Give It to God and Go to Bed

Laura Harris SmithBy Laura Harris Smith16 Minutes

Excerpt from Give It to God and Go to Bed: Stress Less, Sleep Better, Dream More by Laura Harris Smith

Chapter 3

The Monsters in Your Closet

Remember when you were a kid and you would lie in bed in your dark room and imagine scary monsters and other entities hiding just out of sight in your closet? It not only kept you from going to sleep, but you also wondered how long it would take them to emerge once you finally overcame your fear and drifted off.

I was not given to fear as a little girl, but I can remember experiencing this a few times very vividly. There must be a large chunk of the population who share this fear, since Disney Pixar capitalized on it and produced the 2001 movie Monsters, Inc., which grossed almost $600 million at the box office. This Academy Award–winning film introduced us to an entire hidden world of monsters that generates energy by scaring human children, despite the fact that the movie is a comedy. Kids are supposedly toxic to the monsters’ plans for world bedtime domination, and everything goes awry one night when a child (“Boo”) sneaks into the monster factory and two sympathetic monsters must return her by morning.

Obviously, as adults we have overcome our fear of monsters in our closets. Or have we? At some point in our lives, all of us have lain awake at night with worries about how we botched today’s opportunities or with fears about tomorrow’s looming tragedies. The vicious anxiety/insomnia cycle will not just go away on its own. You must be proactive and fight it as aggressively as it fights you, whether it nags you once a month, once a week, or every time you lay your head on your pillow.

Indeed, there are entities hiding just out of your sight — not necessarily in your closet, but in the wings of your life — and you know what they are. If you are a child of God, then His enemies are your enemies, and His enemies are set on destruction. They lie in wait for you to open the door to fear, and the reason they strike at night is because they know that is the time when you are vulnerable, quiet and more easily influenced. They generate energy by scaring humans, just like the monsters in Monsters, Inc.

So there you are, all snug in your bed, trying to drift off to sleep, and these enemies get busy whispering their deceitful intimidations to you. Lies about your family, lies about your job, lies about your church, lies about your health, lies about your future and even lies about your self-worth. Must you fall victim to this every night, or is there something you can do? I believe that if you will be brave enough to open wide the closet door and walk straight into the monster factory, you will find that you are not afraid of them, but they are actually afraid of you! Your faith is toxic to them.

In all my decades in ministry, I have noticed three common “monsters” that want to intimidate people of faith and that specifically start growling at nighttime in an attempt to steal our peace, our sleep and then our dreams. They are monitoring spirits, and some of those are familiar spirits, and all of them want you to dress yourself in garments of fear, worry and other equally disruptive and devastating things. I want to help you clean out your closet and deal with these monsters one by one so you can start to get a better night’s sleep and take back your peace. Are you ready?

Monitoring Spirits — Demons That Monitor Your Activity

Did you know you have an enemy who has been studying you your entire life? He is none other than Satan, the devil, once known in heaven as Lucifer. Perhaps you have doubted his existence in the past, but surely you can look around you in the world today and see that it is becoming his playground.

The Bible tells us that, long ago, Satan rebelled against God and was forced to leave heaven. He took one-third of God’s angels with him, and these once-angelic beings became demonic entities that still operate on the earth today.

The good news is that these demons did not marry and procreate on the earth to increase their numbers. Our angelic helpers still outnumber them two to one. But that does not mean these entities are not busy. They have plenty of assignments from their diabolical leader, and on any given day, you are one of their tasks. If you are a person of outspoken faith who is constantly growing into the image of Christ and taking ground for God’s Kingdom in this earth, then you will most likely be on the to-do list of these fallen angels every day of your life. Just because you do not feel it does not make it untrue.

In fact, if you are an outspoken believer in Jesus and are not experiencing constant spiritual warfare, I can only attribute that to the fact that you are under the proper spiritual covering of the right pastoral leadership and/or that you have worked hard to close off every door and entrance point into your life. In effect, you have become invisible to your enemy. Yet even then, the enemy will push hard to reopen each door and rush in wherever invited— and sometimes where he is not invited!

Still, the enemy is smart. He has been around a long time and has these secret agents watching and monitoring you at all times. This is one of the reasons that I love Psalm 91 so much and claim it for my life. It begins by saying,

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.

Psalm 91:1–5 nkjv, emphasis added

While I love the idea of dwelling in a secret place that makes me invisible to my enemy, the grueling truth is that I am human and often do things to run out from under God’s refuge. Taking matters into my own hands, nursing that grudge, convincing myself that I am exempt from having to love the unlovely on any given Tuesday, et cetera, et cetera. And before I know it, I am no longer invisible or invincible.

The older I get, the more in love I become with quick repentance because of how it restores fellowship with God and gets me back into that hidden place where I am inaccessible to my enemies. Beware, because when you are accessible to your enemy— despite the fact that God’s free gift of eternal life has secured your future in heaven— your life on earth can be very chaotic. Your enemy studies your frailties and is a patient investor. In fact, you may even see a pattern of how he tries to attack you with the same weapons over and over again. These are struggles with which you are so familiar that you can hardly remember life without having to battle them. Let me ask you these twelve questions:

  1. Do your finances always seem to be lacking?
  2. Do you often get injured or have accidents? (You are sick a lot.)
  3. Do you struggle with a chronic ailment with little relief?
  4. Do you experience unusual chaos and strife in your relationships?
  5. Do you believe your marriage (or another relationship) is hopeless?
  6. Do you ever think you might have bad luck or be under a curse?
  7. Does prosperity seem to elude you?
  8. Do you have a history of divorce or breakups?
  9. Does it seem your promotions are always being sabotaged?
  10. Do you ever doubt that God loves you?
  11. Do you ever wonder if God even exists?
  12. Do you notice history repeating itself in your family, with the same struggles surfacing from one generation to the next?

If you did not know what spiritual warfare is before, now you do. It is all of the above. And these are some of the many signs that a familiar spirit could be at work in your life. What is a familiar spirit? We will look at them closely and answer that question in the next section, because they are real. Identifying where familiar spirits are at work in your life will assist you in putting an end to needless and repetitious spiritual warfare.

But before we do that, I want to give you a scriptural example of a spiritual force that monitored someone. I believe these monitoring spirits are some of the “monsters in your closet.” Acts 16 tells the story of Paul and Silas, as well as other believers, who were being followed by a spirit. I believe this spirit was monitoring their movements and reporting back to the enemy about the things they were doing, with the intent of bringing harm to their ministry. We refer to this type of spirit as a monitoring spirit.

It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave woman who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing great profit to her masters by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us and cried out repeatedly, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you a way of salvation.” Now she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and he turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

Acts 16:16–18 nasb

The Bible says that this girl had a spirit of divination, which is the enemy’s counterfeit of the prophetic gift. I believe she was monitoring Paul to gather information for her employers and not for her own use. Then it appears that she was reporting back to them with the information, and they would use it to plot against Paul and the others. This is exactly what “monitoring” spirits do. They have studied your comings and goings, your behaviors and habits, and they report them back to the devil, who has drafted a blueprint for the destruction of your family, career, happiness and future.

I am sure the owners of this slave girl with the spirit of divination were angry when Paul cast that spirit out of her. She was their slave no longer. She had to find a whole new job and start a whole new life. But she was free! And I am sure that the enemy is going to be angry when you dismiss the spirits that are tracking your steps each day to steal the future you are working toward, and that are trying to steal your health and divine instruction one peaceful night’s sleep at a time. But freedom awaits you!

Laura Harris Smith, Give It to God and Go to Bed: Stress Less, Sleep Better, Dream More. “Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group,” 2021. Used by permission.

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