It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” Mandy Hale
Childhood Sexual Abuse: Paralyzed by Fear?
What about anxiety? Is it possible to be paralyzed by fear? Like feet trapped in a concrete slab as tidewaters rise? The darkness of unknowns so often keeps us from facing the monsters in our lives.
Monsters?! Oh, yes. Back in January 2007, a levee in my mind broke loose. Memories of childhood sexual abuse flooded my soul. The horror was too much to face. Too daunting. Too overwhelming. I couldn’t move forward. For crying out loud, at times, I couldn’t move at all!
For sure, we absolutely can be paralyzed by fear.
How to Face a Monster
The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost
The famous American poet, Robert Frost, knew something about facing monsters. Tragically, he buried four of his six precious children. And as he faced the monster of grief and loss, I wonder, Is this where he discovered the best way out is always through?
Do you remember the childhood song, Going on a Bear Hunt? Sing it with me…
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
We’ve got to go through it!
Sweet friend, healing from childhood sexual abuse is possible. And the journey begins by deciding to go through it…into it and all the way through it.
But, What About Anxiety?
Back in 2007, seated on the brown leather sofa in my counselor’s office, I shared the internal panic I was experiencing as memories of the abuse flooded my mind and entrapped my body. “I won’t make it through this Richard. I won’t survive it.” And I wasn’t being dramatic either. Facing the monster of childhood sexual abuse made me feel like I’d be swept right over the edge of a cliff.
Right over a cliff. Do you know that feeling? I bet you do my friend. It’s the fear of the darkness. The fear of the unknown. What the heck will happen?! Our minds race a million steps ahead of us anticipating the worse of the worse. I won’t make it through this. I won’t survive it.
But God knew the need of my soul. And through Richard gave me a powerful idea I’d love to share with you…
Duct Tape and a Shoebox
God is in her (your) citadels; He has shown himself to be her (your) fortress. God makes her (you) secure forever.” Psalms 48
When facing a monster and the anxiety seems overwhelming, in your mind…in your imagination…imagine a shoebox. Come on, play along with me. Can you picture a shoebox in your mind?
Now take the lid off and place your situation, your circumstance…the monster inside the shoebox. See it inside the box. Once inside, secure the lid back on top.
Next, take a roll of duct tape (in my imagination, I like to use the original silver-colored duct tape) and begin wrapping it tightly around the box. Around and around. Keep wrapping the duct tape until you are certain the monster inside can’t get out unless you say so. Wrap. And wrap. Believe me, there’s a point you’ll wrap to where God will restore your peace.
Now, as God leads you, in His timing, in His own unique ways in your life, you’ll remove the duct tape and face the monster together. And if you become overwhelmed? Stick it right back in the box and wrap it up until you’re ready to begin again. Be patient with your sweet self. Allow God to pace you. I promise he knows you perfectly and knows how to best guide you. He’s got you. And he’s already slain the monster. Oh yes! As Jesus said, “It is finished.”
We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods…Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark any more…” Psalms 91:1, 5
What about anxiety? Remember, it’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave. Facing the monster of childhood sexual abuse is daunting. To say the least. But you are not alone. No, never alone. God is with you. Within you. And he will show himself to be your fortress. In him, you are secure forever. More than a conqueror!
I’m praying over you, friend. In fact here’s a prayer I wrote just for you, A Morning Prayer.
I’m listening. And would love to hear from you! Subscribe below to share your thoughts, comments, or questions.
Thanks for stopping by. Do you know someone else who was sexually abused as a child? There are so few good resources for encouragement. Be their encouraging hero by sharing this post with them.
Trusting in Jesus, you have more treasure than pockets. From my heart to yours,