October is my favorite. It’s a season for jackets, pumpkins, and spooky movies. Some people have negatively questioned my love of spooky things, but these spooky things have helped me cope with a lot of fear I had as a kid. We often give fear too much power, and Christians are especially guilty of this. In an attempt to turn away from sin, we decided to fear the “other,” choosing to stick to ourselves in our comfort zones; we have begun to fear the people that need to hear our message the most. We see people that are different, and we fear them, we fear that their influence will be “bad” for us, so we just avoid them all together. This is a mindset we have to fight because we are called to “fear not.” Joshua in the bible faced bigger things than many of us will, and God told him over and over to have no fear, to trust God and he would give him victory over his fear. This month is coming to an end, and I have been talking about how the enemy uses fear to try and bring us down. I like to fight back fear, because to fight means that we are active, and we must actively combat fear.
October has been mental health awareness month, if you couldn’t tell, my posts have been tying into mental health. One of the biggest tools Satan uses is the thoughts in our mind. I believe that many of us who fight with mental health are being attacked by Satan. I know this is the hardest battle to face; an unseen force causing you to believe lies about who God has made you to be, but we must fight. Satan is a damned liar, don’t believe anything that contradicts what scripture says about you. Satan wants to isolate you and make you feel like you can’t do it, and the truth is, he’s right. The thing that we all forget, is the power of the resurrection of Jesus. He defeated death, and that same power is freely given to all of us. All this month I’ve been talking about b-horror movies and biblical truths, but today, I want to talk about my personal experience of coming face to face with visceral fear at Woods of Terror and what it taught me about fighting fear.
We must combat isolation.
I was in eighth grade and my friend Alex wanted to go to Woods of Terror. Now my brand of horror is b-movies, cheesy and old fashioned, but knowing my friend wanted to go, I said sure! “It’ll be fun!” I said. We pull up to the place after paying an arm and a leg, his mom drops us off, and we begin walking up. Immediately my anxiety flares up as I hear screams in the distance. We get in and a video plays, telling us the attraction is set up on an Indian burial ground (totally racially insensitive dude, first nations people and they weren’t witch doctors *rolls eyes at nationalism*). After, you walk in, and the first thing you do, crawl in a dark maze. My internal voice just repeating I hate this I hate this. It was terrible, my imagination was making everything ten times worse, and it was already pretty terrible. Nightmares were coming to life and I felt under attack spiritually. Then the worst moment. I got separated from Alex. I was in a great deal of fear and completely alone. I was exactly where Satan wants all of us to be. Alone and afraid.
I didn’t know where to go or what to do, so I prayed. I prayed harder than I had before. I told God I wasn’t going to be able to make it alone, and Alex walked up. In our spiritual and mental battles, we must fight isolation with everything, we are stronger together.
We must combat and take captive our thoughts.
Alex and I took the early exit, and I didn’t look back, the guy at the exit made fun of us, but I didn’t care. Nothing good waited along the rest of the path. In life we have to recognize that the path we are on might not be the best for us, and we shouldn’t listen to anyone trying to make us fall into the wrong things. The hardest part of the night wasn’t the place itself, it was the fear that crept in at night once I was home. I remember lying in bed sweating, replaying the images I saw each time growing scarier and scarier. I was letting my mind run. The I prayed again, I had to cut off these scenes from playing over and over in my head, even tearing off my wristband to sever the connection to that place. Once I took control of those thoughts through prayer, it stopped. The images and the fear, I had cut off the head of the snake.
In order to fight fear, we must take control of our thoughts. With any battle of sin, it starts in the mind. If we let our thoughts grow, they begin to consume us. We have to kill it early, cut it out before it grows strong. This doesn’t mean to avoid everything, it means that we can’t let the things of this world control us or take over our minds. Being in the world not of it. Not fearing people, but seeing people as a creation of God made with purpose. God tells all of us to “fear not,” and all fear starts in our mind. We must walk in confidence, trust, knowing that God has overcome the world and we must take every thought captive before it consumes us.
No matter what kind of fear you may be facing, God is bigger. That sounds like a super churchy answer, but it’s true. I’ve had to face a great deal of fears that have manifested in different ways, and every time I have called on my creator, he has done amazing miracles. I just want to reference one verse that I hope will comfort you no matter what you might be facing. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” That perfect love is the resurrection of Jesus when he gave his life to save all of us. Every fear you face falls at the feat of the savior who had true and perfect love. Our creator, the one who died and rose again for you, has won the battle you are facing. Don’t let fear control you; combat isolation and take your thoughts captive.
Trust in the great love of your victorious creator.