Disclaimer: Before you read Part Two of this journey, it might be helpful to go back and read Part One. Read Part 1 Here
In February, I was faced with a setback so fierce it felt like it would actually consume the life I have come to know for the last twelve years. The fear of the unknown was paralyzing as I imagined the worst outcome – shame, professional loss, lack and poverty. I imagined everyone who had known me for the last two decades shaking their heads at my misery, wondering how I descended to such a shameful low point. I had completely expected the situation to swallow me whole. The panic attack that ensued was the catalyst I needed to seek professional counseling.
I took myself to a therapist to begin to unpack the unnatural terror I had about the unknown future. Four months after my first session, I am here to report that I am currently in one of the best seasons of my life. The situation and circumstance that I thought would be my undoing has actually been used by God to allow me to win my battle against fear. Fear has dominated my life in one way or the other for as long as I could remember. Fears of failure and success made it hard for me to see the kind of progress I have always desired. But the most pressing fear in this situation was the fear of the unknown. I do not like surprises. Even good things, when they are unplanned, rock me to my center. Knowing that I could not predict the outcome of what was a threat against my very livelihood and future shook the foundations under my feet.
But thanks be to God that he did not leave me the quivering mass of anxiety that first walked into my therapist’s office in May. Over the last several months, God has shown me that my fear was based on a lie. The lie told me that my life would only be “okay” if this situation went away. If the threat manifested into my new reality, then there was no way for the plans of God over my life to prosper.
But what an insult to the power and might of God!
I had wrongly concluded that not even God could undo the damage to my life if the circumstances that were still a threat, became a fact. I had let fear swallow up my faith and it resulted in a woman who looked nothing like the warrior princess I have been growing into over the last decade. The process to breakthrough was not in God changing the situation that frightened me, but in Him growing my faith and changing my mind. Through this particular trial, I have been able to see that God is not dependent on human beings if He is determined to bless me. In the midst of what should have been the hardest season of my life, I find myself thriving like I have never done before. I found the pace of grace in my work and it is being rewarded by my bosses. I leaned into the grace of God which allows me to work in excellence for someone besides myself, without letting my children or household suffer. I am the healthiest I have ever been, emotionally and spiritually, because this situation spurred me into getting the help I needed for things that have been a struggle for as long as I have been an adult, some even longer. It seems that God is causing ALL things to work together for my good by using the very storm that I thought was going to drown me, to move me ever closer to His promised future.
And isn’t that just like God? To use the very thing that the enemy meant for evil, something that has caused others to end their lives or retreat from living all together, to promote His own children to their next level. By no means do I believe that this attack came from God. It was sent as a strategic weapon of the enemy to take me out – to make me doubt my abilities and give up on every long held desire of my heart. The enemy definitely meant to destroy me. If the enemy had his way, I would be living in the eye of depression as we speak. I would have retreated from life, quit my job, abandoned my relationships and spent my days buried under my covers in tears. I did it for a few days earlier this year. It would have been very easy to just stay down. You cannot get knocked over if you do not stand up again. But God had better plans for me than that. He has declared that I would live and not die, but rather declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. So here I am, thriving. Because I am finally learning to rest in the promises of God. Because I finally understand that when God has determined to do us good, He will not ask permission from our circumstances before his desires for us are accomplished. The situation that spurred my first panic attack in over a decade is still ongoing. But in the midst of it, I have had the deepest kind of joy I have ever experienced in my adult life. I am experiencing a new level of authenticity in my marriage and friendships. I am more sure of my abilities in my career. And I have a greater understanding of who I am and why I move through life this particular way.
Because of that richer understanding, I have more to say when it comes to speaking intelligently about my journey. I am able to write about my journey in an authentic way that is brimming over with God-given joy. Life is still not perfect but at this point, I have more testimonies of God’s goodness over my life than I have ever had at any point before.
Without the threat of failure and the fear of unknown danger that presented itself in my life in February, I would probably be coasting along, the same version of me that I was when the year started. There would have been no motivation to examine why this fear almost paralyzed me and subsequently, I likely would have lived with this unknown fear for the next several years never realizing that it was unnatural and destructive to the plans of God for my life.
So, I am finally at a point in my life where I can say, I am incredibly grateful for the storm. I am thankful for the fiery furnace. The storm did not drown me and the fire did not consume me. The waters washed away more than just the unnecessary material things that I thought I needed; it also cleansed my vision to see clearly. The fire did not just burn away the security of a life where nothing changes so nothing grows; it also purified the gold that was within me; melting away impurities such as fear and self-reliance until all that is left is a faith that has been tried by fire.
Exactly seven months and five days after the enemy’s attack, I am happy to report that I am walking in breakthrough. Fear no longer has me.
I, Omowunmi, have escaped like a bird out of the hunter’s trap of fear and failure. The trap has been broken forever and ever, and I am free! (Psalm 124:7)