matter what happens and that God is working for your good, you have to surrender your loved ones to the Lord in order to find peace.
So how do we surrender?
I would encourage you to literally unclench your fists and open your palms up, saying aloud this prayer:
Lord, I want so badly to hold onto (loved one). I want their safety and the reassurance that they will be okay. But God, I trust You. I surrender their life to You. I know that You are good and you are working for my good. Help me to surrender my fear and anxiety. Help me to lean on You and to Lord, fill me with your supernatural peace.
The best way to continually surrender to the Lord is to do these 3 things always:
- Give thanks
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This is where you will find hope and peace.