I went through my first haunted house when I was 8 years old. My family had gone to the Enchanted Forest and it took some convincing, but I promised my parents that I would be just fine and that I would definitely not have nightmares.  

My dad and I stepped through the creaky old facade and into a single, dimly lit room. Darkness closed in around us as the doors swung shut with a boom that I could feel all the way down to my Keds. The room was completely empty, except for a 10-foot statue hung on the wall directly ahead of me like a 3-D portrait. It was a sinister imp-like creature with horns and glowing red eyes. I stood glued to my spot, absolutely petrified. My legs no longer seemed to work and my voice left me. All I could do was stand there wide-eyed, searching for a way out. My dad had gone ahead, thinking I was still in step with him, but in the darkness, I had lost sight of him.

I began to cry and I could hear my dad’s voice calling out, “This way. You have to come this way.” I couldn’t see him, but I squinted in the direction of his voice. As my eyes adjusted, I could see a narrow hallway leading out to the next room. The problem was that in order to get away from this terrifying picture, I had to walk directly toward the thing that had me paralyzed in fear, and then to face unknown terrors that surely lay ahead.

It felt like a full fifteen minutes before I could convince my feet to move, but finally I managed to side-step along the wall until I reached the place where I would have to cross the room directly under the picture. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, I saw my dad standing just an arms length away, under the most beautiful, glowing, green EXIT sign.  I mustered all my strength and ran to him as fast as I could. Relief washed over me as he grabbed my hand and led me outside into the fresh air and bright sunshine.

While life is not always like a haunted house, it can feel equally scary sometimes. Have you ever been so afraid of something that you became paralyzed from taking action? Maybe it’s fear of failure, or making a the wrong choice in a difficult situation. Sometimes, simply fear of the unknown can be absolutely terrifying.

When we allow fear to reign, it blinds us from seeing the way out clearly. Instead of walking forward toward our Heavenly Father, we allow fear to keep us immobilized and backed into a corner. In these moments, our minds are focused on our fear instead of on Christ. We are really questioning, “Can I trust that God can see what I cannot? Do I want something better, or will I stay here, feeling stuck and afraid?” Dear friend, the only way out of that dark corner is to grab hold of God’s hand and follow Him out into the fresh air and bright future He has planned for you.

When we submit to the perfect love of Christ, it permeates every dark corner so that all fear is driven out and we are left with the courage and boldness that comes from living in Christ.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7)

Today is the day to decide to stop allowing fear to paralyze you from the great things God has in store for you. In Christ, you have all you need to achieve God’s best for your life. Put timidity and fear aside and take hold of power, love and self-discipline! Go! Even if you have to side-step along the wall to get to Him, God will be there, waiting for you. He will give you authority to overcome all that lays in your path. Exchange fear for faith; trust today and live the life you were intended to live!