Haunted houses are just not my jam. They are so far opposite of what IS my jam that it might as well be the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. BUT when I was in college and dating this guy (who later turned out to be my husband), I wanted to show him and his friends that I "could hang". You know how it goes, girls.
So one night in October, we drove from Baylor to somewhere in east Garland and arrived at a haunted house that they had supposedly been to several years in a row.
I immediately knew I had made a gigantic mistake.
I could hear people screaming while we were still in the car, y’all. I saw strobe lights, fake blood that looked a little too real and people running - no sprinting - out of the exit. I immediately began to backtrack, probably faked being sick or something not super obvious. But they MADE me go into this horrible haunted house situation. I thought I might hyperventilate.
We paid, waited in line and then it was our turn. Me and four dudes. The instructions were to stay close to each other and hold hands because "it gets very dark". Puh-lease, it gets dark. I need to know how many people are going to reach out and try to grab me. I grabbed onto Jeff's hand in front of me and his friend's hand behind me and shut my eyes real tight and started walking.
Because I trusted them more than I trusted the stupid (but legitimately scary) haunted house.
In that moment, I decided to be brave.
It wasn't the daredevil, let’s-go-jump-out-of-a-plane-tomorrow kind of brave, but I did it. I did something I didn't want to do (maybe not for the right reasons) and I finished it with minimal tears and screams. Keeping my eyes closed notwithstanding, I actually got out of this horrible situation in one piece.
There is no doubt that we have similar, more serious, situations in our life that sneak fear into the recesses of our heart and stay there. They build up a wall of what-if’s in our mind so we are paralyzed with fear - whether it’s physical fear like the dumb haunted house, or likely a spiritual or emotional fear - we have all experienced moments where we have felt less than brave enough to move forward.
But you can be brave, my friend.
What is ahead of you right now, at this very moment, that you have been telling yourself you aren't brave enough to walk through? What is that leap that you're fearing will lead down a road you don't want to take? Where is God calling you that you are convinced you just cannot go?
Stop letting fear be greater than God’s direction.
Stop digging your heels into the questions, doubts and potential failures and instead dig into the promises that the God you serve has given you to claim! Are you afraid you’ll fail? You might. Are you afraid that you’ll be uncomfortable? You probably will. Scared that people will talk about you? Oh, gosh, they will.
But so what? Go anyway. That is brave.
What if we can actually be brave when we don't necessarily feel brave? Not because we know we can handle whatever is going to happen next, but because we trust the One Who goes with us there? Into whatever our personal haunted house is.
Remember the promises of God as you take the next step.
He will never leave you or forsake you.
He has plans to prosper you, not to harm you.
His ways are higher than our ways.
He has seen all of your days.
He will surround you with His love.
Claim these things and let these make you brave instead of allowing the unknown make you fearful. You are brave, friend. Take that step, make that leap, open that door. God's got you.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline." 1 Timothy 1:7