My 10-year-old self pulls the covers over my head, now sweating in the already-hot room. I’m protected from the shadows on the wall, and the monster under my bed won’t get me if I’m covered up. My mind desperately tries to figure out how to quit being afraid of the dark. But my heart’s still racing, breathing still heavy, and I softly cry until finally, my eyes close and I drift off into a nightmare-filled sleep.
I used to have panic attacks and nightmares every night. It was so bad it gave me severe stomach pains. I went to numerous doctor’s appointments, regularly saw a counselor, changed my eating habits—nothing helped. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt flawed because I was constantly afraid.
So, maybe you’re not literally scared of the dark like I was. Maybe you’re afraid of the dark parts of our world. You worry about a changing culture you feel you can’t control. Maybe you’re afraid your kids won’t turn out okay. Maybe you’re afraid of living a different life, dedicated to following Jesus. Maybe you’re afraid of what choosing purity will do to a relationship. Whatever you’re fearing, what about it makes you afraid? What does your fear say about you? What does your fear say about God?
It took a lot of processing to figure out how to quit being afraid of the dark. First, I brought light into the situation. Literally. I started using night lights. Maybe you need to bring in the light of Scripture, or godly advice to help you see the truth about your fear. So, tell someone. Acknowledging your fears is the first step—don’t hide!
Then, I faced my fears. I looked under my bed. Nothing was there. I figured out where the shadows were coming from. Were there actually monsters under my bed? Of course not. You can face your fears and fight them head on, too. Are you afraid the world will ruin your family? Go ahead and expose that fear to God’s truth. You don’t have to be afraid of the dark, because you are the light!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Finally, I grew up. I decided to believe I was safe. The more time I spent facing my fear, the more I grew out of it. Yes, darkness was there, but something stronger and better was there too. Love. Once I met Jesus, I realized I didn’t have to hide anymore. Love does that. It’s like what light does to darkness. His perfect, and always present love pushes back all fear. Fear never lets you feel safe, but love never lets you feel alone.
Living the different life of following Jesus will lead into dark places that need His light. We can’t be afraid of the dark, because He’s called us to be the light. So yes, I quit being afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid to be different—whether that means boldly sharing my faith at my university, dating with different standards, or refusing to fear people who are different from me.