Monsters In The Dark
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Monsters In The Dark

Shame and secrets lose their power when you turn the light on.

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Monsters In The Dark
Vox Culture

I just finished watching Season One of Netflix's new original, Stranger Things. Okay, maybe I watched it more than once. If you you spook easily, it might not be for you, but I loved it. My favorite show is The Walking Dead though, so maybe that makes sense.

This got me thinking about other movies and TV shows with that thriller vibe, how they keep you on the edge of your seat, and why. Why do they? What about these stories make us jumpy and suspicious every time the music changes? What makes the monsters monsters in the first place? I picked up on a few things, then realized why it intrigued me. I started drawing parallels between this and how we navigate our own personal lives, secrets, and shame.

The Dark

Typically, a movie or show with a thriller or scary plot has some presence of darkness. Or rather, an absence of light. The darkness makes everything else invisible to us, undetected and mysterious. I'll admit it, I still sprint and jump into my bed immediately after I turn off the light at night. Something just might jump out if I take my time, but apparently my covers are a magic shield. I don't know. it's crazy. The darkness is a place where the monsters might be lurking and the secrets become our bondage. Monsters are like secrets, I think. In our personal lives, secrets hold power because we have left them in the dark. Maybe we've been hurt or we are somehow hurting ourselves and our families. Secrets of addiction, unfaithfulness to our spouse, or a history of childhood abuse. The list could go on. Putting the spotlight on the monster takes away some of its power. It might still be scary to look at, but you know what you're up against and you know where to hit it where it hurts.

The Silence

Right before something jumps out of the shadows in a movie, there is typically a silence or a pause. The monster thrives on the silence. The longer the silence, the more the tension builds and the more time we have to let fear grip us. When we are silent about our struggle, walls go up and we isolate ourselves. The walls divide and conquer community and friendships. Being alone and keeping quiet in a secret or struggle will only fuel it. We shame ourselves into holes that are near impossible to dig out of on our own. It's lonely, isn't it? Maybe silence seems safer at the time, but that is a lie that is meant to keep you in the hole for good.

The Mystery

Nameless monsters with a reputation for mystery are terrifying. We don't know when they will show up or how we should defend ourselves against them. When we are unwilling to name the struggle or painful history or when we tiptoe around speaking for fear of actually saying the big, bad, scary words, we are letting that fear dictate and detach us from people we love. Fear of failure, fear of disappointing someone, or maybe the fear of losing respect. Saying, "I've been struggling with ________ for some time now and I don't know how to shake it" is really hard. Fill in that blank with whatever: depression, thoughts of suicide, an eating disorder, memories of sexual abuse, pornography. Saying the actual words might just be half the battle because we've been hiding in that corner for so long, too terrified to give it a name. Speak the name and reclaim some of yourself again.

Guys, this is hard stuff to talk about and process, but it's even more difficult to go put into action. If you've met Jesus, you know that He will continually bring up these monsters and ask you to deal with them. He loves us too much to let us live out of our holes. He will push you to try something different, speak your truth and find connection. That's my challenge for you this week, as well as for myself. My guess is, you won't have to spend a lot of time turning over the rocks and shifting around your heart before you find those dark places that need light, words, and a name.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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