A friend recently experienced fear which literally shook her body. Her question to me, “Was I shaking because I wasn’t trusting God”? Although she would change the wording slightly, it was a question she revisited several times during our conversation. I could tell this weighed heavy on Sarah’s (not her real name) heart; a gal of faith. To discover she lacked trust in her Lord at that moment would wound her deeply.
Sarah shared she was about to undergo surgery, to repair her broken wrist, when her body began trembling uncontrollably in the surgery prep area. It wasn’t a seizure, she simply couldn’t stop shaking. I asked, “If she had any drugs administered?” No. “Had anything out of the ordinary taken place in the preparation area?” No. “Hmm, I said, I don’t know. Maybe… but you have a fairly strong faith. I seriously doubt you weren’t trusting God. But, then again”. Sarah’s question struck a chord inside. This blog is for you, “my dear friend”.
Fear’s a normal necessary emotion. It warns of danger. God in his infinite wisdom gave us the gift, of a fear of falling, from birth. For without that fear we might all have walked off cliffs long before we understood the dangerous outcome of such an action. Other than the fear of loud noises all the fears we possess we’ve learned along the way. We’re going to experience fear; it’s inevitable. While we can’t always control when it will appear, we can manage its effect upon us by our response.
I felt Holy Spirit nudge me to research dehydration and its effects. What I found piqued my interest; shakiness a symptom of dehydration. Hmm, I thought. “What’s one thing we’re all asked to do before surgery”? We’re asked to fast, to refrain from taking in food or fluids for 12 hours or more. The very nature of fasting creates within us a mildly dehydrated state. An internet search revealed many authorities estimate that 60-75% of the population is living life daily in varying degrees of dehydration. If Sarah falls into that statistic, fasting before surgery would place her in the moderately dehydrated… possibly heading to severely dehydrated range the day of her surgery
Life situations which are uncomfortable make us nervous. Adrenaline is activated, and we begin to experience what is known as “Fight or Flight” reactions. It’s why we get a wee bit anxious before an exam, or having to do something out of our comfort zone; or when faced with a dangerous situation. Believe me I’m all about running, not fighting. What happens when you can’t run? What happens when you can’t fight? Could the body begin to tremble some? That energy must be released somehow. Sarah is one of my friends whose desire is to never let anyone know she’s feeling anxious or afraid. Imagine her stress rising as awareness of her body beginning to shake inwardly makes itself known. Her anxious level begins to rise as she wonders what’s happening. She thinks to herself, I’ve never had this before. Perhaps, Sarah silently begins to pray, yet the shakiness builds. Her façade of calm is about to revealed. The shaking is mild in the beginning but as she becomes more aware and tries harder to hide the shakiness the more distressed she becomes and the more she shakes; creating a cycle which culminates in extreme shaking. Soon she can no longer hide as her body betrays her by vibrating from every part of her. Could this have been the cause? I don’t know. But it’s an interesting probability; one worth mulling over.
Interesting thing about dehydration, once the body is fully hydrated most, if not all, symptoms cease. Of course severe hydration has a host of symptoms and effects which might have some long-term effects. We need to guard against dehydration at all costs. The prevention for this malady is simple; drink plenty of water. After all our body is 60-75% water.
Next time I face surgery, which I hope is never, or undergo testing which requires fasting, I think I will bulk up on my water intake for 24 to 48 hours beforehand, making sure I’m plenty hydrated before going without fluids.
Sarah, I don’t believe your trust in God was lacking. But then again, as you know, I’m no authority. It’s possible you experienced a natural bodily response to a normal situation brought on by dehydration, the nerves we all feel before surgery and your need to appear calm and in control; thereby creating a trembling storm.
I don’t wish to ignore your desire for understanding fear vs. trusting in God when faced with difficult situations. I’ll explore this topic further in future postings. In the meantime I would encourage you to take your concern in prayer to the one who can provide you the best answer.
I’ve often heard pastors and preachers say, “Fear and trust cannot occupy the same space”. But is that true? When we as followers of Jesus Christ experience fear, does it mean we’re not trusting Jesus in that moment for the outcome? If every time I experience fear, it means I’m not trusting God, then how do I change the result? How do I go from fear to trust? If the love of money is the root of all evil, is fear the root of mistrust? Lots to ponder.
Thank you for your vulnerability and trusting me with your fears.
Until next time,