Emotional Health • 3 minutes to read
Do you remember the monster under the bed? Or, maybe your monster was in the closet? That big furry, dark, scary thing that waited for you when the lights went down and kept you from drifting off to sleep in peace? You would lie awake in bed—wide-eyed—scared to look at the closet or get out of bed for any reason. The anxiety bubbled up inside you, creating a fear so strong, that sometimes all you could do was shout out, “Mommy! Daddy!” and wait to be rescued.
Even though an imaginary monster under the bed seems like a silly irrational fear, to a small child, a fear like this can be consuming. While preparing to go to sleep, the fear and anxiety stir inside; he hopes that when the lights go out, he can go to sleep without worry. Despite the fact that this monster is imaginary, his fear and anxiety are real.
Through continued help from his parents, he slowly begins to learn how to handle these emotions; and over time, bedtime gets easier. His parents are relieved to see their little one learning how to handle emotions and pray that it sticks. For the most part, it does. Every now and then, seemingly out of nowhere, the monsters come back. His parents find themselves back at his bedside helping him work through the emotions. As they talk with their son, they realize it wasn’t out of nowhere, but triggered by the scary movie he watched or an experience at school. Fear crept back into his life through another experience and triggered the same emotions from the past.
We may not be small children anymore, but we all have monsters. Our monsters look a little different, but they are still there. They are triggered through our thoughts, actions or feelings, causing us so much fear and anxiety, that oftentimes, we don’t know how to move forward; it is paralyzing. Our monsters may come and go, but they’re always there—as an addiction, anger, pain, sickness, or anything that is hidden inside you—creating the turmoil of anxiety and fear every time they arise.
Even as adults, we don’t want to live with monsters under the bed or in our closet, surrounding us with the fear and anxiety they bring.
When your monsters creep up and fill you with these emotions, what do you do? Do you let it consume you? Do you crawl into isolation and use unhealthy coping behaviors? Or, as the monster creeps up in the darkness, do you cry out to your Heavenly Father, “Daddy!” to come to your side and rescue you?
You are not alone. God hears our cries.
Through David’s turmoil in Psalm 18, he reaches out to his Heavenly Father because he knows he is too weak to fight his enemies on his own. He writes:
In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.Psalm 18:6
Amidst David’s suffering, he called out to God; and God came alongside him to fight his battle against the enemy.
You are never alone. God is with you.
When the darkness of your monster is invading, don’t let the fear and anxiety consume you. Cry out to your Heavenly Father for help and arm yourself with tools to combat the enemy’s tricks. Surround yourself with people who care for you, who will help you through this journey. This monster is not imaginary and he won’t go away without a fight.