I did something really stupid for Halloween – I watched Para.normal Acti.vity. Why was this stupid? Because, even when I understood that the movie dealt with demonic activity and possession, I kept watching. As a result, I may have slept half an hour that night. I kept the nightlight on in the bedroom for several days, looking over my shoulder at the room to make sure it stayed devoid of monsters. Eventually I switched sides with DH for the next week or so, just until the other night.
Stories of this nature have a tendency to sink under my skin and creep the heck out of me for a long time afterward. Why? That's a good question. The first time this kind of creepiness creeped me out was when I first saw The Excor.cist – I was barely a teenager – and ever since it's been a fear of mine. But I think it goes back even further.
As I tried to probe my brain, I remember when I was 6-8 years old and had frequent waking nightmares. You know, the kind where you wake up and you see someone or something until you cover your head with a blanket until the next time you open your eyes, at which point the thing is gone and you realize it was never there. Oh, you've never experienced this? I have. Many, many times. With many different "people" who looked at me or walked toward me… oh sorry, didn't mean to creep you out.
Each night after seeing that stupid movie (before I switched sides with DH), I was actually afraid of going to sleep. As if I just knew I'd wake up and something bad would happen. I know, it's totally irrational. Such is the nature of fear in this case.
I make it a habit to read my Bible every night – sometimes I go through a book, others I randomly select a passage and just start reading. One thing that brought a lot of comfort to me, and I've begun to study, was reading Psalm 91 just before turning in one night. It talks about how God literally protects those who believe in Him. I knew the Lord led me to this passage specifically, as part of it says:
"4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day..." (emphasis mine)
Wow. I can think of very few times in my life when I've come across a scripture that went straight to my soul in the midst of something going on, and this is definitely one of them.
Looking back, I suspect that I had those hallucinations as a reaction to my parents' divorce (I was six at the time). I also know now that chronic lack of sleep can result in such things. But so often, my kid brain was absolutely convinced that these hallucinations really happened. So in a way, seeing movies about people getting possessed unnerved me like nothing ever has because it reminds me of waking up in the night and seeing something that shouldn't be there.
This is no way to live, especially for a Christ-follower who has inherited the victory that He won for us on the cross. So I'm on the lookout for a solution. A few days ago, I remembered my copy of Joyce Mey.ers' Battle.field of the Mi.nd and picked it up again. I was surprised at what I read (still haven't gotten through more than 1/3 of the book). She talked about how the enemy can influence our thought lives by planting wrong ideas in there and getting us thinking about negative things. She calls them mind-binding spirits, and yes they are evil. Now don't get me wrong – I am fully aware that I have my own brain and am capable of harboring bad thoughts all by myself – but this is compelling information based on biblical truths.
It was like a light was turned on in my head, and I understood that this is probably the case for me. The author, for example, had once been an incredibly negative person and had no idea that it was her thought life, rather than her circumstances, that were robbing her of any joy in life.
Her admonition: think about what you're thinking about. Refuse to let the enemy rob you of happiness by influencing your thoughts. Instead, follow the advice of Philippians 4:8 (NIV) "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
In other words, our thought lives must be intentional. Not reactionary.
Finally, I'll be sharing my experience with my therapist this evening to see if she can provide any additional insight. She's a good one for that.