What’s Your Monster’s Name?

MarvaeFear10 Comments

Image of a blue furry monster growling

Inside me is a monster; most of the time he slumbers peacefully and goes unnoticed. The monster can hibernate for days, weeks, even months, and then rudely be awakened in an instant! The moment the monster stirs, things begin to spin, I lose perspective and chaos ensues.

This past weekend, the monster was roused and immediately got busy creating his special brand of confusion. He set me reeling. Focusing seemed impossible. My cherished goals lay limp. Things that normally would have motivated me did not interest me.

I know I am not alone! We all have encountered the monster: Fear is his first name, but his last name can be different for each of us. In my case his name is Fear of not Mattering.

When you know your monster’s name, it is easier to recognize him when he is up to no good. When you ignore his presence, he wreaks havoc in your life and in your relationships limiting your effectiveness as a leader

In order to wrestle the monster back into the cage, I must identify and call him by name. Then I must tell myself the truth about who God created me to be. That’s when the monster is once again put to sleep, allowing my focus to return, my goals to motivate me, and life seems sweeter.

Have you mustered the courage to take on your monster? Have you identified him so you can call him by name? Here’s how:

1. Pay attention to what stirs the monster

Reflect on the crazy moments you have experienced in the past. What’s the common feeling that is present in each of those situations? What negative belief about your-self bubbles up? My overwhelming feeling is that I don’t matter: a sense of not being valuable or having significance.

You may be dealing with another monster, such as the fear of being rejected, weak, incompetent, left out, stupid, invisible, unlovable, a failure or worthless. Any time someone says something to you, or you are in a situation where this monster is awakened, things will begin to spin out of control.

2. Notice your response

Once your monster is awake and at work, it causes you to respond in ways that make your greatest fear a reality.

In my case I might shut down, pull away, speak with intensity, or say something hurtful to protect myself. These responses only push the other person further away and ensure that I will not experience the sense of mattering I desire, resulting in self-sabotage.

3. Take responsibility and turn the tide

Remember, no one can make you feel anything unless you give them permission. Send the monster packing, because once the monster has worked his magic and you are wallowing in your fear, it grows and overshadows everything. It distorts reality in a way that convinces you that everything is confirming your greatest fear. Unless you breathe, put things in perspective, and deliberately take time to dwell on truth you will remain stuck and in bondage to your fear. Your life will seem meaningless. It will prevent you from moving forward and pursuing the things that God has in mind for you to do and be.

Fight to remember how God sees you and dwell on it! Be prepared. Write the truth down. Put it in mantra form. It will be your lifesaver later. Repeat it often.

4. Be proactive

This step is not easy! The temptation will be to linger there, to blame others, even to relish the hurt. Take responsibility.

If left unmanaged, the monster will tempt you to console yourself with unhealthy habits like isolating, drinking to numb the feelings, eating too much, or consuming unhealthy foods, etc. These behaviors will ultimately lead you to the very place you feared the most!

The natural inclination is to try to be more of the opposite of your fear. That would prompt me to seek out ways to matter – a pursuit that would only confirm to me that I don’t matter as my efforts fall flat.

Instead, choose to focus on what God sees in you. There is a particular characteristic that He intended to shine through you. You can easily spot that trait in others, while the monster prevents you from seeing it in you. It’s the quality you find most appealing such as being authentic, loving, courageous, compassionate, generous, or purposeful – the possibilities are many. Consider the people who have had the greatest impact on you or left a deep impression. What quality did they embody? When you identify that quality, you will know deep down that it is God created you to be at the core.

God sees me as loving. On my own, I do not love well. It is only when I allow God to be alive and at work in my life that I can fully love the way He created me to.

When loving is my way of life, I will experience the mattering I long for. The same will be true for you. When your life matches up with God’s view of you, your deep need will be satisfied. Then the fear monster will be more likely to stay in hibernation so that your relationships can thrive and your ability to influence others will be greater.

What’s your fear monsters name? What wakes him up? How would things be different if you embraced how God sees you?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / bertoszig

10 Comments on “What’s Your Monster’s Name?”

  1. Marvae, you are a master at using stories and word pictures to get your point across. This is great! So helpful!!! First, recognizing the name of our monster – and then the steps to take. Awesome!

  2. Very appropriate! When I see so much happening in the news around the world it makes me wonder what monster(s) people are dealing with that causes them to commit such atrocities. I believe that the “monster” we deal with may still be inside sort of like an alcoholic or a addict and we have to continually confess what God says about us to keep it calm. The monster that I combat rears it’s ugly head whenever someone says or does something to me unjustly that hurts my feelings. It came to live with me after a very traumatic marriage break up that resulted in my losing every meaningful relationship in my life…family, friends etc. I am a giver and a nurturer and will go out of my way to help others even to the extent of being self sacrificing. Therefore, when someone, especially a loved one, would hurt my feelings I used to immediately fly off the handle(and it was ugly). Now that God’s unfailing love has shown me that it’s not always about me but more so about them, I have become more empathetic, patient and understanding with them which in turn has quieted the monster inside of me..

    1. Carolyn – So delighted to hear that God has been working in your life and growing you to be more empathetic, patient and understanding. That’s a wonderful place to be. It is clear that God has used hard moments for good!

  3. Thank you for your post, Marvae! Fear is an ugly monster. It’s fitting to call it a monster. I wrote a devotion about it in my book, so I can relate!! God can conquer any monster, and it requires us taking action like you said. Thank you for the steps and the help! Blessings, Katy

  4. Two nights ago I had The Dream. The theme is always the same: I’m a student, I can’t find my locker (sometimes I find it, but can’t remember the combo), I’m late for class and don’t remember how to get there, and sometimes, I can’t even remember which class I’m supposed to be at. I can’t find my schedule, or my homework… It is always such a relief to wake up.
    I’ve had this dream for years, and I realize it surfaces every time when, in real life, I’m afraid of being shamed. As a young person, it meant hiding my faults and hoping no one uncovered them. At middle-age, it’s more a fear that, in measuring myself against my goals, I’ll come up short.
    I am taking to heart your encouragement to seek out the qualities God sees in me rather than attempt to be more of the opposite of what I fear. For me, that means abandoning defending myself (to both myself and to others) which is my natural reaction when I fear shame, and focus instead on simply being faithful, giving my best to the day’s duties and relationships He’s given me.
    Thank you for very practical applications!

    1. Wow! Powerful realizations! Thank you for being transparent and willing to share. I know others will be encouraged by your insights.

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