Maureen Cunningham

Berlin, Germany

From Fearful to Free

I was flying in an airplane not too long ago, and a few minutes into the flight, as we were still ascending, it really felt like we began to fall back down. I got this really bad feeling in my stomach and I started to become very fearful that something terrible was about to happen. My mind and heart started racing a mile a minute. Nothing ended up happening, but the rest of the flight I freaked out at every small movement that felt abnormal. This experience reminded me that I am such a fearful person. And most of the time, my fear revolves around a fear of death. I don’t know where this fear came from or when it started, but I do remember multiple incidents in high school in which this was very prevalent. One night as I was laying in bed, I had myself convinced that someone had broken into my house and was outside my door getting ready to kill me. I was physically paralyzed and could do nothing about it. Incidents like these were just a normal part of life. 

In my first semester of university, an older student asked me if I were to die that night, how sure was I that I would go to heaven? I said 70%. That student then proceeded to tell me that though Christ, I can be 100% sure that I will spend all of eternity with God in Heaven. Jesus bridges the gap between us and God. And He gives us a promise of eternal life when we trust that Jesus is who He says He is – the Creator and Savior of the world. Well this was news to me! After some thinking, I decided that Jesus is worthy of my trust. Because of that, I don’t have to worry about death anymore since I know what is going to happen after! 

BUT. Just because I put my trust in Jesus, doesn’t mean my struggles went away. That airplane incident I talked about earlier was many years after I put my trust in Jesus. I know in my head that I don’t have to worry about these things anymore, but my heart is harder to convince. I have to constantly remind myself of the promises God gives to us as Christians. God has given us His Word – the Bible – to tell us about Himself and to remind us of these promises. One verse from the Bible that has helped me work through my fear is, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.” When I had the attack of fear in high school, I had to work in my own power to calm myself down. It was exhausting and was only a temporary fix to the problem. But now that I put Jesus in control of my life, I am able to call out to Him and meditate on the promise of His Spirit He has given me. It is not on my own efforts that I work through the fears, but through the peace that I find in Jesus and the hope for eternity I have. This is only one story from my life that has been written and one of the many still to come. 

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