Victoria Riollano of Victory Speaks
My Life as a Fearaholic
Starting around the age of seven, I was extremely fearful. My first memory of being terrified was when I peaked into the living room to see what my parents were watching. Unfortunately, the movie was the horror classic, "IT". The movie follows the antics of a satanic clown. I was sincerely afraid.Even more so, I was intrigued to see what would happen next. Coincidentally, at this time, my room had a circus decor. Every night, before bed I would see the hundreds of clowns which adorned my wall paper and I was crippled with fear. So much so, that my mother would find me under my bed for weeks to come in a fetal position. Around this time, I also discovered "Nightmare on Elm Street". Many nights I would have a recurring dream of running through a maze with Freddy following me, along with other creepy beings. I can remember sleeping with my dolls aligned around my bed. In my mind, this would keep me safe for if anything tried to get me from under the bed. Yes...I was willing to sacrifice my dolls to live. My true life confession...what can I say.
Every single night, from the age of seven until fourteen, I lived in absolute torment. My dreams were getting worse. Many included car accidents, some being robbed and shot and a couple where I would die in my dreams. They would grow more intense. Until around the age of 15, I became fairly intrigued by dream interpretation and controlling one's own dreams. Keeping a journal and learning these techniques gave me a sort of freedom, as I was now empowered to fight back in the dreams. However, I had only began to touch the surface of my issue with fear.
As time went on, it was obvious that my fears had now transferred to everyday life. By the age of 18, I had developed a severe fear of many things. This included cats,dogs, puppies, dying at a young age, crossing the street alone, being in a car accident, the dark, being robbed, being kidnapped, fear of saying the wrong things. Fear would soon become a major issue in my marriage at the age of 21. Every night, the slightest bump or creak in the floor would send me into a panic. I would beg my husband at least 3 times daily to see who's breaking in. This went on for years.
At this point, we served heavily in church. On the outside, I had it all together. But on the inside,I was falling apart. I would pray and pray please Lord take away my fear. Yet, it never worked. In fact, after one of those many prayers, things would get much worse. Until one day, my husband exploded and told me..."You are driving me crazy, we can pray all night and day! But you have to make a choice to no longer accept fear in your life". Say what..... I was thinking well of course, I don't want to be in fear. I thought I had made the choice.
But the more I thought of it, the more I realized there was a part of me that liked fear. Fear was "keeping me safe". It kept me one step ahead. If I was afraid of an accident, I would be more likely to have on a seat belt and follow the laws. Nothing wrong with that...right? If, I was afraid of dogs, I would stay clear.This made it less likely to be bitten.. Which would keep me safe...right? I realized that fear was such a part of who I was in the moment, I couldn't imagine a life without it. I was truly addicted, a fearaholic.
After that day, my husband began to say"no" to my requests to check for the robbers and ghosts in the middle of the night. Enough was finally enough. I was going to have to say good-bye to fear.
I started to find Bible verses that spoke directly to my fear and recite them out loud and over myself. Verses like these became my foundation...
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I began to recognize that fear is a spirit. Chances are, I had allowed this spirit power over me from a child! I found scriptures that told me that with the name of Jesus I had the power to cast it far from my life.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
"These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons" Mark 16:17 a
"Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." Matthew 10:1
From this moment, I realized fear was a choice in many ways. I would either allow it to take over my life, or I would stand in full authority and say "GO". And that's exactly, what I did. I eliminated all things from my life that fed into my fear such as scary movies, etc. Instead, I fed myself with things that built my faith. And whenever I felt fear creep in, I would not accept it. I would proclaim, "In Jesus name, fear you are not welcome in my life".
Today, I stand as a person who is still not perfect. I definitely still have my "moments". It's highly unlikely I will love on your pet pitbull. However, the panicky response of a fear filled person you won't see very often. I recognize, that the life of the fearaholic is not one that glorifies God. After all, we serve a God who is tooo amazing and can deliver us from all afflictions! If God be for me, who can be against me!
I see myself walking in much greater victory now that fear is does not have me bound. There is victory in knowing you can trust God. There is victory in choosing to no longer let fear be your driving force. Let your faith in God and His ability to keep you safe override your fear.