When I started writing Bait, a Ted Dekker-style serial killer novel that is in the COMING SOON pile, I was conscious I didn’t want any lengthy descriptions of what the bad guy was doing. Because, well…eeewww.
In doing that, though, it turned out to be psychologically scary, because instead of being given the information, you’re wondering about it. And sometimes that’s waaaaay worse.
How is it that our brains can blow stuff that might not be that bad totally out of proportion? My brain doesn’t obey me, and only think about fun things that are nice and don’t make me want to poop my pants—hello, serial killer novel. (Note: I’ll probably not do that again for a long time.) I’d much rather write about unicorns and bubbles, but there’s not much of that in suspense. *sigh*
Left to our own devices, our minds will chew us up and spit us out.
In Genesis, God referred to the people living at that time (before the flood) and their minds, specifically. It says this: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) Not that their thoughts were evil, but that every intent behind their thoughts wasn’t a bit evil, but only evil continually. Ouch. Some of that isn’t even conscious.
And that’s the key, I think. Fear is something we all face. But it’s also ALL IN YOUR HEAD.
It holds us back, paralyzes us, makes us doubt even when there’s a clear call. Fear will twist us up until that one (perfectly reasonable, but don’t tell me that) rejection letter sends us straight to the sweats, the Kleenex, and the Reece’s cups. Hello, ten pounds.
So how do we combat it, if we can hardly control it? Wrestle the fear to the ground in a death-match style battle? Challenge it to an arm wrestle to see who’s boss?
Romans 12 says we need to be “transformed by the renewing of our MIND”, and 2 Corinthians 10 says to “take every thought captive”. That’s how you fight the fear—you meet it on its playground (in your head) with all your friends—you know, truth, hope, peace, love, the Holy Spirit.
God, He knows that your brain is like this. He knows how depression and anxiety work. He knows what it feels like to get rejected—meditate on that one and tell me He doesn’t sympathize with our weaknesses. He knows you’ll fall victim to your bad guy—your own head.
But He also gave you (and me, Amen) the tools to fight it. 1 John 4:18 says PERFECT LOVE casts out fear. It might as well read, “God casts out fear”, because He’s the only place you’re going to find that perfect love. And because “fear involves torment”—boy, does it ever. And “he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (no kidding). So, there’s some work to do.
We all knew that.