Written by Evi Idoghor
As a child, I struggled a great deal with fear. I watched countless films that perpetuated the spirit of fear in unimaginable ways. Thanks to Nollywood, I was terrified of the dark and couldn't bear sleeping alone in my room, to the point where I frequently bribed my brother to share my room at night with money and other material possessions.
Once it was around 3 p.m., I began negotiating; if you come and sleep in my room tonight, I will give you money or buy you suya. I was happiest when I knew someone would spend the night with me or when my father would be out of town, which meant I could move into my parents' room and spend nights with my mother.
I recall one instance when my mother and I spent the entire day shopping. I put away the
groceries, cleaned up, and went in for a power nap around 5 p.m. because I was exhausted. This ostensibly short nap ended up lasting seven hours, as I awoke at 12 a.m. I quickly realized I had dozed off in my room but did not hesitate to enter my brother's room and spend the remainder of the night there.
By morning, as my father prepared to leave for work, he walked past my brother's room, which was still open, and noticed me sleeping there. He was disappointed; he couldn't fathom why I couldn't sleep alone in a room. I was seventeen and about to embark on a journey to a different continent for college, so there was immediate cause for concern. How was I going to survive?
When I resumed college, I was fortunate to have a roommate, and after about a year, my brother joined me, and we shared an apartment.
It was a small two-bedroom apartment, so sleeping alone in a room at night was no longer an issue. I had also matured slightly, and thus a sense of maturity kicked in. However, after my brother graduated from college, I was able to obtain a one-bedroom apartment. Even more perfect! I adored my itsy-bitsy space. I frequently wondered how my married friends who lived in large homes dealt with their spouses' absences. I never considered living alone in a five- or six-bedroom house.
I returned home a few years later. At the time, the only available living space was a five-bedroom house. Although I desired an apartment, this was more cost-effective as it was free, and no one lived there. I was terrified and stalled as much as possible before finally moving in. I was 29 years old at the time. You'd think fear was a thing of the past, but as the second occupant of my home, it moved in with a vengeance. The first night I was there, I left all the lights on, and not only that, but I also left the television on. Then I prayed like never before. After I entered the room and closed the door for the night, I did not leave until the following morning. Indeed, the first few days were particularly trying, as I frequently stayed up until the sun rose. Then I was at ease as I drifted off to sleep.
Fear, which I battled as a child, reared its ugly head once more. Then, one day, my father called to inform me that he was paying a visit. I was ecstatic. Someone else was going to be staying with me in the house. Simply thinking about it instilled confidence in me. He arrived, and the fear dissipated. Even though we did not share a bedroom, I switched off all the lights in the house. Even though his room was across the hallway from mine, I maintained my composure.
Now, one might ask, what superpowers did my father possess in order to expel fear? I, too, found myself pondering this. As a result, I began to consider the potency of a person's presence. I felt safe simply because my father was in the house with me, even if I didn't see him all the time. This then prompted me to consider how much more powerful God's presence is.
Although we can’t see Him, we know He is there according to Hebrews 13:5-6, which says “Let your life be without covetousness, be content with whatever you have, for He has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” so you can say with confidence that the Lord is my helper I shall not FEAR, what can mere man do to me?”
Then I found my freedom! I began to realize that the light within me was more powerful than the darkness surrounding me. If I can be alone during the day, why should it be any different at night? If I can trust God to protect me during the day, why should the night be a point of contention when the Bible states that night is just as bright as day in God's eyes? As a result, I became fearless from that point forward! With that simple realization, God delivered me from the spirit of fear. If you battle with fear as I once did, consider the steps below.
Step 1: Trust in God - God has promised to never leave or forsake us. As he is always with us, we have nothing to fear. In the same way that my father was with me, and I was not afraid, God, who is more powerful and who protects us from both seen and unseen dangers, is always with us. According to the Bible, whoever fears has not been perfected in love. Perhaps the best way to understand what God's love means for us is this: I will never leave you or forsake you. A sense of confidence and peace flow from this revelation.
Step 2: Know who you are in Christ - If we are afraid, it means we don't completely trust Him or that we don't know who we are in Christ Jesus. When you recognize your identity as a child of God and joint heir with Christ, you realize that nothing can separate you from His love and that you are more than a conqueror; thus, you can overcome fear.
Step 3: Know what the Bible says about fear - There are numerous instances in the Bible where a statement begins with "fear not," demonstrating that if God tells His people not to be afraid, He does not perpetuate the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) says: " for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
If you are experiencing anxiety or fear, please know that you are not alone. God is always there for you and with you. Remember that He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world. (1 John 4:4).
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