On Monsters and Baseball Bats: Fighting Fear with the Word
August 25, 2017 Esther Johnson

On Monsters and Baseball Bats Fighting Fear with the Word by Esther Johnson

 

There’s a monster under my bed.

Not just sometimes. No, it lives there, and nothing I do makes it go away.
All day I busy myself with good things, with work and play, staying healthy and investing in my family, and for the most part, it leaves me alone.

But every day as the afternoon wears on, dread grows in the back of my mind, because I know the monster is waiting for me. No matter how faithful and strong I am all day, it will still attack.

Whether I’m exhausted or exuberant, when I curl up and turn out my light …the monster comes.



Doubt hunches on my chest, crushing my ribcage till I suck in every breath. Guilt plants its claws in my shoulders and leans down to whisper and slaver in my ear, sniggering over the day’s mistakes. This guilt doesn’t inspire repentance; it demands despair. This monster stinks with all my failures, slashes away my contentment, and shouts lies till my head pounds.

I used to curl up and take it, absorbing its attacks and waiting for it to slink away, waiting to fall asleep. I used to believe what it said, and carry its whispers with me even in the morning.

I used to run and hide, plugging up my ears with internet and television until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I would barricade myself into a corner of my mind, blocking the door with constant entertainment and trying to ignore the creature scratching at the boards. But when I emerged from that empty room, it was always waiting, hungry as ever.

Then I told myself the monster was nothing but a shadow of my mind, soon dispelled by a show of courage. I tried facing the monster head on, denying its claims and proclaiming my strength.

Instead of shriveling into a lump of dead fear, it attacked harder than ever, confident in its half-truths. The fact is, I am guilty, and I do fail. The monster isn’t wrong: I screw up every day, over and over. When I flung my courage in its face, the monster’s laughter rang in my ears.

I almost gave up. And then I found the baseball bat.

The apostle Paul calls it a sword, I call it a baseball bat—either way there’s no weapon like the Word of God. Without it, I forget the truth and the monster takes me down.

With it? I walk in victory.

Every night I know the monster is coming, and so I arm myself with Scripture. With that baseball bat in my fist, I rest easy, ready to swing hard when the demon strikes.

Sometimes, it’s memorized passages. I recite chapters I’ve learned and meditate on them, pray through them, seeking to absorb their truths into my soul and praising God for His glory in them. The monster whines and writhes and keeps clear.

Sometimes, especially if I let my guard down, my mind is in too much turmoil to recite, so I turn my lamp on and physically open my Bible. Getting my hands firmly on the baseball bat is worth any effort, because God-spoken truths of scripture are the only way to strike back at this creature.

And I don’t swing my bat blindly, either. I target the monster’s weak spots.

When it snarls about my guilt I agree that “like a heavy burden [my sins] are too heavy for me.” (Ps. 38:4).
But then I joyfully proclaim: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7), and that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

When it tells me that I’ll never overcome my sins, I trust that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6).

When it crows over my weakness, I remember that God gets glory by showing His power in me, and “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9).

When it claims I’m alone, I remind it of the great High Priest who “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).

And to every fear I shout God’s own words: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Is. 43:1).

I know this monster isn’t leaving any time soon. He still waits to ambush me, sometimes not even waiting till night. And sometimes, I still take a beating.

If I were alone, it would win. But I’m not alone.

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you” (Is. 41:13).

I fight with God’s spirit “not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7).

I take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

When the shadows gather and the monsters growl, I grab my trusty baseball bat and prepare for battle with the confidence that though I’ve got no strength, Christ has power to spare.

This monster isn’t going away any time soon, but I’m learning I have everything I need to fight back. Not on my own merits—no way—I have no strength of my own. I fight with something much greater.

So yes, there’s a monster under my bed. And I’m guessing a monster waits for you, too.

Perched on your shoulder or crouching under your bed, it steals your joy, tells you lies, and leaves you gasping. Maybe, like me, you’ve tried hiding, enduring, or overcoming in your own strength—and like me, you’ve heard the monster laugh at you.

But God’s Word? It has power.

God’s given us a weapon, and His strength to use it—so grab your baseball bat and start swinging.
“For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deut. 20:4).



 

Esther Johnson is a freelance writer, editor, and magic bean buyer with a passion for lemon bars, folk rock, and morning runs. She has written for Piercing Word ministries, CHAP Magazine, and The Rebelution, and recently became a regular contributor to TCB.  You can find other writings and updates, and get in touch, on her blog at https://estherjohnsonsite.wordpress.com/

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