For many years, I struggled with a fear of the dark.
Not just as a child, but even well into my 20s.
You may have heard me mention growing up with three older brothers.
I credit many memories and life lessons to my brothers. I also give them credit for my nyctophobia (fear of the dark). Between the ages of about 7-11 my family lived in a house with a basement. My bedroom was upstairs, and the den where we watched tv was downstairs. Taking myself to bed was always an ordeal for me. I reluctantly scaled each step, knowing once I hit the top, one, two or three of my brothers would be waiting and lurking in the dark to scare me. They would pop out behind chairs or couches; out of a closet; from underneath a table. Whew! It was bad. Clearly this wouldn’t happen every night during that time. Gotta keep me guessing, right? If it happened too much, I would become desensitized and we couldn’t have that could we? Also, to keep me unnerved they would sometimes gravitate outside in the dark and appear with a flashlight on their face outside of my window. It was scary!!
To this day, I prefer to walk into rooms by turning on the lights and also keep lamps on unless I’m sleeping. But for the most part, nyctophobia is no longer an issue for me.
Maybe my experiences and overcoming my fear are why John 1:5 resonated to my core last summer when I heard it.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
I’ve matured enough to recognize that darkness isn’t a simple literal translation of no light. Darkness can also be pain; grief; illness; landing in a season of difficulty; financial hardship; shattered dreams; depression. Whatever you thought of while reading this is probably your definition and/or experience of darkness.
I feel there is so much darkness these days and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. It is pervasive. The devil is working, y’all. Darkness can get so heavy and weigh us down so expertly that it can become paralyzing.
My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. - Psalms 143:3 (NLT)
Am I the only one who feels as if you’re living in the grave sometimes? Again, if we aren’t strictly literal, darkness of many kinds keeps us in the tomb. As Bob Disher’s series has been reminding us: we are in spiritual warfare. And Satan has many of us right where he wants us. And isn’t it often easier to stay there, giving up and remaining in the dark?
No matter what, we must not give up!! God never gives up on us and there’s no way to know when our resurrection time is just around the corner.
Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. – John 12:35 (NLT)
Jesus is our biggest light. But we can also find light in that which He leads us to. Think of what makes you light up. Maybe certain people (or groups of them) make you shine. Purposely find these people and be with them. A support system is essential to coming out of darkness. What about your favorite hobby or activity? Being outdoors. Helping others or giving of yourself. Maybe just putting distractions aside when you are with others. Any and all of that can be so illuminating for ourselves and those around us. Also, stop complaining and keep a positive outlook. Negativity creates more darkness in an already dark world.
If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. – Luke 11:36 (NLT)
I’m not really sure what helped me get past my fear of the dark. Wait. Yes, I am – God in His grace - took it from me. And the fact that I kept going up each step, every night despite the fear. With the help of Jesus, WE are what keeps the darkness away. He keeps us bright. Never stop fighting the battle of the dark. The world really needs a lot more floodlights these days.
Let your lights shine, Sisters!