I have had a lot of experience with fear.
I was a fearful child who turned into a fearful young adult. Along the way I learned that fear can't be contained. Like a liquid rather than a solid, it spreads throughout the mind and heart. What began in childhood as a fear of the dark and of strangers spread to contaminate nearly every area of my life. By junior high I suffered sleeplessness and inability to eat over situations so innocuous that the memory of that time causes me to shake my head in regret over lost joy. In my early 20's I began to learn to bring my fears to the Lord and aside from a few glitches in regard to my children (being a parent is terrifying) I've experienced a steadily increasing measure of freedom as I've made the Lord my heart's home.
I've been feeling heartbroken and lonely for the past few months. Surrounded by family, supported by friends; I have nevertheless wept nearly daily over a paralyzing sense of isolation from those around me. I've felt abandoned, and as usual my poor husband has caught the blame. "If I feel abandoned then you must've abandoned me," has been expressed in my attitude and demeanor toward my husband. This idea seemed to be confirmed by the fact that he really hasn't been able to be home much for the past three months because late summer and fall are busy times on the farm.
This morning during my devotion time I finally realized that I am feeling heartbroken over losing my mother and I feel abandoned because she is going to leave me. Indeed, because of her Alzheimer's, she is leaving me a bit more day by day. These negative emotions of abandonment and grief have spread like the fears that I used to harbor. That sense of abandonment has leached out of a container labeled, "Sorrow Over Losing Mom," and has had a negative effect on all areas of my life.
Boxing up emotions and attempting to contain them in our own strength doesn't work. The containers always leak!
Psalm 55 contains the template for how to cope with negative emotions such as fear, grief, and loneliness.
Scripture: My heart is in anguish within me...I said, "Oh that I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest--I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and the storm,"...cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let his righteous fall. Psalm 55:4, 6-7, 22