Years ago, Dr. Frankenstein’s monster chased me almost every night. I ran so fast, but he was always right on my heels. I can still see him now: arms thrust out in front of him, a face full of grotesque stitches, and of course, that bolt poking through his neck. It was terrifying! I’d wake up, my heart pounding, yelling for my mom. Into my room she’d rush to comfort me and calm me down.
This continued until Mom explained how to escape from nightmares.
“Pay attention when you’re asleep, and you can tell when you’re dreaming,” she told me. “Then you can decide to open your eyes, which will stop the chase, and the fear.”
I tried it out and found that it did the trick. After that, when the chase began and the terror escalated, I recognized the dream for what it was—a monster movie—and opened my eyes. There I’d be, safe and sound in my bed, with no cause for fear in sight. What a relief!
Eventually I began to understand that my mom’s helpful tip could be applied to more than just nightmares. It is possible for anyone, in any situation, to wake up from fear and feel safe in God’s presence.
As adults, we would never believe that monsters could chase us. But most of us deal with nightmarish fears fairly frequently. Things like losing your job, and consequently, your life savings. Or maybe the fear of sickness in yourself or a loved one is the monster that’s pursuing you and threatening to overtake your peace. Perhaps a material past full of regret is haunting you. It makes no difference what your Frankenstein monster looks like, or whether you’re asleep or awake. You can open your eyes to the reality of your safety and be free from scary scenarios.
That’s right: Fear and the circumstances that would occasion it, are like a dream—without any more power to harm you than the monster in a child’s imagination. Why? Because God, infinite Good—the only creator of everything—is here right now. Good fills every nook and cranny throughout all creation. There isn’t any room left for anything unlike Him—not even something frightening hiding in a dark corner of your thought.
I’m not saying that shortfalls and other challenges don’t seem real in our everyday lives. But I know from my own experiences, and from studying the Bible, that you don’t have to believe everything you see, hear, or feel. The healing career of Christ Jesus is a great example of that! One account from his life is in the book of Matthew. Jesus was healing and speaking to a crowd of 4,000 people when dinnertime rolled around. There were only seven loaves of bread and a few fish among those thousands of people, and no McDonald’s anywhere. But Jesus told his disciples to feed the crowd anyway. How could he have made such an outrageous request? Jesus’ conviction that everyone would be fed came from his understanding that God’s provision for those people couldn’t be limited to such an inadequate quantity of food. He was right; the disciples passed out the loaves and fish, and everyone ate until they were full. Afterward, the disciples even collected seven baskets of leftovers! Jesus had his eyes open: He saw abundance where the five physical senses pointed to lack.
You can also know that right where the material senses are telling you to be afraid of running out of resources, God’s love is supplying you with more than you could ever need. When sickness is right at your heels threatening to take you down, God’s wholeness is on the scene. Since He is your creator, you are like Him—whole, complete, well—now. When a bad past is part of your monster movie, you can know that today, in this very moment, God is showing you that He has defined you from the beginning. No horrible past has ever created anything about you, or anyone else.
In any frightening situation, you can apply the “nightmare escape trick” Mom taught me all those years ago. Recognize that the terrifying circumstances in your life have no more power to harm you than the events in a horror movie. Affirm that only God’s goodness is present to define you and your life. This will open your eyes and allow you to see that you have authority over dream-like images of fear. You’ll find yourself safe, right where you belong, with the all-presence of divine Love comforting you every step of the way. Now that’s a treat!
Here’s another Bible example about challenging fear:
2 Kings 6:15-17
Other helpful ideas:
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!