Fear or Faith?

This is a conclusion of the essay I shared on Monday.  

If faith is our belief put into action, you should have opportunities to demonstrate your faith every day. The battle will be between your fears, worries and anxieties, and your faith. When you react to situations, do you let your actions be determined by your fear, or your faith? When you prepare for the future, are you preparing with anxiousness and worry or are you preparing with faith?

For some reason, ours is a culture that has trained women to prepare for the time of pregnancy and birth out of fear, anxiety and worry. Rather than being told about the large number of times that everything is normal, women are reminded again and again of the small percentage that is abnormal or dangerous. Rather than sharing information about positive, healthy experiences with pregnancy and birth, women seem to compete to have the worst, most dangerous experiences.

This makes it very difficult for the Christian woman to keep her faith in God, and the authority he has over her fertility. Suddenly, your attention switches from the normal experience you will probably have, to the problems that may happen. Before you know it, your faith in God’s control over your labor and his ability to give you strength is gone, and all that is left is the fear that something will go wrong.

We have already discussed what can happen to your body in response to this fear. But the damage fear can do goes even further than simple body mechanics. If you believe that something is going to go wrong, you will be looking for it to happen. Some people say it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because at the first sign of something that may be a little different you overreact and whether or not it is a problem, you treat it as if it is.

This happens very frequently in pregnancy, labor and birth in America. Doctors and nurses who care for pregnant and laboring women have seen the worst emergencies, sometimes repeatedly. This gradually wears down their faith in the normal process to the point where they see any small deviation from “average” as a problem. They are not trying to cause a problem, in fact they are trying to prevent a problem. Unfortunately, when what is happening is not a problem but simply a variation of normal, reacting to it as if it were a problem can cause other problems. Before you know it, what was a normal labor is suddenly a seemingly life-threatening situation, and the worst fears of the medical personnel have been realized. This makes them even quicker to determine to intervene the next time.

Remember, this is not done to hinder laboring women. Doctors, nurses and midwives are not trying to cause problems. They believe they are solving problems. Remember that the amount of time that they have available to train is very small when you consider all the information they need to know and understand. Sometimes it is just assumed they already know about “normality” and the basics of an unmedicated, normal birth are skipped over. There are a wide variety of problems that could happen. Even though these problems occur less than 5% of the time, the caregivers need to be able to recognize them. So much time is spent understanding the problems, and learning how to react if something goes wrong.

It is also a delicate balance between preparing for the normal and preparing for the abnormal for the mother. Although 95% of labors are normal and problem free, you do still need to be aware of what can go wrong, and the options you have should something not seem to go right. But your education must go deeper than simply knowing what may go wrong. You need to understanding the difference between a variation of a normal labor and a true emergency situation. You must become familiar with the options that are available to you should something deviate from normal. To top it off, you must understand all the variations of normal so you can be prepared to make decisions about how to handle the situations that will arise while you labor. But you must also not allow your learning about the abnormal destroy your faith in God’s ability to make your labor normal.

Perhaps the worst effect of fear is that when you are living in fear, you are not trusting in God. Despite all your preparation, all your hopes of trusting in God during your labor, fear can destroy that faith in an instant. It will be a constant battle to keep your eyes on God and your faith active to prevent fear from pulling you away from God’s comfort.

Fear is a very powerful tool used by Satan effectively to destroy our hope and trust in God. For example, why do Christians not share their faith more often? They have fear that they will look silly, or other people will not understand. Why do Christians not seek forgiveness when they have sinned against someone? They have fear that the other person will judge them or will think they are weak. Why do Christians not give more money to charity? They have fear that their basic needs will not be met.

Fear is also a powerful tool for Satan to use during pregnancy, labor and birth. Think about the fears that Satan has tried to teach you to live by. Satan tells us to be afraid because labor is so painful, and dangerous. Satan tells us to be afraid to eat because our bodies will remain fat forever. Satan tells us to be afraid to wait for labor to begin because our bodies are not able to work properly to give birth when the baby is ready. Satan tells us to be afraid to get more rest because others will think we are weak because we are pregnant women. Satan tells us to be afraid to give birth because the baby will have so many needs that we will always be exhausted.

There are other fears that Satan puts into our hearts. If you listen to the world, most talk of pregnancy, labor and newborn care are full of fear. Fear that God is not in control. Fear that our bodies are defective. Fear that we are not adequate to the tasks at hand. Fear that we are not intelligent enough to make decisions. You need to test every thought that Satan tries to plan in your head to determine if it lines up with scripture, or if it is simply and attempt to make you act in fear.

You see, once you begin to believe some of these fears, you lose your faith in God. You can not believe that God created you adequate for the tasks he set before you and also believe that your body is defective. You can not believe that labor is so painful that no women can handle it and also believe that God is in control of labor. These fears are in direct opposition to the Bible and rather than build your faith, they will destroy it. Rather than encourage you to turn to God, they will encourage you to feel hopeless.

So you must decide now how you will live your life. Will you live your life in response to fear, or will you live your life based on faith in God. Will you be ruled by your worries or your Lord. Will you worry, or will you trust God. Will you live in fear or faith?