An unwelcome guest climbed into bed with me last night. No, it wasn’t our spoiled dog (I lost that battle a long time ago) or one of our kids nursing a nightmare. It was something more sinister. Something dark. Something ancient.
It was fear.
Have you noticed that fear is a night owl? It seems to awaken as we’re trying to fall asleep. Dancing on the bed. Ripping off the covers. Screaming all our unknowns, regrets, and worries at such volumes that the sheep we’re trying to count get scared away.
What am I afraid of? Well, you see, that’s the funny thing. I’m not really sure. Last night it was a parade of random things:
The weight of my new job.
The guilt that seems to come with parenting.
The thought of the Democrats winning the election.
The thought of the Republicans winning the election.
The fact that I’m the father of a teenage daughter.
The unrest in the Middle East (and my pending trip to Israel next month).
The skyrocketing national debt and what that means for the future.
What if I mess this up?
What if my kids struggle?
What if the economy collapses?
What if Andrew Luck is never as good as Peyton Manning? (This is serious, folks).
Fear has a loud voice. And no matter how beautiful your circumstances or how deeply you’re rooted in the truth, it has an uncanny way of grabbing your attention. Focusing you on potential mistakes and future unknowns.
And a little healthy fear is a good thing. It keeps us focused, alert, on task, thinking about the future and wisely adjusting course for the inevitable contingencies that will come. But most of us serve our fears, we don’t harness them. We allow our imagination to project the worst possible outcomes and then we bow down in worship.
And frankly, I’m tired of doing that.
We’re going to face plenty of hardships and trials in this life. We’ll make some bad decisions, things will happen beyond our control, and outcomes won’t turned out like we planned. But there’s no sense in facing the fears we’ve fabricated. What a waste of energy! It’s time to expose those voices in your head as the liars that they are.
I’m told the Bible commands us to “fear not” 365 times. One for every day of the year. Here’s one of my favorite:
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
-John 14:27 NLT
Take that one to heart today. And then sleep well tonight.
What are you afraid of? Are your fears night owls like mine?