Surrounded by darkness, alone in my room, covers pulled up to my neck. If I don’t open my eyes, they will think I’m asleep and leave me alone. If I don’t move, I’ll be safe. Just don’t open your eyes.
These are the thoughts of an eight-year-old who just watched the Are You Afraid of the Dark episode about the vampire neighbors (child of the 90’s alert!). I found the episode thanks to the power of the internet. You are welcome…
Fast forward roughly twenty years and I still find myself sleeping with the sheets pulled up to my neck out of childhood habit. No, I am not longer fearful that a vampire will get me in my sleep (thanks Twilight Saga for allowing me to see how vampires are just misunderstood creatures with feelings, too). However, as an adult, I find fear can be equally paralyzing, debilitating, and strangling if left unchecked. While I’ve moved on from Freddie Krueger under my bed, the boo box from Hook, and the homeless man from the Dennis the Menace movie (woah 90’s overload), fear seems to manifest just as frequently as it did in my childhood.
Now, I lie in bed, surrounded by darkness, not alone in my room (hey hubs), covers still pulled up to my neck out of habit, and I feel my heart start to race, anxiety creeping in…what if my students are horrible tomorrow, what if my Zumba class hates my new choreography, did I submit my Master’s assignment, how are we going to afford a new house….failure, disappointment, and rejection have simply replaced thunderstorms, getting shots, and Jaws. For several years, I dreaded going to sleep, knowing the moment my head hit the pillow, fear would immediately grab hold of me for hours on end (especially on Sunday nights).
Finally, in the past year, it hit me- this fear is all rooted in a lack of trust, a lack of faith, a lack of hope in Him. I needed to relinquish my paralyzing desire for control and let go. So, instead of closing my eyes at night and going through the same sleep-stealing cycle, I would begin to pray. I would pray for peace, for trust, and for strength. Max Lucado says, “Fear will always knock on your door. Just don’t invite it in for dinner, and for heaven’s sake don’t offer it a bed for the night”.
Fear can be incredibly crippling to our physical health, too. I’ve heard it more times than I can count - “I can’t dance, so I’d rather get a root canal that go to Zumba”. Or, “I’d love to try paleo, but my husband would hate it”. Or, “You look so great. I would never be able to wear that if my life depended on it.” All I hear is fear. Fear of trying something new, of making a change in life, of finally doing taking time for myself, of failing, of what other people might think. Let. It. Go.
Did you know fear comes from the Old English word for danger. Fear can be healthy if it keeps you from getting attacked by a mountain lion or helps you avoid that oncoming semi. Unfortunately, fear also likes to cling to what truly threatens us. I am well aware that I fear failure and losing control. The way to overcome it? Face it. I constantly pray that I do lose control, that I can let go of the wheel and let Christ drive this ship.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
In today’s world, fear is all around us. Terrorists, shootings, and wickedness are happening daily in our country. Yet instead of responding with fear, I put my confidence in Christ. I grasp courage as I stand next to my God and chose to embrace light and joy and His goodness.
Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.
1) What fears are polluting your spiritual and physical health? Take some time and write down three today.
2) Pray over them for deliverance and courage, and ask yourself what they represent. How are they limiting you?
3) Face your fears. Do you fear what others will think of you? Do you fear being judged? Do you fear failing yourself, your family? If you are afraid of failing your health journey, I’d love to support you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about ways you can kick those fears in the stomach.
Be courageous, be well, and have a marvelous Monday!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!