Red Letters

Red Letters

Deep Thought Thursday: #1

For the first Deep Thought Thursday entry, I wanted to bring you a little bit of writing from Rainer Maria Rilke, an early 20th century poet and writer. In one of his letters to a younger writer experiencing great fear and sadness, he offers this advice:

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting
to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything
that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that
wants our love. 
[text of full letter]

Our world is filled with dragons of all sorts. Those dragons would keep us afraid, locked safely inside, and well-armed with weapons against the dangerous world.


But what if they weren’t dragons at all? What if we were only tricked into thinking they were dragons and they were really princesses crying out for love? Would we hear them over the deafening screams of our inner fears?

What if, as Rilke suggests, the things which frighten us are the ones most in need of our love?

What frightens you in this world? Is it possible that Satan has planted this fear inside of you because God has created you to bring Christ’s love there–into that place you fear?

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posted August 19, 2010 at 10:56 am

What frightens me is failure. It’s funny because as a teen and in my 20s I had no fear of failure. It’s only after I came to Christ that failure started to really wear on me to the point that I don’t do a lot of things because my brain says it’ll likely fail and be a waste of time.
Makes me wonder what opportunities I’m missing/have missed because of it to share Christ’s love.

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James Hutson

posted August 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

My biggest fear is that I will be a failure as a man, that I will not be found capable of loving that special someone, being a faithful dad to my children in love and discipline, and that I will be found in the community of men to be less than a man.
But each day I give these fears to God and acknowledge where I have failed, where I have been less loving and where I have been less than the man God designed me to be. I am more of the man that I want to be when I am in the thick of ‘it’, helpless and without strength, because then God moves in and it is His strength that helps me move in the darkness and bless others with the power He gives me….
I live my fear each day, by the power and strength of Jesus Christ.

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Kirsten Vogel

posted August 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

I’m afraid of dying. Really. And yes, I am a Christian and a part of me is always homesick for heaven and Jesus. But since I became a mom (almost 16 years ago) I am much more aware of my own mortality, and not for my own sake, but for the sake of my family. I am much less willing to ride crazy roller coasters for fear I will plummet to my death, I’m afraid my plane will crash when I fly, or I will get bitten by a poisonous snake if I go into the woods, etc.
I’ve talked to many people about going on mission trips to 3rd world country and from what I’ve witnessed, people’s reasons for not wanting to go usually stem from some sort of fear of death or the like. “Aren’t you afraid to get AIDS? What if your plane crashes? Do you see rebels fighting?” I answer that sometimes I afraid, but I refuse to give in to the power of the enemy by letting fear keep me from what God has called me to do.
As I get ready to leave the country to travel to a third world country in less than four weeks, yes, I’m afraid. And I’ll keep quoting scripture in my mind, I’ll hug my babies and my husband tight, I’ll get on that plane and I won’t let the enemy keep me from the big things that God wants to show me and to be a light and a help to the poor, the widow, and the orphan. Kiss my butt satan!

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Robin Stanley

posted August 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

Sheer craziness, Tom. I’ve been thinking about dragons for two days! The word and associated images have been lingering in my subconscious, popping out on book titles and in random conversation. I even went to sleep with Pete the Disney dragon singing his theme song “in my ear.” I haven’t seen or thought about that movie in years, maybe even decades! You can bet I’ll be listening for what God has to say to me through your post and through Rilke’s quote. The end of the first line as I read it, caught me mid-breath. “…princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.” Thanks for the deep thought and the challenge to consider my response. Blessings, friend.

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Robin Stanley

posted August 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

Kristen: Way to kick the conniver to the curb!

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Duane Carter

posted August 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Nail on the head, Tom, nail on the head. I’ve often heard Dan Allender say that God often meets us in our darkest places, and I am sure that the enemy knows our callings and assignments better than we do. I vote we go in there to those places of our fear and meet our destiny. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Tiffany Stuart

posted August 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm

The timing of this is significant. Not even a minute before I said something out loud about dragons while I was listening to an audio teaching. God is speaking…
LORD, help me go there…

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posted August 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I have a confession. :) I almost didn’t come to your blog today, because when I saw the title I thought, “I’m not sure my brain can handle any deep thoughts today. I just want a rest from deep thoughts.” And I rarely find a rest from deep thinking when I read your stuff. :)
Wow. I’m glad I read it. It seems like you must have been sitting in the den last night with Todd and I as we talked about some “dragons”. The conclusion of our conversation last night led us to, “Is it worth it?”
Is it worth it to face our fears to bring the gospel, is it worth it live a life that glorifies God no matter what the cost, is it worth it to maybe give up everything for the sake of bringing His love to others?
I believe it is. God, help my unbelief.

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posted November 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I have been working through some fear lately, and I thank you for more words that God is using to show me His presence and grace as He walks with me through the fear to bring His love and light into a new place.

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posted November 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I hope my dragons are resally princesses… am willing to rescue them… with God’s grace.

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