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Facing Monsters Under Our Beds, In Our Closets, and in Our Dreams

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've been revisiting the old fear monsters lately. I didn't want to; they just sort of crept up on me.

I’ve wrestled with different types of fear my entire life. My parents separated when I was six. I had nightmares until I was in college related to the fear that many kids believe, and that’s that they are somehow responsible for the break up of their parents. Not true, yet many kids feel or have felt this way.

I was very sick and hospitalized when I was in second grade. In 1963 children were on wards and in beds next to each other, (at least it was my experience). The children on either side of me died. I became afraid of death. My brother died when he was 27 years old and I was 29. I became even more afraid of death.

I experienced a lot of other reasons to fear in my lifetime: car accidents, my own children’s illnesses, the death of friends, the death of other family members. The list goes on and on. I’m 56 now and I’m not afraid most of the time. Do I occasionally let my fears slip in? Yes. One of those fears is sometimes related to my writing. Jody Hedlund posted a blog recently that addressed those issues here. As Jody mentions it's important not to let our fears paralyze us, push through it. One of my favorite writers in the general market is Laura Kinsale who experienced the full out anxiety that can attack those of us who write. She shares a snippet of this experience on her website where she talks about the Renegade Muse.

I’m not able to banish my fears completely, but I finally figured out that no matter how hard I try, in my human strength, I cannot keep bad things at bay. Sometimes it helps to remember good advice such as Overcoming Fear of Failure. I don’t have control. God does. All I can do is the best I can do, trust God for the rest, and remember the mustard seed.

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 NIV

So have faith, not fear. Peace, not fear. Trust, not fear. Hope, not fear.

In my counseling Bible, The Bible for Hope, NKJV, the introduction to Numbers talks about fear. The first paragraph states, “Fear can immobilize. Fearful people often do not think straight and run off in the wrong direction to escape the source of their fear. The world can be quite scary, and at times, Christians will become afraid. On those occasions, they can either run away from God, thinking that he cannot handle their fears, or they can run to God for protection.”

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV). 2 Timothy 1:7

Question: What are you afraid of? How do you cope with your monsters?

All photos courtesy of photobucket.


  1. I can so relate. I struggled greatly with fear for much of my life. Not as much now, but like you, sometimes it still creeps in. The most potent thing I've found to combat it is the Word of God--sometimes from memory, sometimes literally sitting down with my Bible and reading until the fears flee. I'm being especially challenged again when it comes to writing. And I think that's exactly what the Lord intends so that I continue to rely on Him and not on my own strength!

  2. I can come up with a list of fears, or a list like yours of moments that potentially define my life. But the older I get, the more I want to trace the line of joy that brings me to each moment and grab hold of what drives me closer to God. Even in difficult circumstances joy bubbles up if we are expecting it, rather than having already scratched it off the list.

  3. Hi Anne,
    I'm recognizing that I'm especially vulnerable to this fear after being sick for the past three weeks. Just a rotten sinus infection, allergies, etc., but those things sap my energy. I'm blessed to be off from my day job for a few more weeks for the college summer break, but the illness = major frustration. You are so right though about relying on Him and not myself. I'm struggling with issues around my writing as well. My life verse is 2Timothy 1:7. I need to wrap that around me.:)

  4. Hi Olivia,
    I love what you said, "joy bubbles up if we are expecting it, rather than having already scratched it off the list."

    That is sooooooooooo true! Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes multiple responsiblilites just overwhelm, but I should know by now to cling to God and not the worry.

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