It’s Halloween at midnight. I’m just home from work but not yet in bed because I have to make sure there’s a fire going or I’ll be too cold to sleep. If there is a moon tonight, you can’t tell by looking outside. I’m surrounded by a dark forest beneath a dark sky. The only sound is the slow crackling of the wood and the occasional whine from Bella by the door. She think she has to go out. One glance out into the dark night around us and I’m confident she does not.
It’s a perfect time to think about fear.
I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of scary movies and of being alone in the woods. I’m afraid of the dark and of intruders and psychopaths. These fears make sense to me. Most of them I’ve acquired over the years, by watching movies and tv, by reading the news and novels, and through the stories of friends and family.
Then there are the fears I have because of my own vivid imagination. I’m afraid of stairs sometimes, certain something is behind me. I’m afraid of closets at night if I don’t check them thoroughly first. I’m afraid of unfinished basements and spiders and of walking in my sleep.
And then there are the ones that I just can’t comprehend, the ingrained fears that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to move away from.
I’m afraid of getting fat. I’m afraid of being boring. I’m afraid I’m never going to accomplish what people expect from me, or what I was meant to achieve. I’m afraid I’m never going to even know what either of those things are. I’m afraid that if I ever have kids I’ll be a bad mom, and if I never have kids I’ll regret it. I’m afraid of losing what I’ve gained. I’m afraid of getting old. I’m afraid to disappoint. I’m afraid that I’m never going to be truly, really happy and, that, even if I were, I wouldn’t know what it was.
I’m afraid of going to Hell.
I’m afraid I’m never going to stop being afraid.
It seems to me that we weren’t meant to be this afraid all of the time, that there’s a scripture that says just that very thing. It seems that, if I believe what I say I believe, and if I have faith, then even when I’m still afraid I can be hopeful; I can know that I’m in midst of a process and fear just means I haven’t yet arrived.
And when I start to think things like that, I know that God is still with me and that what I hear is His still, small voice.
And then I’m just a little bit less afraid.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1 Timothy 1:7