It doesn’t seem to matter how old they are, my kids are wimps when it comes to creepy movies.
Suffice it to say, they have never seen Snow White, or Pinocchio, or Harry Potter, or … well anything that many a sensitive soul might consider scary. Most kids lean into the excitement and relish the thrill of a good jolt to their seat when the one-eyed, one-armed man jumps out of the shadows. Not mine. They just huddle in the theater or in front of the television, scared to death but unwilling to get up and walk away lest they bother anyone.
Another movie they have never seen is The Wizard of Oz. Why? Mostly because it creeped me out as a kid. And I just might be as much of a wimp as they are. I’m hopeful that maturity has moved me beyond bad dreams of that scrunched over, eery “my pretttty” witch plaguing my sleep. But … I’m not so sure. So, I guess the truth is – they get their movie weirdness from me. Poor things. They can add it to such a long list of “issues.”
I have one super sensitive soul who really has to guard what she watches. So when she got into the car last night after spending a super fun afternoon with one of her best friends, I sighed when I heard her voice crack as she told us that she saw Oz, The Great & Powerful.
Avoiding pestering questions from a backseat brother, she steered clear of reliving the film. All she could muster was a meek, “It was so scary” followed by a “How am I going to go to sleep tonight?” I knew how. With her mother by her side. A place I’ve sat since she was a little girl. Methodically coaxing her to think about something other than any issue mentally holding her hostage.
The floodgates opened about the time I was helping the younger boys get in bed. Though years beyond, she looked exactly like she did when she was little. And I knew she had a mental challenge ahead of her.
“What do I do?” she cried. “How am I going to sleep? … I just keep thinking about all the scary stuff.”
I figured my little tricks and tactics weren’t going to cut it. She needed more. So I started down the road. “Honey, who do you think is more powerful than all those things your scared of?”
She meekly, almost obligatorily replied, “God.”
“Seriously. Do you get it? Think about how powerful he is. And maybe you just might believe it enough to be able to sleep. Remember what says, ‘Don’t be afraid” …”I’m with you wherever you go.” … even when you’re sleeping. Do you know how many times he tells us not to fear? … 365 … one for each day. … He knows every thought you think, every word you say, every breath you take. Every time a scary thought creeps in, counter it with something powerful God has done. As a mental exercise – get your mind right. Specifically.”
So we sat there. I started for her recounting powerful, miraculous things God has done and does. We went through story after story: the parting of the red sea, young men being thrown into a furnace who lived to tell the tale, another young man sitting unharmed amongst ravenous lions in a den, another man whose sightless eyes saw for the first time after spit-infused mud was rubbed on them, countless armies defeated before even seeing a sword, walls that came tumbling down just by people walking around them, life breathed into dead bodies, someone even walking on water.
“Could you walk on water?” I ask her. “Is it possible in any realm you know?”
“No,” she replied. Her tears having stopped.
“No it isn’t. But Jesus did. And what happened when Peter stepped out?”
“He walked, too.”
“And when did he stop walking?”
Then from our littlest guy, who had been peppering the conversation with all kinds of God-power things, came what we all needed to ponder, “When he took his eyes off Jesus.”
Hmmm… He was exactly right. With our eyes on the world and all that surrounds us, fear – sometimes crippling fear – grips us and fools us into ridiculous thinking. Then we sink. It was easy for me to tell my daughter the truth. She had absolutely nothing to fear from that movie. None of it was real. Every bit was fake. But in her mind, it was more than real.
And it made me think about my own life and the things that grip me. Things that might seem pretty powerful at the time, but just aren’t real.
When I get into my own mental funk – in the midst of stressed and whiny children, the demands of my day, feeling sorry for myself, succumbing to the pressures, all the keeping up, and so much more – I need a re-boot just like my daughter. Moving my eyes from uncertainty and fear to Truth. Powerful (blind eyes seeing/fire quenching/life raising powerful) truth that anchors my eyes on the One who turns mush into solid ground. For me it’s not a scary movie. But the fears are the same. Unfounded.
Thanks goodness for God’s reboot. Turning off my fearful thoughts, gaining perspective, starting afresh, grounded in Truth. It gave my girl a good night sleep and helps me keep on keepin’ on. Feel free to remind me the next time I get overwhelmed.
Thanks for walking the road with me.