“Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!”
I was 8-years-old when my Dad asked me to go to our mailbox to get the daily newspaper and mail. I plodded out there, looking carefully in each box at the end of our short driveway. I don’t know what alerted me to the impending danger but I instinctually looked back over my shoulder. Sprinting towards me with snarling teeth was our neighbors pitbull. I took off like my life depended on it, because it did. I wasn’t fast but I tried. Unfortunately the pitbull was faster and gaining on me quickly.
At the last second, like a scene from a kid’s movie, I saw our German Shepherd come racing around the house. He intercepted the Pitbull and possibly saved my life, at the minimum a severe wound.
Whenever I read the words of Psalm 22, “Deliver … my precious life from the power of the dog!” I think of this moment. I don’t know who David’s “dogs” were but mine was not a metaphor at 8-years-old. It was a literal dog and I was scared out of my mind.
All of us can share a story when fear took over because life was on the line. When fear consumed because financial ruin was imminent or a marriage had just imploded. The truth is there is so much to fear.
We are living in a time where there are very real things to fear. Job losses, viruses that leave us or our loved ones very vulnerable, family relationships that are teetering on the edge of collapse. God never tells us to just “think positive.” In my last post I show how God actually wants us to give voice to fears and anxiety.
The unique thing about today is how we can feed our fears. Not in giving more fuel to the very real fears we face… but by adding to them exponentially. If we fear and worry about 4 things right now, a few moments on Twitter or Cables news can round that list out to an even 10 by the end of the day.
Never before have we had more opportunity to expand our list of “potential fears, very bad calamities and imminent doom”. The internet, cable news and social media are all built to add to our list of things to fear.
I think this is one of the reasons that study after study shows that the more you read the news and scroll social media… the more likely you are to struggle with overwhelming fear, anxiety and depression.
In this time, we all have plenty of very real concerns we carry in our lives. Take those to God. But also, be radical in refusing to add to your list of reasons to fear. Stop feeding the bears, making them fat and active in every corner of your life.
The reality is, for must of us, we can update the information we need in 5 minutes on the internet each morning and evening. Why consume more? Is the price you pay truly worth it?
We often say, “don’t feed your fears”, let’s also say “Don’t create a bigger list of fears” We’ve got enough on our plates as is.
One tool that I use on a regular basis is an app called, Insight Timer. This is a great app for meditation, stillness, prayer and even sleep. I personally use it often for a timed ten-minute period of stillness and prayer before God. Check it out if you are looking for a tool to help as you set aside times of focused silence and stillness with God.