Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Scared of the Dark
When I left off last time, I thought I might tell Barry McGuire's story about how surrender to God's will instead of our own can be our best weapon, but because I haven't seen it in print, I'm not sure that's a good idea. So, instead, I'm going in a little different direction.
When I was a single mom, in my early twenties, I practically had the police department on speed dial. At night, I often lay in bed listening to strange noises. My mind would start playing tricks on me, convincing me an intruder was trying to break in or might even be in the house. So, I’d call the police and they'd come take a look. The officers were always so nice, but once they left, the terror would begin building all over again.
Leaving a light on helped, but only a little. Many nights, my fears got the better of me.
Fast forward to being completely alone when my 18-year marriage came to an end. Hating the idea of those dark nights, I asked my friends to pray that I’d be able to sleep. But then I heard God’s Living Voice speak through Psalm 139:23. “Even the dark is as light to God. Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
Now, every night it's pitch black when I snuggle under the covers and talk to Jesus. He’s closer than my phone and according to the Bible can send a legion of angels to protect me any time I ask. As a result, I haven’t called the police once in over a decade.
Not even one dark night when screeching metal-upon-metal noises woke me with a jolt. At first I thought it was an earthquake. Then I heard voices coming from the dining room—men laughing, talking loud as though they didn’t care who heard. Knowing the police couldn’t come fast enough, I huddled under the covers trembling and praying—until I fell back to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke surprised to be alive. Checking, I found the dining room undisturbed. But when I stepped onto my front porch, I found car parts strewn across the lawn. Tire tracks raced up the curb and across the grass, swerving a mere inch from the dining room, back across the sidewalk into the street. The voices must have been the drunken bravado of those fools as they realized how close they’d come to crashing into my house.
My fears of the unknown have been quite similar to those fears of the dark. And, to be honest, I’ve struggled with them a bit these past two weeks. The job offer that involved travel to SE Asia finally materialized. At first I dealt with finding the courage I needed to take the job.
Once I surrendered to that idea, I began examining the position with more objectivity—more light. That’s when the idea of turning it down became even scarier. I almost took it for the money and the title, Director of Communications. At first glance the responsibilities seemed a perfect fit, as well as a good challenge. But with increasing visibility, I realized they lacked many of the opportunities I love the most. Plus, it involved duties I can do, but would rather not. The reality is--I love America. I'm passionate about America. I'm not passionate about SE Asia and don't want to focus on it for the remainder of my career, the way the owner of the company rightfully expected me to.
The reality is, the more I rest in my Savior's arms, the more dependent upon Him that I am--the more courage I have to face the future in the brilliant light of reality. Perhaps that explains Barry McGuire's statement that "surrender is the best weapon we have.” With that attitude we can fight against the self-absorption that keeps us locked inside our fears.
Tomorrow, barring unforeseen circumstances, I'll explore more about not reacting to our circumstances but the value of being proactive.