Catie, our oldest daughter, is absolutely certain that predatory wolves lurk in the shadows of our house. Convinced. At night she turns on all the lights, stays up late, and stares at the ceiling.
“Mommy,” she says, when I tell her to go to sleep. “You don’t see the wolves because you don’t believe in them.”
“Maybe you should not believe in them too,” I suggest.
“I try. I tell myself ‘when you close your eyes, don’t think about wolves. But you know what? THAT makes me see the wolves.’”
When I was eight years old, it was the green-faced witch from Wizard of Oz. In my dark bedroom, I was terrified to put my legs over the side of the bed because I just knew she would grab my ankles. It wasn’t until the morning came that I could swing my legs over the bed and hop right out, completely secure in the morning light.
Elisabeth is terrified of the bad guys who want to grab her when she comes around a dark corner by herself. She is so convinced that it’s the dark the bad guys like. “I’m fine,” she says, “as long as I stay in the light.”
Which might explain our recent electricity bill. With half the kids afraid of the dark, our household is single-handedly keeping the energy company in business.
Before we left the house this morning, I turned off twelve lights.
What does this mean, except the females in our family have excellent imaginations and we’re wasting a lot of money on electricity?
I think all this self-inflicted obsessing is all a wonderful reminder for me.
Maybe for you, too.
Lately I’ve been scared about what it means to be thirty-eight.
“What happened to the first half of your life?” the wolves and witches and bad guys whisper to me. “Look at everything you didn’t accomplish then. Meeting your goals will get exponentially harder every single day now. You’re over, a has-been. You. Are. Done.”
In the dark, these whispers can motivate me to do all these the wrong things: Overbook my schedule with STUFF to distract me. Sulk. Bristle. Obsess. And, of course, just like imaginary wolves of bad guys, the more energy I breathe into them, the taller they grow in my imgaination. Suddenly the fear of being old isn’t imaginary, it’s my reality.
But this morning, as I strolled home from walking Catie to school, I prayed about the green-faced witch that lives in my head.
And you know what God told me? Those aren’t fears about getting older—that’s Me. I’m urging you, putting pressure on you, tugging on your soul to get your attention.
I’m calling you, God told me this morning in my prayer. Calling you to share my Word with my people. Calling you to get on it, Tina.
In the dark, that urgency looks a lot like a predatory wolf. But in the light of prayer, I know it’s not. It’s God whispering that sulking and bristling and obsessing really aren’t getting me any closer to the book I need to be writing.
So, with the bad guys firmly kicked out, I’m off and writing again.
And to have a chat with the girls about our electricity bill….