How does the spirit of fear operate? I'm sure it it different for everyone. Here is what it looked like for me:
I was unprepared for how I would truly feel after my husband came home from jail. I knew in my heart that God was all over this situation. I knew and still know this was His plan for our life. While my husband was in jail, the closeness we felt with God was amazing. We felt his presence in every aspect of what was happening. Then, he came home. I would say for the first two months we had the 'honeymoon' phase. Even though we were given some extenuating circumstances to deal with, we were still riding the 'God is there in everything' wagon and felt secure in our faith. Then, little by little, I started waking in the middle of the night gasping for air and paranoid beyond belief. Thoughts would race through my head - "Where is he?", "What did I just hear?" "Did he just come back to bed?" "What if?... What if?... What if?... WHAT IF!!?" - some nights he would still be awake when I went to bed, I'd lay there awake watching for shadows to walk past my bedroom door and into the kids room. For over two years this went on and on... sleep was a far reach. Then sleep deprivation started and made the fear worse. I tried to take naps only to fear every footstep I heard, every time the furnace would kick on, even the silence was suspicious. So I stopped just laying there, I started to get up and search around the house for anything out of place. Triple checking that the kids were sleeping and all was well. - Then came the confrontation with it, no longer where these thoughts in my head, now, they were coming out of my mouth. Accusations flew everyday maybe even every hour on a bad day. I demanded to know every second of his day and didn't even believe him when he told me. I would scream and cry. Fear was now ruling my day. Every time he would talk to the kids or even look at them thoughts would race through my head, "What is he thinking?", "Why is he playing with them?", "What is his true motive?" and on and on. Then they came out of my mouth... and not in a nice way. Looking back, I know I hindered his relationship with our children, he just stopped playing with them, stopped acknowledging them altogether really and at the time it suited me just fine.
I can remember thinking that the rest of my life would be like this. That this was what I had signed up for when I chose to stay. A nightmare in my own mind would replay itself all the time and this was going to be my life.
Then one day, by the grace of God himself, I was led to 2 Timothy.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
We are not given a spirit of fear... I read. A few thoughts raced through my mind, "I can choose what I am ruled by?", "God didn't give this to me?", "With God, this can get rid of?", then the big one hit "Internally, when I chose to follow Christ, the chains of the world were taken off, no longer did I have to be a slave to the things of this world in the spirit realm... I am allowing this to happen to me."
No more, no more was I going to sit there and take this abuse from the spirit of the world. No more, was I going to sit there and wonder when the next bomb was going to go off. I prayed "Lord, this did not come from you. I am yours. Spirit of fear you have no place in my life, I command you leave me, leave this house - In Jesus' name... and guess what, that name has power and you kinda have to do it cause this is Christs property... get out!" (something like that anyway) - Peace like a river flowed over me. Did he try to come back into my life? Many times. Did he win some nights? Absolutely. Did I sleep better? Most nights.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
No matter what the spirit of fear looks like in your life, realize this... This is not from God, this is not of God. Do not allow pride or ignorance to blind you, realize this is a battle not of flesh and blood, even though it affects you physically... the battle is to be won in the spirit realm.
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.