Having a vivid imagination has it’s pluses and minuses. I live with a couple of roommates on the top floor of an extremely old house. Sometimes the house makes creepy noises, and of course those noises primarily seem to occur during the late night hours when I am home by myself. At least that’s when I notice them.
Being a composed adult, most nights I dismiss these noises as “old house.” Deep down though I admit that the creaking floors and cabinet doors swinging open for no apparent reason are unsettling at times.
One particular night I got up to use the restroom which is located on the other side of the apartment. As I moved through the early morning darkness all was silent but for the gentle creaking of the floor boards beneath my feet.
But as I rounded the corner to the bathroom I let out a great screech and turned to flee. For there on the other side of the corner stood a dark figure.
As I regained sense through my half asleep state and flipped on the light, I realized what had happened. One of my roommates had left the hall closet door open. And there inside the door hung a full length mirror; standing as a tribute to my resounding lack of courage. Yes, courage in the face of my own reflection.
It brought to mind something I heard once from a great mentor. She spoke about courage in the face of fear. One of the definitions of fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.” The key to this being the “real or imagined” part.
I know that many times my reflection in the mirror has been my own worst enemy. I have created obstacles in my mind based on fear; fear of past pain or of future failures. Debilitating and paralyzing fear. And sometimes choosing to live in that fear because I haven’t taken the time to realize it for what it is most of the time. False Evidence Appearing Real, that’s what fear is. Because how many times have those fears been unfounded? Yet they affect my decisions, and they affect how I treat myself and others.
When the mentor speaks about courage she states that “courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s moving forward even when you feel afraid.” She encourages people to continue on in the face of and in spite of fear. You see, that’s one of the definitions of courage. “Strength in the face of pain or grief.”
I know some of you may be facing real pain or grief, and you may feel afraid. Or perhaps some of you are like me, facing your own distorted reflection in the dark.
But I encourage you dear friends; MOVE FORWARD. You are strong. You are courageous. And my prayers and love are with you as we move together and press on.
PS- Isaiah 43:18-19 is a great encouragement to me and perhaps it will be to you as well.