I have always been a semi-anxious person. I have memories as a young child being up late into the night, listening to thunderstorms outside my bedroom window, breathing in deep hoping I would calm down. I didn’t know at the time that I was anxious; it feels unfair that a ten year old’s brain could run laps the way my 29 year old brain still does. Anxiety has always visited me in the dark; it is usually at night, when I am trying to sleep. Seems like it has been that way since I was young and it has never really changed.
So now I am a “grown” adult and I find myself a little more knowledgeable but still somewhat vulnerable to it. This year anxiety awakened me in the middle of the night, visiting me with plenty of things to get my mind back on that hamster wheel. Whether it is a work situation, relationship issue, questioning all my life choices big and small, I can always find something to worry about. Anxiety just presents each thing as bait until my mind latches on to something.
I am trying to train myself. I am trying to relearn and unlearn and, truly, take my thoughts captive. It’s just that, in the dark? It is harder to see what is true and what isn’t.
It is like every scary book or movie ever. In the dark, the tiniest sound is terrifying, shadows appear much bigger than what the thing actually is in reality. In the dark, voices seem louder and problems seem larger.
It is no surprise then, that Jesus often refers to Himself as light. It should not shock us that one of the first acts of creation was God separating light from darkness. Experiencing darkness is part of the human experience, like I have written before, without darkness often there is no growth. Without darkness, resurrection cannot happen. But this kind of darkness? It is disorienting, it leads us astray, it causes us to doubt and question. Surely that isn’t what God intends for us.
So I have written a new mantra for sweet Kallie’s brain, in the middle of the night, when most open and vulnerable to attack: don’t believe what you hear in the dark.
See the darkness doesn’t tell a true story. The darkness distorts, it magnifies, it points our eyes where they are not supposed to go. The darkness tries to tell me that all my decisions are wrong. I am doing the wrong thing, I said yes to the wrong thing, I have ruined my life. And the scariest thing is that the darkness can sound a whole lot like Jesus. The darkness can disguise itself, because we cannot see it clearly. It can so easily dupe us into believing it is trying to help.
There are some important facts that the light of day tells us. Nothing is as big and terrifying as the dark makes us believe. The darkness is not that powerful (just turn on a light). Shadows are not the real thing. Those scary noises? Probably just creaking of the floor or your roommate closing a door. Everything is exaggerated in the darkness. Do not make major life choices in the dark.
Light is truth. Remind yourself of truth. Sometimes we need to literally turn on the light and sometimes metaphorically. Search for truth, fight for it. Do not let darkness and manipulation overtake you. All good things are in the light.
John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The sooner we can realize this, the quicker we will be able to identify the lies of the darkness and live in truth. We have been granted freedom from our fears and therefore have the ability to live in the light.