I light the candles as dusk envelopes the space.
I don’t like the dark.
I see things in the shadows that I don’t see in the light.
I hear things that are silenced in the day.
I’m afraid of the dark.
Fear can freeze us in place; it can bring us to our knees in pain; it can swallow us in a sea of quicksand as it wraps its power around us; it can keep us, forever, in the dark.
How do we stand down from fear?
How do we silence the booming gong screaming in our ears?
How do we choose to move forward when we’re paralyzed in place?
There are so many kinds of fear. Not all of them are tangible (like spiders or needles or clowns); many are of what we don’t “see”: rejection, loneliness, shame, death, loss, failure, insignificance (the list is endless); they’re as individual as we are.
The power of fear has us believing that we can’t beat it. It has us assuming that the worst is barreling, full-force, at us even when there’s nothing concrete to make that viable.
Do we conjure up fear because we’re afraid to trust the good?
Do we believe that our fear is right; that we can’t win?
Do we forget that we are children of God—loved (even when we don’t feel cherished by anyone), extraordinary (even when all we sense is less-than-ness), valuable (even when we don’t see one bit of worth in ourselves)?
We sometimes have bankrupt spirits yearning to be at peace; to feel peace. But then fear screams, “That will never be possible! I own you. You believe in me!”
Moving away from fear isn’t easy. It’s not like flipping a light switch on and thinking, “it’s no longer dark, now I feel safe.” We may live with fears (it’s typical to be afraid of some things or situations), but we don’t have to live by fear.
To move forward we need to acknowledge what we’re afraid of (not the same as giving it power), and (if possible) understand why we have that fear. Then, we can ask for help.
We can say (or cry out, or pray), “This is how I’m really feeling, God: I, often, can’t get out of my own way. I reside in my head a lot more than in my heart and spirit. I’ve learned to be afraid (too often afraid, too often in the dark). Please help me move out of fear, and into serenity and light—Your light, the true light, the light of life”.
Night blankets the world, but I choose to blow out the candles. I take a chance and sit in the dark. I will still be afraid at times—it will be a journey—but I am beckoned to move forward; to step into God’s light; to trust; to believe; to be at peace.