Friday, June 17, 2016

Forgetting to Be Afraid

A few years ago we taught our dog, Lucy to swim. Well, one doesn't really teach a dog to swim--it's more of an instinct. But we encouraged her.

For years she waded into water until she couldn't touch the bottom, then turned around. Then one day, I threw a tennis ball into a quiet pond--just beyond where she could still keep her feet on the ground, and she swam out to get it. 

She was so otherwise focused that she forgot to be afraid.

The following year, she was a bit timid, but you couldn't get her out of the water. This year, she flew in after the ball. Being afraid of the water was not even a memory.

That's the beauty of being a dog. They don't remember a lot. Why else would they get so excited when you walk into the room after leaving only five minutes before?

Last weekend we went for a hike. We were alone on the trail, and I was enjoying the beautiful day. Suddenly, this anxiety came over me--I thought about bears. Springtime is cub and mama bear time. My heart skipped a beat and I lost the peace I'd had only moments before. 

I remembered to be afraid.

Is there something in your life that you have to remind yourself to be afraid of? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Who reminds themselves to be afraid? It might sound crazy, but I think we've all done it. 

What if, instead of remembering our fear, we refocused our attention? If we became so intent on grasping that which awaits us in the deeper water? 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid (John 14:27)

This was said just after Jesus told his disciples that he would be going away, but another Advocate, the Holy Spirit would be sent by the Father to teach them and remind them of everything Jesus had said to them.

They were troubled.
They were afraid.
They were reassured.
They were reminded.

When I remembered that there was the potential for bear encounters, I also reminded myself how the year before, when we walked 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the most heavily bear populated area of New Jersey, we did not see one bear. I reminded myself that we had prayed for safety before every hike, and I reminded myself that I had forgotten to do that this day. So I fearlessly "dove in to the water," choosing to forget to be afraid, fixing my eyes on that what was floating in the water that was just over my head. 

Instead of focusing on the bear encounter I might potentially have, I decided instead to have an encounter with Jesus. I prayed to the Father who loves me, the Son who understands me, and the Holy Spirit who reminds me that fear has no power.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Today, if you need to remind yourself to be afraid, why not fix your gaze on what is just beyond where you can safely stand? Be like Lucy, and dive into the water with reckless abandon. Swim to safety forgetting to be afraid.

Blessings Along the Path,

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  1. A great post, Mare. I love the dog in the water picture, reminding me of our golden retriever of once upon a time. But the reminder of God's peace is more wanting each horrid headline that I read in a world and nation where governments have discarded God and given license to evil. Love you friend!

    1. Good to "see" you. I miss you. We need to talk soon!

  2. I love this Mary! I lived with fear for far toooooo many years. Remembering His peace over my fear is my message to myself every day! Blessings to you!

    1. Me too! Always a blessing to see you here, Deb. I've missed my bloggy friends.