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Always Afraid of the Dark

I was always afraid of the dark. I look back—where did this terror come from?

I return to my childhood bedroom, covered in sweat and tears; often awoke in the middle of the night to a dark room, as if even when awake I could not escape the night terrors that plagued me. Paralyzed by the imagined shadows swarming over me in the dark

I release a strangled cry, “Mommy?”

Quietly, I plead, desperate for her to hear my call and come to my rescue. My voice is no louder than a muffled whisper. I beg for her to just know that I need saving, for God to somehow telepathically connect us so I don't have to say it out loud or uncover my head from the safety of my blankets.

Here I am, in my present self.

I do not cry for my mother, but I resent walking alone down my street at night.

I don’t hide myself under my blankets, but I do make sure there is still enough light streaming in through the crack under my door when I get ready to sleep.

“I am too rational for this,” I chide myself, “I am no child, there is no excuse to be so scared.”

As a child, you don’t know otherwise. But with almost 18 years under my belt, I should be mature enough to ignore the fear I feel rushing through my veins.

When I walk my dog down the dark street, my heart pounds; pumping in my chest as if I just ran a mile, I almost forget how to walk. Why do I feel so much fear? I stare at my feet, don’t dare look past the limits of my phone’s flashlight.

“It's just trees,” I whisper.

“Anything in there is more afraid of you than you are of them.”

Am I lying to myself? I don’t want to find out if I am or not.

But isn’t it human nature to fear what we cannot see?

We spend the majority of our time chasing out the darkness with the light of our phone screens or flashlights. No one taught us to be this way. We just are.

When did I learn to fear the dark? When did I decide to ignore the history of my life which stands to prove I have nothing to be afraid of? Even though I cried and pleaded for the solace of light, there is not one night I was harmed by the contents within the darkness.

It works a little like faith.

I know the Lord has invested in His history with me; consistently protecting me from the unseen and guiding me through the dark in His glory. How come I disregard His faithfulness in favor of my fear?

That is the question of human nature. Simultaneously, our flesh and spirits go in different directions: the first seeking what is of the world, the latter yearns for our God.

Our spirits go unseen, providing what seems like ample excuse to ignore them, as we do the contents outside our range of vision.

We choose to stare at our feet and give into the flesh’s desire to walk in the fear it is so familiar with.

Fear restricts us into the boundaries of our artificial lights and blinds us to what is outside flashlight range. What God can see, but we cannot, is the basis of faith.

I wonder what might happen if we recognized the dark is simply an opportunity to reach out for His hand, to create a renewed history of trust in His protection.

So maybe next time we are walking in the dark, we might turn off the flashlight and let Him lead the way.

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