Overwhelmed with Dread When There Was Nothing to Dread (Psalm 53:5)

For the last few weeks, I find myself overcome with irrational dread. 

It made no sense; I couldn’t understand it, articulate it to myself, or explain it to others. I tried. I tried to tell people about upcoming events and the dread, but I could never justify it. I wasn’t nervous, unhappy, scared of something, or particularly worried about any concrete things. No. It was just irrational dread, what the Bible even calls a spirit of dread or fear (2 Timothy 1:7). And it was the kind of dread that anticipates some kind of disaster.

It’s no wonder: I think we live more and more in dread because of actual disasters happening around us, and it cultivates the propensity to dread all day long. But dreading doesn’t help anyone, solve any problems, or move us forward. It’s an emotion that freezes you in place and truncates all your fruitfulness and movement outward. It closes you in. It stops you.

I’m driving around, battling this dread, and I remember the phenomenon in Psalm 53:3 of those who lived “overwhelmed with dread where there was nothing to dread.” I remembered the command about not living in dread (Isaiah 8:13); in fact, God Himself is the only One we can fear or dread (Isaiah 8:14). I prayed fervently with my husband that God would remove the spirit of dread and replace it with the power, love, and sound mind solution of 2 Timothy 1:7.

I’m not particularly prone to think about demonic enemy attack, but I know it’s real, powerful, and works to thwart, paralyze, and confuse. I knew some kind of spiritual dread operated because I wanted to quit, shut down, and hide. I wanted to run away from my own life. And it made no sense at all. 

I’m so thankful I sat with the Lord, prayed with Ashley, and thought about what scripture teaches about dread. Now I know what it feels like, what it does in my heart, and how to stand firm against it.

There was nothing to dread.

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