“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” —J. R. R. Tolkien
Never mind stepping onto the road . . . sometimes stepping out of bed is dangerous enough. Or daunting enough.
Yeah, there are times when life can seem too hard to face.
There, we’ve said it. But you already know it’s true. No matter what you try to do to motivate yourself, there are days when you wake up so overwhelmed or so discouraged or hurt or angry or worried or afraid, it seems a lot safer, a lot more comfortable to stay in bed with the chocolate chip cookies you’ve hidden behind the headboard. The world looks so much better from under the protective covering of a 500-thread-count sheet or the comforting quilt hand-stitched by your grandmother. And no one can hear you crunching.
We’ve both been there.
We’ve found ourselves staying in bed and pulling the covers over our heads for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes because it’s just too scary out there. Too many things can go wrong. There’s too much we can’t control.
Natural disasters, hard times, difficult people, and all those things you didn’t see coming—they rob us of our rest. And threaten to destroy our peace, our confidence, our joy. Discouraging news finds its way into every facet of our lives, from our never-ending cell phone alerts to our newsfeeds. And we feel so helpless to do anything about it.
We can’t escape difficult people, either. That rude clerk, the overbearing coworker, the demanding boss, the judgmental busybody—what would life be without them, right? We’ve heard they’re supposed to be the sand in our oysters—the irritating little grains that grow into pearls for us. But it seems all we’re growing these days is ulcers.
And how about the critics? Those dear folks who feel compelled to tell us that whoever we are, whatever we’re doing, it’s not enough.
“You’re too young, too old, too shallow, too deep, too quiet, too loud. You have no talent, no style, no creativity, no chance, no hope. But don’t let me stop you.”
Now it’s time to drag out the jumbo bag of potato chips you’ve hidden under the bed.
The louder the negative voices, the more tempting it is to just stay in bed and pull the covers over your head. But those voices of despair from your past, present, or perceived future, can find you even there. Sometimes especially there. When everything is quiet, you’re left only with your own defeated voice.
What was I thinking?
I don’t have what it takes . . .
I’m just not talented enough . . .
I’ll never pass that test.
I can’t finish this project.
I won’t get that promotion.
I’ll never find someone to love me.
I don’t think I’ll ever recover.
I won’t survive this pain.
Why even try?
In moments like these, what you need is not a thicker comforter (or cookies or chips or anything else you’ve stashed away for moments like this), but a breath of fresh air.
Listen to the Voice of Truth
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. . . He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (Psalm 91:1-2, 4, NLT)
Whatever it is that you’re afraid to face, you can face it and find a way to overcome it. Even if the road is rougher than you imagined—full of twists and turns you didn’t expect—you can make it through.
The good news is that you are not alone. God is with you. He is for you. By His grace and in His strength, you can find the courage to stand tall.
Remember, you’ve faced down your fears before. You’ve overcome all kinds of obstacles already. Take a few moments and make a list of some of your life’s challenges—“trials or tribulations” that have already come your way. How many of these crises did you survive?
Hmmm . . . We were both better in English than math, but even we can figure this one out: The correct answer is all of them. You obviously survived every one of the things you once feared, or you wouldn’t be here!
Now, think about all the things you’ve accomplished in your life so far, big and small—the things that make you most proud (and thankful). All the times you did better than you ever expected, experienced things you’d only dreamed of, and a few you didn’t even know were possibilities, but you got them anyway!
You had to push past all kinds of fear and doubt, didn’t you? You had to ignore the naysayers and persevere, putting in the hard work. But looking back, it was worth it, wasn’t it?
You’re no doubt thanking God that you didn’t give in to discouragement and quit halfway through. Or fail to even start in the first place. You didn’t let fear stop you then. So why would you let it stop you now?
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Philippians 4:13, MSG)
Imagine the great good that lies just beyond your fear . . . Think of the possibilities, the opportunities . . . the open doors . . . the answers . . . the miracles . . . the blessings . . . the memories.
Sometimes it simply comes down to taking that first step. If fear is the only thing that’s holding you back, maybe it’s time to make the decision to get up and get dressed and—get on with your life! The cookies and chips will still be there when you return to bed after you’ve accomplished all you were meant to accomplish.
Again, the good news:
You don’t have to take a single step of this journey alone. None of us do.
Jesus Himself wants to pull back the covers of our threadbare protection, take us by the hand, and walk with us every step of the way.
“I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, MSG)
How’s that for a friend you can depend on?
Adapted from Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘til Jesus Comes Back? By Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield. Copyright © 2017. Used by permission of Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
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