#110 Prison FEAR! (retro)

March 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

Prison Fear: Pt 1

This week I wanted to try to blog on some things that many of you have either emailed me about, or privately had in your hearts regarding prison issues. Fear.

I thought it might be a good idea to talk about different fears that we have, and how we can fight them. Lots of times people think a fear is something you have to just deal with, a burden you have to carry. That is not true. Fear is a form of bondage that keeps you from expecting the best, and heck, anything that prevents you from doing or being your best is not good.

But we live with it all the time, and in fact it is encouraged. Our society is mainly built on creating fear. Lots of commercials start out by creating a fear in you, then attempting to solve that answer with their product.

In prison issues, there are many fears that plague mothers, wives, girlfriends, grandmothers, pen pals and all kinds of folks. I thought I would try to spend a week covering five different forms of fear, and how you (we) can overcome it.

Now remember as I get started here, I am speaking only out of experience and my intent is to try to create some venues for you to think over. Every person is different, so we all look at things in slightly a different way. But having said that, we are all human, and subject to similar things. For that, we have much in common.

Now, I broke this discussion into 5 subjects, as in the following:

Part One: Fear of going to prison.

Part Two: Fear for a loved one in prison.

Part Three: Fear for loved ones outside prison (for inmates).

Part Four: Fear of not being loved.

Part Five: Fear of getting your life back after prison.

I hope to be able to discuss each part as we go along, but since this is the first part, let’s get right into it.

Fear of going to Prison

This is actually pretty timely, because I have noticed that every now and again I get a reader who finds my blog that happens to be in this situation. I have had many over the course of a year or so, and I understand the worry they have. There is indeed a great sense of fear that they will be going to prison soon, and wanted to know what to do.

Now actually this can be broken into two parts, the fear that you ARE going to prison, and the fear that you MAY go to prison. There is a difference, although the novice might read it and think, “what does it matter? If they broke the law, then they ARE going to prison.”

Not so.

We usually think of fear as the man-made ideals, where the impossible does not exist, where whatever bad happens to you, you just have to suck it up. And in many times that is true, but fear is based on the idea of destroying the mentality of a human. It is not God’s idea for us to be in fear of anything…

“Now wait a minute. The Bible has lots of scriptures of fearing God”

Yeah, that is true, but that FEAR is not man’s kind of fear. We’ve been watching too many horror movies and have the idea that fear is about terror. God is not like Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) out to “get you” if you are not fearing Him. The godly fear that the Bible talks about is the Fatherly respect we should have for God.

Think about that. God, as our Father, does not want His children to be in terror of Him. Would you want your son or daughter to be in terror of you? You want them to respect you, but you never want them to be afraid of you…if you love them.

When my nephew was a baby, I had a great time playing with him, but when he was a little younger, he would cry when I held him. It kinda broke my heart because I always hated to see babies cry, and it seemed that he was afraid of me. Now I was probably over reacting, but it affected me. I didn’t want the baby to be afraid of me, because if he was afraid of me, then I could never play with him. But it didn’t take long before he got used to me, so much that my older brother called me “Superman”, because when my nephew had any problems, he would crawl over to me because I could fix anything.

I’ll take this a step further. During those times, when my nephew was about a year old or so, I would be sleeping in my bedroom when he would come looking for me. Now, he slept with his dad in another room in the house, and our house was pretty big. My bedroom door never seemed to lock when you close it, meaning you could just push on it and it would open. Many times I would be half sleep and I could hear somebody crawling down the hallway…you know the sound of swishing diapers when you hear it. My brother would let him find me, knowing that the kid knew EXACTLY where I was.

I would hear something hit the door, then slowly push it, and then I hear a baby sound, as if he “found me”. He then would crawl directly to my bed and pull himself up on the side. I tried to keep my eyes closed, hoping he might think I am sleep, but I realize I am fooling myself and I open my eyes. The second he sees me, he breaks out into a big smile, knowing that I am up. I would then pick him up and bring him in the bed with me and we would play a bit before I decided to get up.

See, that is a kinda child like love God wants from us. He does not want us to be in terror of Him, because He loves us far too much. But too often we associate fear with terror when it comes to fearing the Lord, when what we should be doing is respecting Him greatly.

So there are different definitions of the word “fear”, but in this discussion we are talking about the fear, or terror, one can have involving going to prison. Now, as I mentioned before, this can be broken into two parts, either fear that you ARE going to prison, or fear that you MAY go to prison.

In either case, we can fight both.

Before I get started, let me support this with a scripture that may help. If you have ever read Psalms 34, there are two scriptures you may want to remember from it:

Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivered them.

Now there are several more great verses, in fact I suggest reading the entire Psalm, but this gives us something to work on. This Psalm was very, very helpful to me when I was in county jail, wondering if my life was over. I spent a lot of time reading many scriptures, trying to see what my fate in this life would be. As you know, I spent almost 17 months there before going to prison. I was in great fear of whether I was going to prison, and if so, how long.

That kinda puts me in the middle of what we are talking about, whether you MAY go to prison, or that you ARE going to prison. And these were very difficult times for me, because I had no one I could talk to. In that single cell, I had nobody that I could speak with about my faith or if there was any possibility that God would even hear me, or if He would even care. When you are isolated from other people, it also isolates you from communicating with them in a positive way, which can affect your faith. But I suppose it goes the other way too, you are also isolated from negative thinking, which can give you a chance to build faith.

Psalms 34:4 says that if you seek God, He will hear you, and deliver you from fears. But I wasn’t quite thorough with that…it said ALL fears. But how can that be? How can God possibly deliver you from ALL fears, it just isn’t possible, especially if you have messed up and are looking at doing time, right?

Hey, I didn’t write the Bible, I am just sharing what it said. But I am also sharing what I went through, in a very, very difficult time. When I came across that scripture, I had an immediate choice…believe what it said, or question it. This is the beginning of conquering fear, when you choose to believe what the Bible says.

If you are looking at doing time, and you are in great fear of that, then you must be very careful that you are not giving fear place in your life. Now some might argue that fear is good…in fact we talked about the fear in the Lord, and even the second scripture I gave you indicates that. But we are not talking about TERROR, we are talking about Godly respect for God. As His children, God does not want His children hiding under ever tree or living in deathly fear of what God will do to them.

This includes everybody, including those who made a mistake and are seeking help. Lots of us make mistakes that we truly regret, but man often times does not seek forgiveness. You only have to look at how the sports media has been hanging A-Rod to see that.

But God is different. If you are willing to believe it, He WANTS you to come to Him when you mess up. How else are you going to be forgiven if you don’t? And better still, God is willing, if you believe so, to help you either get through the problem, or overcome it altogether.

The 4th verse says that God can deliver you from ALL your fears. I bet there are people reading my blog right now that are afraid of either going to prison, or have resolved that they ARE going to prison, but fear what goes on in prison.

Believe me, I know both sides of that. Jail is one thing, because you can be in jail and not be guilty of anything. But once you go to prison, it means that whatever you did, you were judged guilty, (even if you were innocent…get that). So I sat in that cell afraid of going to prison, but also worried about all the stuff I heard about prison.

These are the times I fed myself with scriptures, and was determined to find some faith, and not buckle down to the fear. There was nothing in fear but torment, and that was not good at all for me, and it won’t be for you. If you are worried sick about going to prison, or what it is going to be like in prison, you are already in torment.

So how do you conquer fear in such a situation? Well, you have to force yourself to take your eyes off the problem. This does NOT mean total ignorance, it means acknowledging what is going on, but not giving place to it. You know what I mean?

How many of you, in the midst of your problems, spend more time talking about the problem than talking about faith? It’s quite simple to see, just sit down for a minute and write out your feelings. Or if you make posts on some site, read them. Or if you email others, read your emails. Look and see what you are talking MORE about. If you spend 2 paragraphs talking about the problem, and two lines talking about God’s promises, you are looking more at the problem…and giving place to it, than to God. You can’t do both and overcome fear. This is where that first part of the 4th verse comes in, “I sought the Lord”.

You can’t seek two opposites, because your eyes will be fixed on one, or the other. You can’s seek faith and fear, it is either one or the other. Fear causes you to focus or to look, at the problem. Faith causes you to look at the solution. If you are seeking solutions, you have to look for it. Now that sounds obvious, and anybody can say that nobody would willingly look for bad things…but we do it all the time.

You may not WANT to go to prison, but how often do you spend talking about the problem? You may be going to prison and might be afraid, so how much time do you spend worrying about getting in a fight or something like that?

It happens, because fear comes on the best of us, but you have a choice of how you take that feeling. If you are going to fight it, you have to make the decision to seek God. By doing that, you are taking your eyes off the problem and focusing on God. Why is that important? Because the next part says, “and He heard me”.

If you are worried about prison, seek God because if you do, He will hear you. But this is where a lot of people stop. It’s like a lot of us when we pray, we ask God for something and then we take comfort only that He heard us…and that is good enough.

Well…is it? I mean, you prayed for SOMETHING, if you took the time to ask God for something, how about waiting to receive it.

“Well I don’t know about that, it’s up to God if He wants to answer our prayers…”

Where is THAT in the Bible? God never said that if you pray, He will decide whether you should receive or not. And if He never said that, then why do we pray and act like it’s good enough that He heard it? There is another part that comes when He hears you…He answers!

The end of that verse says “and delivered me from all my fears”. If you are scared sleepless about going to prison, or if you ARE going to prison, and worried about life behind those walls, get this verse in you and get it in you good. This was a very important scripture to me and it helped me find some level of calm in a very scared body.

God can deliver you from you fears…ALL OF THEM.

Which is interesting because the 7th verse says that God sends an angel to deliver you, or to save you. But it says that it encamps, or settles around, those who FEAR God. Well that might be confusing, because how can God deliver you from ALL fear, when one of those fears is to God Himself?

It is confusing if you don’t know who God is, because if you don’t, then you might see God as some Almighty Force that does not hesitate to rain thunderbolts at every person that is the slightest bit out of His will. A terrible taskmaster that expects every person to be perfect, lest He brings His awesome wrath upon us….

Is that how you see Him?

Or are you looking at Him as a very loving Father, who loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son for the sins of the world, so that we might be able to be reborn and in His love. When God lost man through Adam and Eve’s sin, He could not bear being separated from us. He loves us THAT much.

A loving God…not a taskmaster. A taskmaster you fear, or are in terror of, but a Loving Father you respect in the highest degree.

That is what the 7th verse is talking about. The angel protects those that respect God in the highest degree, and delivers them.

You ever look up the word, “fear”? According to my Oxford American Dictionary, fear is defined as two things:

An unpleasant emotion caused by the nearness of danger or expectation of pain.

The reverence of awe felt for God.

Notice the difference? The first is based on terror, the second on respect. Now it is possible for people to be in terror of God, to be sure, but I suggest to you that a Loving Father does not want His children to be so afraid of Him that they won’t come to see Him when they need His help.

When my nephew was a baby, he always sought me out because he knew if he came to me, I would pick him up. I always played with him and had a great time with him. Even when my older brother and the kid’s mom were there, and in a room full of people, he started to get sleepy and crawled a little maze through the living room to get to me, and looked up to me with sleepy eyes. I smiled as I picked him up, because he knew that I would do that. But would he have done that if he was afraid of me? Of course not.

If you love somebody, then there is no fear at all, not the terror kind. God wants us to be the same way, to seek Him out not in terror, but in love. If we do that, then He will hear us, and THEN He can do some things for us. But it’s hard to do that if you are worried about the next move the lawyer is going to make, or when you might be sentenced. I am not saying to ignore it, but you must make sure that your eyes are on God.

Now, what if you KNOW you are going to prison; does this change anything? Well, it is still the same. Some people can have faith to be delivered from prison, it happens a lot. Some people may not, but will still need the faith that God can protect them while in prison, or, before they are sentenced, to get favor in the judgment. I know a bit about that, although at the moment I was sentenced, I truly thought God had failed me. But that was part of a long spiritual battle I had, one I have shared with you before.

Fear of going to prison can grip you like a vice, and squeeze the life out of you. It is pure torment and can cripple every single day you have, because you are not sure of the unknown. I urge you to take time and read Psalms 34, and read it believing that this is God’s word and is just as real today as it was the moment it was inspired by God to write. What you are looking at is a promise from God…He promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him, and He will deliver you from your fears….ALL of them.

It promises that God will send an angel to protect you if you give God first place, and will deliver you.

If you are going to fight fear, you need to do the exact opposite of what you are doing now, which is giving place to the circumstances. It’s gonna take a little effort on your part, to first believe that things CAN change, and then to put some faith in it. But you can do it, you CAN do it.

Look, I understand how some of you feel, I have been there, and I certainly don’t say this as some guy coming down from the mountain. I might well be the least of all those who write on prison issues, I certainly have been treated like one. But I truly feel in my heart that there are a lot of people who need a little help, and I wanted to do something that might be useful to you. Last night I thought about it, and the thought came about doing a week-long blog on fear. It seemed like a good idea, so I just kinda thought about the basics of what to say, and decided to let my heart take over once I start writing.

I understand that this isn’t for everybody, and ironically, I am not writing this for those who know it all. I mean, if you know all this, you don’t need me anyway. I wrote this because there are a lot of people who read my blogs that are hurting, either personally or for someone they love. I know we don’t live in a perfect world, and I won’t win any awards for being so great, but I do care enough to try to help if I can.

So next time I hope to blog on the fears that many of you have for a loved one in prison. I wanted to also thank those who have been reading my blogs and either emailed me to say thanks, emailed me to ask a question, emailed me to ask about my books or emailed me to ask how they can support my blogs. It is all greatly appreciated.

If you’re new, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com. Until next time.


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#109 On Demand Prison Help (for hire) #111 God and ex felons

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