Getting rid of the monster within
I can feel a little droplet of sweat about to trickle down the side of my face, my hairline beginning to moisten. My whole body is completely covered; only a peek hole is left for me to make sure the coast is clear and allow me a little fresh air. It’s getting stuffy in here, but I am petrified. There goes that little creaking sound again. What if someone’s out there?
If I can just get the guts to run into the next room …
Ahhh, the days of being a small child in a dark scary bedroom!
It might seem a bit far fetched, but that was literally reality for me. I was scared to death of sleeping by myself. I didn’t watch scary movies all the time. I hated them, in fact, and still do. I never had a bad experience either. I was just simply scared of the darkness hiding some big, burly man that was determined to kidnap or hurt me.
I had watched one documentary-like TV show about a couple who got married and moved to a secluded place, and over time the husband got fed up with his wife and one day tried to murder her. He was unsuccessful, but the reality of the situation was ingrained in my head after that.
I can always remember, though, that as soon as I got the courage to burst out from under my blankets and make a mad dash for my parents’ bed I was immediately at peace. I am going to assume that if someone truly wanted to kill me that two measly parents wouldn’t be able to stand in their way, but for some reason I had the utmost faith that they could protect me.
Once I was in bed with my parents I was safe. That’s all there was to it.
Nowadays my worries aren’t quite so terrifying, but that doesn’t mean they don’t cause me stress. In fact, I get stressed out about a lot of things. I have a perfection issue.
Just a few weeks ago I had a big chemistry test, and as I was studying for it, I could not figure out how to do some of the titration problems. I tried and tried, but as soon as I thought I had it figured out, the next one would stump me.
I was tired, frustrated and overwhelmed by my lack of understanding of the material. As silly as it sounds, I wanted to cry because my need for perfection and disappointment with failure was strangling my mind again. I needed help.
Then I suddenly remembered what one of the speakers at Retreat to the Rock (a women’s retreat at Starved Rock Lodge) had said a few weeks ago: “Anxiety/worry is disgusting to God.” At first this seems to take matters a little too far; it comes off very strong and cold, but think about it for a second. God wants us to put our complete faith in him and simply trust He will be there for us.
He wants us to dash out of our monster/murderer laden rooms and snuggle up next to Him, “casting all (our) anxiety on Him, because He cares for (us).” (1 Peter 5:7). Just like being a little kid and having absolute assurance that my parents would keep me safe, I needed to do the same with Heavenly Father.
I never figured out those chemistry problems, but I studied as much as I could and gave the rest to God, asking for peace and a clear mind. I walked into my lecture hall the day of my test pretty confidently, actually despite my uncertainties because I knew I had done all I could and God would be with me the whole way.
I have never aced anything in my chemistry class, but wouldn’t you know it, as I was looking up my grade the next week, I was blown away by the 100 percent that showed up on the screen. My faith had paid off, but it wasn’t my success because I certainly didn’t know what I was doing on my own.
I learned from that experience that I need to get the guts to leave my scary bedroom where I am alone, give up on my own understanding (which is very minimal), and simply rely on God.
I think our young and innocent youth stage seems to be when we were the smartest because we knew that when you have someone bigger and stronger than yourself to snuggle up to, everything suddenly becomes a lot more bearable.
Danae Ross is a freshman at Illinois Valley Community College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.