This is a guest post from John Collier, founder of Fathers Love Ministry. In episode 50 of the BoldIdea podcast, he talked about moving from fear to freedom.
On a hot summer day, I was mowing the lawn, when suddenly, for no apparent reason, I was transported back to a traumatic childhood memory. I saw an 8-year-old boy, frozen in fear, watching his father viciously beating his mother. I found myself on my knees, crying out to God, “What’s going on Lord?”
A week later I was mowing again, and I once again found myself transported to another memory of a 12-year-old boy, frozen in fear in his bed late at night, listening to the cries and pleas of his mother, and paralyzed. I was that boy. And again, I found myself crying out to God, “What are you trying to show me?”
I realized that God was prompting my heart to return to those wounded childhood memories. But why?
I went so far as to visit my therapist the following week to ask the question, and yet I felt God calling me to go back to a place I would never normally want to return to, the place of my greatest fear and suffering. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God was showing me that if I trusted Him I would no longer have to go it alone. The journey would not be an easy one. I knew it was time for me to take the journey back. God was calling my heart, and I was listening.
Part of my recovery in the weeks and months previously required me to revisit the horrible trauma of my life, the memories of a violent father, and a broken childhood. Walking through this was not easy, and there was a cost for my heart to be set free and healed. I had always lived my life doing it on my own, but what I found was that the more I tried to do it alone I failed.
And so I went back to that old house I lived in as a boy, parked my car on the street, and stared at the house, wondering, and searching. I walked around the neighborhood, down the alley I played in as a kid on my skateboard, asking, “Why am I here?” From the alley behind the house I could see the back yard I played in, and I could see the kitchen window upstairs. In silence I waited, staring at the house, and seeing it as like looking through glass. And yet this time I didn’t feel the anxiety, panic, or fear I could have expected. Instead, I heard the whisper of God’s voice speaking to my heart, “It can’t hurt you anymore.” Suddenly I was free.
For the first time in my life I finally realized what that meant. God went with me. He was not only there with me, but just being present with me in that moment I realized I was no longer controlled by my fears, and I was free. I was healed. I had finally let go of doing it on my own. I trusted God.
What is the cost of freedom? Sometimes you must enter your greatest fear and the deepest, darkest corner of soul to shed the light of Christ on it. That’s the process to conquer fear and trauma, at least in my own experience. It’s a scary place to go and it goes against logic, but facing your fear and darkness is sometimes the cost to the freedom that awaits you. Take it from me, it’s worth the cost.