• Debra McInvale

Immobilized with Fear


"Big Bob" pen, ink and ink wash illustration by James McInvale. jamesmcinvaleillustration.com

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Isaiah 41:10 - MSG


Big Bird was definitely depressed, although a friend assured us we were attributing way too much reasoning ability to a 2-legged fowl. I know he was because he couldn’t crow. Not for days. Later, it came out as a hoarse kind of squeak.


He had reason to be depressed. The big brave rooster had been taken down. A hawk had accosted his “women”, so he did his job as master protector. But in the process, he was mauled: His wing was broken, his leg injured and, worst of all, his handsome tail feathers were completely pulled out. For two days we thought he was a goner because we couldn’t find him. He was hiding. In pain. Paralyzed with fear. Depressed. Embarrassed. Wouldn’t you be too?


Yes, he always did his job well. Until now. Now he was paralyzed with fear. Fear of another attack. Fear of pain. Fear of the unknown outside of his hiding place. After Morton found him hiding under the art studio, it still took him several days to coax Big Bird back to the safety of his coop with his hens.


Considering the concept of “freedom” this 4th of July weekend, I thought about the “prisons” we sometimes make for ourselves because of fear. We might not hide under a building behind stacks of junk. No, we probably hide in plain sight, our feelings and fears secluded behind stoic faces and icy smiles. But we are still hiding.


What fears immobilize you and send you scurrying into your own private hiding places? What self-made chains are holding you captive?


  • Fear of pain?

  • Fear of failure?

  • Fear of the unknown?

  • Fear of the future?

  • Fear of hurt?

  • Fear of rejection?

  • Fear of the opinions of other people?

  • Fear of the “what ifs” of life?


Me? I’ve always been afraid of embarrassing myself by opening myself up and saying something stupid. For many years, that fear kept me from speaking out, expressing myself with others, even from asking questions when I needed answers. It kept me in my own box. That same, lingering fear kept me from beginning this blog years earlier. “Who would want to read what I wrote? Who would care? I’d probably write something dumb anyway….”

Big Bird with one of his hens.

It took me many years and much prodding from the Holy Spirit to finally open up to teach and write. Plus, it goes without saying that, since I’m older, I’m not so concerned if anyone thinks I’m crazy! Now that my mouth has opened up, I don’t shut up!


But that’s just the beginning of my list …. I could add details on my fear of rejection, and bad health, and the future, and all the what ifs my brain seems to conjure…


Why the heck do we forge our own chains of fear? Why do we allow our own thinking to paralyze us? It makes no sense. Especially when Christ promises to walk with us every step we take if we hold onto Him with our best grip and trust.


I will walk in freedom for I have devoted myself to your commandments.

Psalm 119:45 NLT


This week let’s consider our own fears that, in our minds, immobilize and imprison us. Let’s make a firm choice to catch hold of the freedom Christ offers, freedom to be the people He created us to be, without the restraints of fear holding us down.


Let’s take a feather out of Big Bird’s experience and learn to fly and crow again. Use those wings Christ gave you! Soar in the strong and loving freedom He provides.


Blessings and hugs,





Lord, I am lodged in a prison of my own thinking, immobilized and unable to move forward in some areas of my life. Please help me to realize that You are right beside me, longing and ready to free me. Please bless me with the courage to lift my eyes and my hands up to You in trust. I am confident that You can break my chains and help me fly again! Amen.

CHALLENGE!

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