In the dark of night, children run for their lives. With eyes wide open and a heart beating too fast, they launch themselves on their beds to safely escape the clutches of the monsters in the closet. For them, those monsters are all too real. They are not something imagined. They are demons and goblins waiting for a weak moment when they will leap upon the innocent with a great force and devour all that remains. They have the power to take their breath away and leave them trembling. Every child knows this to be true.
As we grow older, we learn there were no actual monsters living in our closets. Yet our fear remains. The monsters of the night have transformed into something more sinister. They have learned our weaknesses and insecurities. They understand our fears and self-doubt more than we do. They embody all those moments we’ve experienced when we thought we were less than what we should be, or felt we were not good enough, or believed ourselves to be not worthy enough. They feed off of those moments and grow larger and more menacing.
And so we are still running for our lives.
We all have those personal demons that seem to chase us until we become brave enough to face them and fight back. They lurk in the shadows. They are smart. They are sneaky. They throw us off balance and pounce with a strength we fear will overpower us.
Sometimes we see glimpses of them at inopportune moments; just enough to cause us to question ourselves. Enough to cause us to second guess what we were thinking or about to do. They pull us back and cause us to shrink from our fullness or to dim our light so we don’t shine so brightly.
Other times they present themselves in full view, exposing us to the horrendousness they embody. Our eyes and hearts respond as they always have in times like this when we are rooted in terror. But we are older now. We know more about the world. We know we can choose.
If we are ever to come to that realization that we can become more than whom we are right now, then we must be willing to do battle. It can be downright terrifying. “Will I be able to handle it? What if I’m not strong enough? What if it hurts? What if things get worse, not better? I’m so scared.”
We can revert to that inner child within ourselves and cower with fear and uncertainty, or we can rise up. We can do what needs to be done. We are stronger now. We know that we are never really alone, and can reach out for strength and support and comfort. Yet this is our battle; a deeply personal battle that will remain until we uplift our sword and slay those inner monsters.
They will certainly fight for their lives. They will bare their teeth and muscle, and will move in ways we haven’t seen before. They will attempt to threaten us with more upheaval and more of what we fear. But our fortress can be strong if we build it with a solid foundation.
We can build a foundation that reminds us what we are what we are fighting for and fighting against. We can remember that there is a purpose and a meaning to our lives, and it cannot be fully expressed if we are living in fear. We can trust that our journey can be the path that has been cleared for someone else to walk with greater ease. We can believe that we are strong enough, good enough, and worthy enough to overpower what is holding us back. What we will gladly discover is that once we have become victorious in battle, we will take up the weapons of the fallen and use them for our own good.
Here’s to fighting the good battle!