Wednesday, October 31, 2007

bogeymen under the bed

I still remember my home in Columbia, South Carolina, and the little bedroom I shared with my older brother. For some reason, I have a memory of running to bed, bare feet slapping the wood hallway floor from the den, until I arrived at the doorway of our room. I calculated the threshold-to-mattress distance, multiplied it by my sudden heart rate increase and divided it by toy obstacles between me and safety (I should have cleaned my room before bedtime). At five years old, it was me against the bogeymen under the bed.

They're still there...unseen monsters that try to grab my feet and threaten my peace. You probably have a few keeping you awake at night. The monster of failure spooks me into thinking that the whole success of my church and family rests on my feeble shoulders. The monster of rejection leads me to read into what other people say or do as an indication of whether or not I am significant. The monster of comparison taunts me with stories of "better" dads, "better" husbands, "better" pastors, "better" friends. When those gremlins grow weary, there are a few others in the closet on standby.

I eventually overcame my dread of the bedtime bogeyman. Today, I overcome resident fears by remembering who I am and whose I am. God brought 1 John 4:18 to mind today: "But perfect love drives out fear." The Father's perfect love for me provides such security that all fear is chased away. All irrational fears (not legitimate ones like the fear of falling into Niagara Falls if I lean over the railing) are tricks of the enemy to call into question my identity. The treat today is that I am loved. That's not just an action; It's a unchanging reality. God overcame monsters, turned on the light and made my path clear because of His great love for me! It makes me sleep a whole lot better at night.

8 comments:

Susan said...

Nicely said....I so remember those imaginary hands that were going to grab my ankles or that were going to reach up from under the bed and get me unless i was perfectly situated in the center of the bed.

stillwaters said...

David, what a fantastic Welcome Home celebration at church this morning for Kaitlin Wade. Her family's story as they have watched God intervene mightily in her life twice (as she reminded you), is such a tremendous testimony to God and his community of believers. (I work at a really big AAirline in Fort Worth and all the Christian employees AROUND THE WORLD have been praying for Kaitlin from the beginning.) I cried as that sweet thing raised her arms in triumph! May God continue to richly bless her. Thank you, David, for that heart you wear on your sleeve. Suzy Finigan

Lewis said...

David,
The trick, for me at least, is knowing which fears are truly irrational. Sometimes that's not as easy as it sounds.

I'm reminded of a Metallica lyric (not the normal thing you see in a Christian blog, I know):
"It's just the beasts under your bed. In your closet. In your head."

As you point out, most of the time there's nothing under the bed or in the closet. They're all in our head. We would do well to think more often about the light of Christ in our minds. Some of us need "Street Lights" inside our noggins....

David Daniels said...

Lewis,
Right on. Great way to get a Mettalica foot in the door! That's a super angle on the topic.

Anonymous said...

"God and fear; love and fear....the only two things in the world.

There's only one evil in the world, and it's called FEAR. There's only one good in the world and it's called GOD/LOVE. It's sometimes called by other names. It's sometimes called happiness, or freedom, or peace, or joy or whatever. But the label doesn't really matter. And there's not a single evil in the world that you cannot trace to fear. Not one.

Ignorance and fear, ignorance caused by fear, that's where all the evil comes from; that's where your violence comes from. The person who is truly nonviolent, who is incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless. It's only when you're afraid that you become angry. Think of the last time you were angry. Go ahead. Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it. What were you afraid of losing? What were you afraid would be taken from you? That's where the anger comes from. Think of an angry person; maybe someone you're afraid of. Can you see how frightened he or she is? He's really frightened; he really is. She's really frightened or she wouldn't be angry. Ultimately, there are only 2 things: love and fear.

You can call this awareness, call it love, call it spirituality or freedom, or awakening or whatever. It really is the same thing."

David Daniels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Daniels said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for posting. I could agree with your comments, but only if I clarified/amplified several points:

First, the only evil in the world isn't FEAR. It's Satan. Fear is the manipulative tool of the Devil. So is insecurity, sensuality and selfishness. Fear doesn't exist by itself. It comes from a first-source: Satan himself.

Second, ignorance is an obstacle for which "knowing" is the solution. But "knowing" is more than just mere cognition. In other words, I'm not released from my fears just because I gain more understanding. What relieves my fears isn't more information. So, simple "ignorance" of facts isn't the problem. It's ignorance of God [and you may be implying this].

In John 8:32, Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." The truth that Jesus offered was Himself. And, only as we "know" Christ--entering into a relationship with Him--that we can be free from fear. The song "Amazing Grace" mentions that "grace my fears relieved." Only knowing the grace of God, experienced through the cross of God's Son, can liberate us from the myriad fears of life. Nothing else.

I appreciate the dialogue.

Leilanni said...

Wow - I can tell by the number of comments that this post really struck something in all of us. Probably because we all struggle with fear in some capacity.

I've come to realize that fear at it's core is a distrust of God and His ability to take care of us or be sufficient for us. That's hard to admit.

About a month ago we found that we were expecting again - what joy! After a long struggle with infertility the first time around to be blessed with a quick pregnancy was more than we could ask for. But soon the fear crept in to steal that joy (what's that verse about the thief coming only to steal, kill and destroy???). My biggest fear was now losing our sweet baby and I really fought a spiritual battle to not let the enemy fill me with fear.

Sadly, we had to face that fear last week when we lost our sweet baby to miscarriage. The grief is unbelievable. But you know what? We're still standing. I was so afraid of this but God has taken care of us every single day in amazing ways. From finding just the right verses to lean on, to being able to share our faith in the midst of loss (my name's clickable if anyone wants to read my blog), to the amazing support of family and friends God has made it clear that He is sufficient and will never forsake us.

What a liar the enemy is! You're right in quoting 1 John 4:18 - Perfect love drives out fear.

Sorry for the long response here - couldn't keep it to myself. Great post!