By Janiya Harrison
Have you watched “Girl vs. Monster” on Disney? If yes, awesome you have a great childhood foundation. If not meet, me in the Tucker Theater and we’ll watch it together. In the movie, the protagonist Skylar is the daughter of two ghost hunters. These ghost hunters capture monsters that cause fear to the human they are attached to. Skylar figures out that that the way to get rid of her monster she must beat her fears. In the same way, we all have our own monsters in life that we must conquer. Some use the acrostic “False Evidence Appearing Real” to define the word fear. This shows how fear can overtake your faith. For some people COVID-19 has been the scariest season of life so far and a test of faith. For Christians, who follow the teachings of the Bible, faith in God’s sovereignty can help us overcome the fears of what the world may bring our way. I sat down with a few students to see how they use their faith to cope with challenging seasons.
“Before this pandemic I had a good understanding of my relationship with Christ. However, with COVID I was able to build a better relationship with Him and get a more clear understanding,” Gardner-Webb ‘24 Hailey Paige said.
We are living in time where fear and faith are being tested. But whenever you look at the picture a little closer we each have been through our own “Covid season”. Anytime our faith is tested it gives another chance to prove our trust in God. Faith is finding assurance in trusting God.
Dillon Barrus shared a time when he had to learn to place his faith higher than his fear. “My grandmother had epilepsy, and she had a seizure in front of me. I had to do everything by myself until EMS got there. My fear came in, and I began to think ‘Oh my, is this the moment she’s gonna leave me?’ But then I allowed my faith to kick in, and I began to speak life into her,” Gardner-Webb ’24 Dillon Barrus said.
Often we allow our fear to take over, and it causes our faith to be pushed aside. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t worry I am with you. Don’t be afraid I am your God. I will make you strong. I will help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory.”
For the longest time I feared not being enough. I lived to meet the expectations of those around me, trying to be bigger and better than the person my family wanted me to be. Anytime that I messed up or had a setback I felt that I had been defeated. I allowed my fear to cripple my mental space. In my experience, spiritual stability and mental stability go hand-in-hand.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Mental health has two dimensions—absence of mental illness and the presence of a well-adjusted personality. Spirituality is also an important aspect of mental health. In the spiritual perspective, a differentiation must be made between cure and healing. Cure is the removal of symptoms. Healing is the restoration of the whole person.
Vice President for Christian Life and Service Senior Minister to the University, Dr. Tracy Jessup said, “I do believe there is a connection between someone’s spiritual health and mental health. One of the reasons being is that in Romans 12, Paul says ‘I beset you brothers and sisters of God that you present your bodies a whole living sacrifice to God. And not be conformed to this world but instead transformed from the renewing of your mind.’ And for that reason I believe that God wants to transform not only our spirits but our minds and bodies.”
As a Christian myself I forget at times I am a flawed human. I’ll get wrapped up into trying to be perfect that I lose sight of what truly matters, what God says about me.
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
The Lord rejoices over you; no matter your fault. He quiets us by showing His love. Grasp this, we praise God for his faithfulness and who He is, but he exults us as well, with loud singing. God stands by the golden rule to treat others the way you want to be treated. He is sufficient and doesn’t condemn us for when we fall down. God’s arms are open to us during our times of fear and always.
It is a choice to choose Christ. Don’t make the decision based off a need to please others. Do it because you feel in your soul that you need him. I came to a place where I knew I couldn’t save myself no longer so I had to give up my ways to someone stronger.
“Take your time. No one can tell you where you should stand with God. Personally, I understand you wanna be baptized and saved but it has to be a personal choice that resonate within you,” GWU ‘24 Ireyona Demary said.
Jessup suggests focusing closely on a relationship with God during through these challenging times. “Stay in the word. It’s very important that prayer and studying God’s word is a part of your everyday life. Cultivate that relationship with Him. As well as surrounding yourself with other believers that are going to push you to better your relationship with Christ,” Jessup said. “Now don’t stray away from everything because we as followers need to be the salt to the earth. So that while we’re still in the world we can be that pillar/that salt in the darkness.”
The beauty of God is that he doesn’t ask you to turn away completely from everything, but to let go of what is holding you back from a prosperous relationship with Him. You can still have fun while being a follower. Let fear go, and find freedom in God and live a beautiful life and find satisfaction in knowing that He is with you always.