Fear and Fluttering Curtains

Swimmers Frolic – MN Landscape Arboretum Sculpture Garden

When I was a child, there was closet next to my bed with a simple cotton curtain covering it.  The curtain would flutter with any movement of air. At night I would be terrified.   I worried a man was hiding there. Which meant, I would stay in bed, instead of getting up to use the bathroom, until I couldn’t wait any longer. A second danger lurked in a large closet which had plenty of room for a person to hide.

I would jump past the closet near my bed, than I’d take a leap across the distance in front of the other one, reversing it all on my return. Back in bed, I still  worried a man was hiding in the closet, wondering if it was safe to go to sleep.

In my defense, our home regularly had strangers looking for my parents. The business part of our resort was attached to the house. My dad would be off on a run to town, or working elsewhere, while my mother was doing the wash,  or cooking a meal. Strangers would wander into the kitchen, or go even deeper into the house, looking for my mom or dad. 

My older sister never seemed worried that a man might be hiding in our closet. Her extra four years of age had given her a certain degree of confidence. She knew, that my parents did a good job of protecting their family.  Among other things,  they were good at redirecting  people  who made it  into our living quarters.

Fear can keep us captive. We avoid ordinary gifts of life out of fear. Fear of the future will keep us clinging to the past. Fear will keep us from going places or trying new things. Fear of rejection, will keep us from reaching out to others. Fear of the unknown, can keep a person in an abusive relationship or from seeing a doctor about a troubling symptom.

Overcoming fear, is not as simple as telling ourselves, not to be afraid. Instead, trust grows each time we test our fears and find God walking with us.  And should  we stumble, discovering God catching us.

Paul encouraged the early Christian community with these words, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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