For this week’s Monday Minute Muriel shares with us 4 ways to overcome fear during deployment.
How to Flourish in Deployment. Fear is a Liar.
By Muriel Gregory
The training schedule. Appointments for powers of attorney and the will. Duffle bags. Socks, t-shirts, uniforms laid out on the floor. The familiarity of those events brought me no comfort. As the saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt.” Pre-deployment days brought contempt in my heart. We circled the day he was leaving in red on the calendar. Time was moving fast, yet at the same time days were dragging on. I wanted him to be gone so that I could start counting down the days until his return.
Fears and tears filled the day he left. Promises of letters, care packages, and talks of what we would do when he returned sprinkled our goodbyes. As usual, that night I felt emotionally and mentally exhausted. I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep through the whole deployment to escape the fear, the loneliness, and the responsibilities.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Do not be afraid is repeated many times in the Bible because God knows that we are scared. In the English Standard Version translation of the Bible, 158 verses command us not to fear. The opposite of faith is fear because fear paralyzes. When anxiety becomes my anthem, my faith shrinks.
Make Faith Your Anthem to Overcome Fear During Deployment
The root word for fear in Greek is phobo from which we get our phobias. Fear will isolate you and leave you helpless.
What are some of my deployment phobias?
- He will not come home.
- He will get injured.
- I will be inadequate with the kids.
- He will be gone longer than anticipated.
- Fear that … [fill in the blank]…
Those are legitimate fears but not reality. The reality is that he is deployed and I am home waiting. Period. Nothing else.
There are many ways to deal with fear. Since fear tends to isolate, we must make an effort to be part of a supportive community.
God created us to be part of a community. One of the many benefits of not being isolated is communication. Talking about and through your fears will reduce them. When we expose our fears, we feel less anxious about them.
Be mindful of the present moment and stop projecting an unknown future into your reality.
Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Paul urged us to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV). God does not want me to be afraid. Being mindful of that thought allows me to cast it on Jesus and replace it with His peace.
4 Ways to Overcome Fear During Deployment
- Do not isolate yourself. Seek a supportive community of believers.
- Talk through your fears. Cast away your anxieties.
- Be mindful of the present moment. Tomorrow will be there soon enough.
- Have faith. Faith is the antidote to fear.
I wish I could tell you I never have any anxious thoughts or that fear no longer grips my heart, but that would be a lie. What I can tell you, though, is that I am quicker to recognize those thoughts and more diligent in turning them to God. My faith has grown stronger since I learned to deal with my fears. As the saying goes, I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds my tomorrow.
“It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18 ESV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34 ESV)
Prayer to Overcome Fear During Deployment
Father, I am so thankful my faith in You is all I need to cast away fears. I am grateful you will never leave me nor forsake me. Even in my darkest days, you are my rock and my salvation. Amen.