A brain MRI. Lab results. Plane rides.

Ten years ago, these things I’ve had to do the past few weeks would’ve sent me into a mental, emotional, and spiritual spiral. And not just doing these things, but worrying about them for days beforehand would’ve upended me, too. Since I was a little girl, paralyzing, pit-in-the-stomach fear was my constant companion.

For years I begged God to remove my anxiety over big things and small things, too. Like the hot embarrassment I’d feel when I forgot an appointment, said something dumb, or when a teacher called on me. When I heard Philippians 4:6-7 for the first time, I wanted what it had to offer. “Peace that surpassed understanding?” I wanted that.

So I followed its instructions. I told God what I was afraid of. I asked for peace and sometimes I felt it, sometimes I didn’t. I remember begging God to stop a particularly awful panic attack I was having when my kids were small and feeling nothing. I remember praying for that hot anxious feeling to go away many times to no avail. But gradually, fear began visiting less often. At a snail’s pace it became a little less intimidating.

Memorizing verses about fear, praying them relentlessly, and looking for glimpses of God’s protection began to dismantle fear’s power. While laying in that MRI tube, waiting on blood work, and taking multiple flights without being afraid the past few weeks, I realized those small glimpses of peace have…accumulated.

Why do I share things, as one woman put it, most people think but are too afraid to say out loud? Why do I have awkward conversations about Jesus with people? Why do I do what I do?

Because although I still worry at times fear no longer holds me prisoner. It no longer robs me for days and weeks on end. It no longer holds me prisoner. Peace is gift. Not a fast or obvious one, but a gift that God has for everyone who asks and continues asking for

in the big and the small things, too.