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This New Year has prompted me to review some of my old journals. In one of my entries I wrote about an instance where I hesitated to press into a particular situation for fear of potentially bringing up trouble. It was just too scary. It felt too risky. To use an analogy from the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I feared awakening a metaphorical Balrog.

If you’ve never seen the movie or simply don’t remember, a Balrog was the fiery powerful demon-like creature that the Dwarves awoke when they dug too deep looking for mithril, a precious metal used to make their famed armor. The end result was that the mine was abandoned and given up to the Balrog after he defeated the Dwarf king.

Over the years of helping people I’ve discovered that it is common for people, including myself, to have encountered a Balrog. By that I mean we have started off with good intentions in an area of our life, but then a painful failure or a significant trauma occurs and due to the pain of that event we relinquish that part of our life to never enter it again. The pain is our Balrog, and it controls us with fear.

We all deal with our Balrogs differently. For some the Balrog isn’t asleep and is closer to the surface constantly inflicting pain. For others, they let it rest in a deep, dark, long-forgotten “mine” and arrange their lives so as to not get anywhere near the mountain the mine is in much less the actual mine itself. But either way, the Balrog forces us to abandon meaningful parts of our soul that we cannot afford to lose.

It is here that the story ends for many. For some they deny that there is anything that should be recovered. And if they dare remember, they don’t believe there is a way to defeat the Balrog and take their life back.

But this is where the story truly begins. This is when life turns epic. With help, there is hope. For you must remember, that real Balrogs rule through fear. Yes, there will likely be pain and discomfort in the journey, but it is a journey that is worth every step.

With the help of God and others I chose to face my Balrog. Is this the year you will take back areas of your life and defeat your Balrog too?