Mom, Chad and I parked the car, then began walking into Walmart. The air was crisp and cool – though not too cool, hinting that Spring was on the way.

We walked through the double sliding doors, and were instantly greeted by… a scary goblin. There was orange and black everywhere! A banner over the second set of doors stated that due to an overstock of Halloween goods, the store would be decorated in a Halloween theme until mid-March.

Already I was freaking out, but I knew that I’d just have to swallow my fear of clowns and goblins, and do what had to be done. But I hadn’t anticipated every single Walmart employee being dressed in a scary costume; and this was the only time they’d ever been so eager to help, too!

As I walked through the men’s clothing section, I tried to avoid eye contact with the blood covered executioner. I started checking out the pants, looking for the size I wear. Over my shoulder I could see the scary man coming toward me. In fact, if my eyes weren’t deceiving me, he was running towards me.

I dropped the stack of pants I had to been looking at, and darted into the aisle. Long legs are definitely a blessing when it comes to out running bloody
“murderers.” However, parkour skills are involved for outrunning multiple bloody “murderers.”

I bounced between displays, around people, and over bins. It seemed like every employee in the whole store was after me! I was quickly getting boxed in. I just needed to get higher – to get someplace where they couldn’t. I started climbing up a shelf, but a hooded man with a scythe grabbed my leg and started pulling. I kicked and hit something wooden. I kicked again… and woke up.

What is it with nightmares? Why do we have them? I really don’t know, and I don’t know why I have the same one over and over again (I’ve never had a different nightmare from the “halloween at Walmart” one). Some times I wonder is it’s something spiritual – it seems like I only ever have that dream before going on missions trip, or something of that nature. Is it just an attempt to break me down; to make me say, “I can’t. I’m too afraid”?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because, truly, I can’t. Only Christ can. God help me if I ever say, “I can” – that’s when he gets less glory, and I get it all. If I don’t screw it up in the process, that is.

Ya know – maybe on that note, the nightmare isn’t an attack to get me to feel like I can’t do what I should do, but rather it’s actually a reminder that I can only do it in Christ’s strength! I mean, the dream has absolutely nothing to do with that theme, but it does make me feel fear and run to Christ for consolation. Without Christ – no matter how big or small my fears are, and no matter how week or strong I think I am – nothing of eternal value can be accomplished.

So while I hate clowns and goblins (but especially clowns), I’m thankful for them because they remind me that “I can [only] do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


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About tylerstembridge

I reside with my wife in midstate Illinois, just up the road from downtown Peoria. I spend most of my time working for the Hungarian Handyman, but I also love studying history (predominately American history from 1770-1870), cycling, and drinking good coffee.

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