Reading: Luke 12:4-12
No Fear of Death
I’ve had a pretty good tangle with depression and OCD. One awesome thing about having them both is that the OCD really helps you overanalyze the depression. The counselor that I initially began working with quite by accident told me at one point that I have a “case-study quality” blend of OCD, depression, and giftedness. I haven’t figured out a way to put that on the fridge in the kitchen yet, but I feel certain there should be a certificate.
I began wrestling with depression when I came to the realization that most nights—for years—I’d been fading to sleep through a waking dream in which I would slowly but deliberately end my life, usually but constricting air flow in my neck. Nice, huh? We started to experiment with medication and dosages, and just as things began to turn for the better in my daily life, my visions at night took a violent and usually horrific turn, involving unusually intricate means of ending me. I was afraid to lie down.
In my next session, my counselor shared an observation of Robert Johnson of people who were on the brink of transformation, not suicide, suffering from such dreams: “You should do what your dreams and spontaneous waking fantasies are telling you to do. If they are telling you to kill yourself, then by all means kill yourself, but do not harm your body.”
It was time for my old life to end. That’s what I hear in the first verse of today’s reading. Those dreams seek to take away my former self—beyond that, they are powerless, unless I give them power.
The disciples had reason to fear that people were coming to kill their actual bodies, but Jesus says here that those who come for the body have no real power. How do you suppose they were able to move beyond that fear?
What fears do you give power over yourself?
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