Shoving my brother forward and shouting, “No, take him!” and watching as the vampire dragged him into the coffin, the lid creaking shut, and the scary haunted house sounds echoing around me was seared into my memory one Halloween during my elementary years. I’m sure my dad thought we would have fun being scared silly.
I think I just slunk into the dark and wanted to hide. To make a fool of myself in a room is bad enough. To be heard by everyone outside and coming out to hear their laughter is humiliating. I’d done the cowardly thing, and everyone knew it. The worse part was that the vampire who had frightened me was my uncle. Not recognizing him only deepened my shame.
No matter how scared I was, protecting my younger sibling should have come before self-preservation.
Fear and shame—such ugly emotions—can be stamped into our memories. Thankfully, we can be redeemed from our past. When we ask God to forgive us, He does. In doing so, He forgets our failures and gives us a clean slate. That is such a blessing. Opposites of fear are faith and trust, and the opposite of shame is honor. We get second chances, multiple chances, to change our actions and reactions.
We all learn from our mistakes and our embarrassing moments. Despite them, we need to move on, try new things, and embrace life.
Still, when life gets overwhelming or scary, I often go into default mode. Rehearsing scenarios in my mind, I’d like to think I’d be the heroine, but who really knows? I always hope I will stay calm, say the right words in difficult situations. Often though I lose patience, lose my temper, raise my voice. Sometimes I just cry.
Why in certain situations do we revert back?
When I am afraid, why can’t I just remember that God is with me so I am not alone? Proverbs 29:25b promises that “whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”. Whether bad news frightens me or a scary monster of my imagination, God knows the outcome and will walk with me through it. Like the saying goes, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear just blows everything out of proportion and often borrows trouble that isn’t there or wastes time. How I hate to waste time.
Decades later, I still have no desire to be dragged into a coffin. My brother doesn’t seem scarred by the incident. And yes, at the time, it was embarrassing, but now we can laugh about it and know that taking highly imaginative and sensitive souls into such places isn’t recommended.
Remember God loves you, and He will always be there for you and with you.
What scares you?