It’s that time of year again…Halloween. To be honest, our family kind of lives under a rock when it comes to this holiday – we rarely dress the kids up, and if we do, we head to a church or school harvest party instead of trick or treating. I don’t have any major issues with trick or treating or dressing up, I just take issue to the dark side of Halloween. My girls are totally grossed out by all of the evil yard decorations and creepy costumes, and even though October always produces great conversations between the kids and I about the difference between hearts filled with the Holy Spirit and hearts that do not yet know the light of Christ, I still wish that the fear-based yucky side of this holiday didn’t have to creep into our lives.
Fear is a strange thing, isn’t it. It can grip you in an instant, wrapping icy cold tendrils as sharp as barbed wire around your heart. Anxiety can steal your joy, making you dizzy with worry and stress. And don’t get me started about real-life fears – those things that have either happened to us or to a loved one, their harsh reality making it impossible to brush off the fear we feel as being “unrealistic” or “just our imagination running wild.”
I have many fears – some of which I will likely pass on to my kids and others that I hope they never feel for themselves. One thing that I am deathly afraid of is spiders. I mean, who isn’t totally freaked out by them, am I right? My girls are starting to get freaked out when they see them, and while I of course wish they did not get that from me, I also know that there are far worse things to pass on to my kiddos…like the fear/anxiety I feel when I am in certain social settings, or the stress that comes from watching your kids go through something awful.
2 Corinthians 2:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
I love that, don’t you? That is what we all crave – to be free from the fears and worries that hold us captive.
The Bible is chock full of great reminders that we can press into when we are feeling anxious or afraid.
How about this gem:
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Or this one:
Romans 8:15 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.“
We have been granted freedom to turn fear out and give it the boot, so to speak. When we take a moment to realize that we serve a God that knows all things and has power over all things, there is great comfort available for the taking.
But yet…even with all of those inspiring and comforting promises to hold onto…it can still be so hard to let go of the fear that holds us down. I have come to find that when we “turn off the dark” and turn on the light – illuminating our fears with truth and speaking them out loud for all to hear – that thing we were so afraid of loses some of it power. By acknowledging it and not letting it burrow deeper into our souls under the cover of silence, we take away its ability to isolate and even condemn us.
Asha has been gently nudging me to share one of our family’s most trying and heart wrenching moments with you, dear readers, for a long time. I have resisted, partly because it is painful and partly because I felt like I really had nothing to say. But as time has worn on and as I have watched God use her story to bless others and give them encouragement, I have come to see that there is beauty and restoration and peace that can come with letting people into your pain and your fears – both for you and for them. So stay tuned next week for the story of how our family was changed in an instant. In the meantime, I challenge you all to find ways to shine the light on the dark fearful places inside you that have been controlling you for far too long. Have that difficult conversation. Forgive that person. Commit to trusting God for our nation’s future instead of worrying each day about the state of affairs. Whatever it is, and however fear has wormed its way into your lives, take away its power today and turn toward the illuminating and freeing light of the Lord. I will join you there!