My biggest fear has always been clowns. I don’t mean the ones that are made to look really creepy, although I don’t like those either. I’m talking about clowns that you book for children’s parties.

It’s usually hard to explain this fear to people who don’t share it, but the truth is that it’s the makeup. The high eyebrows, the crazy hair, the huge and constant smile all create the look of someone who’s insane (and might murder you) and would look happy doing anything (like murdering you).

I now know many people who share this fear, but when I was little, I didn’t know a single real person who was terrified of clowns like me. In addition, people never told me they understood or that I wasn’t crazy. In fact, they often laughed at me or brushed it off like it was silly and no big deal. So for years, I felt irrational and alone.

Some people avoid haunted houses at Halloween because of monsters like ghouls or zombies or axe-murderers. I avoid them because of clowns. (And it’s worth stating that I also avoid some McDonald’s commercials for the very same reason.)

We all have our monsters, and we all have our spiritual monsters.

When I was in AP English, we read Lord of the Flies, and we had to write an essay on a theme from the book once we were done. The paper that our teacher handed out that told all of the themes had over 30 different ones on there. I chose to write on fear of the unknown. I can’t recall how long the essay had to be, but it seemed like an impossible task when it was assigned. But I soon discovered that I had more than enough material to work with to write my essay because fear of the unknown is a big theme in that book.

Likewise, Fear of the Unknown can be a big theme and a big monster in our own lives. If we’re uncertain about many things or even one thing, it can keep us from accepting a calling or reaching out to someone or leaving something or someone detrimental to our relationship with God. It stops us from moving forward.

Another monster is Unequipped. We think we don’t have what it takes to do whatever it takes to move forward. If we need to pray more, we may struggle because we don’t have the time. If we feel like we need to donate, we may not have the money or the means to do so. We feel like we’re not enough or that we don’t have enough.

Moses felt that way; he stuttered. So did Jeremiah because he was very young. Peter denied Jesus three times after he told Jesus he would never dream of doing such a thing. Paul called himself “the chief of sinners,” and he didn’t have to campaign very hard given all of his deeds from his old life.

They thought their issues meant they weren’t right for the job. They thought they didn’t have what it took, but when they finally moved forward despite what they thought, great things happened.

Maybe your monster is Temptation or Waiting or Worry or Apathy or something else altogether.

Maybe your monster seems small to someone else, but to you, it’s big and horrifying and leaves you with nothing but dread. Regardless of what the monster might be, it’s stopping you from going further in your relationship with God.

And our monsters are no match for God.

When we deal with our monsters by ourselves, we’ll always lose, but when we join up with God, we’re unstoppable. And He’s not going to send you to face your monster without wanting to go with you.

Whenever we try to face our monsters by ourselves, we forget our biggest ally. To go further with God, we must do so with Him, and we have to rely on Him to get us past whatever’s standing in our way because what’s a monster to us is nothing to Him.

By Carrie Prevette

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