i was always the brave one.
honestly, even when i was a kid, i was rarely afraid of anything. my sister and i would be playing and hear a car backfire… she was convinced we would both be dead soon, i was the logical one. i explained our safety.
i was never afraid to buy something at the store by myself, or confront a kid who was being mean, or walk alone to a neighbor’s house, or trek through the dark house in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
i was brave.
when I was about 6, i began having a reoccurring nightmare. it happened over and over again. it happened so many nights that now, 20 years later, i still remember it in vivid detail.
and it scared me.
i remember waking up completely paralyzed with fear, unable to move for several minutes. when i got enough courage, i would run through the house to my parents bedroom and wake up my mom to ask for help.
her response was always the same. she would nudge my dad awake.
my dad, by the way, is a very tall, very strong man.
he made for one impressive sidekick.
he would walk me back to my room and put me back to bed, without saying a word. then he would sit.
i remember it clearly. he just sat.
didn’t speak, didn’t sing, didn’t do anything.
but the sight of a very big man sitting next to my bed made me feel unbelievably safe, and i always fell asleep quickly.
because i knew he was there.
i knew he was big, i knew he loved me, i knew he was there.
thankfully, those bad dreams eventually went away.
and now i am an adult. still the brave one. still not afraid to walk to my car in the dark, or advocate for what i believe in, or approach someone i’ve never met and strike up a conversation.
but there are moments.
moments when i am afraid. not of bad dreams, but of other things.
when fear hits, it’s like a punch in the chest. you lay there paralyzed, unable to move.
i get afraid sometimes. afraid of failure, of the future, of making mistakes, of being alone.
my method of dealing of this has not changed from when i was a child.
i still have a very impressive sidekick.
i believe that God is with me. i can’t always see what He is doing, but i believe that He’s real. i believe that He’s big, and that He is willing to sit by me in the dark.
when i am afraid, i like to read the Bible. in Lamentations chapter 3, verses 55-57, another person was afraid. like me, he needed someone to help him be brave.
he said, “i called on your name, oh Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea. You did not close your ears to my cry for relief. You came near when i called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’”
i can’t always be brave.
sometimes i just really need to know that someone strong is nearby. He might not say anything in that moment, He might not do anything right then.
but He’s there. He’s big, He loves me, and He’s there.
and i’m safe.
and in that moment, i’m not afraid.