Max, my daughter’s dog, only weighs a whopping three pounds but the little guy has the demeanor of a bulldog…most of the time…
I took this video (above…actually I’m not linking the video because it’s messing up my post) earlier this year where he’d somehow gotten over to our coffee table but now wanted back to the couch but couldn’t bring himself to take the step to do so.
Fear separated him from what he so desperately desired.
I consider the times where I’ve mentally visited that same posture — resistant to take the leap but desperately wanting to get to the other side.
For me, fear was my hangup just like with Max but mine was long-lasting instead.
Our lack of faith or trust plays out in the form of emotions like fear, anger, anxiety…and the bottom line is it points back to an error in our relationship with Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 says, ‘You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.’
When I wrote ‘I’m Over You, Fear’ (last October) God did such an amazing work in me.
That word, fear, had hovered over me for years and years so that it had became so ingrained in me that I would, by habit, set myself up for failure. It was last year when I finally began to search my heart to figure out the problem and what I came to was that I had allowed different circumstances (from over the years) to define me which caused deep rooted fear as my internal self-label. I was living through built-up, unfortunate insecurities rather than releasing Satan’s stronghold to God — subconsciously resistant to giving them to Him for the benefit of peace and healing.
I look back and can’t believe how much time I let pass under the pressure of fear.
I know I write about fear a lot, but I do so because I realize how much of an issue it is for myself and so many others! Just this year, in 2020 alone, I’ve had multiple conversations with friends and complete strangers finally opening up about their real and ongoing struggle with fear.
The truth is…we can combat fear!! But we need to be intentional in pursuing Christ! Our relationship with Him needs to be alive and active, and the most important part of our lives.
Listen, Max didn’t get back over to the couch until my husband picked him up and moved him there. Max needed a helper and the same is true for us.
We must connect with God.
We need to understand that though our battles aren’t in our favor (it could be in the form of declining health, friendships on the brink, rocky careers — whatever area we need help) our faith will absolutely not fail when we’re making a daily conscious effort to connect with God.
He brings us peace and comfort if we will allow it and He’s big enough to handle us along with our problems!
Connecting with God looks like quiet time in prayer and reading His word. But it also includes listening to Him speak over our fears or whatever those feelings might be.
Listen to God speak over us.
Sometimes God answers our heart’s discontent through His word and prayer — other times through a Sunday morning church service, or through the wise words of a Christian friend.
Share our heart/feelings.
We knew Max was in distress because he unashamedly cried out in need, making his request known.
Allow your feelings to be made known to God and those He has placed in your life that you trust. Fellowship with other believers can be emotionally and spiritually therapeutic.
Joyfully soak in encouragement.
Max loves and finds comfort through my daughter’s voice, especially when Paige really sugar coats it with some baby talk…he listens excitedly then and it is a huge encouragement to him. Now God most likely won’t baby talk to us but we are His children and when we choose to listen He speaks truth and wise direction over us (in various ways) as our Heavenly Father.
We find encouragement through connecting with God, listening to Him speak truth over our emotions, and sharing our heart with those we trust. When we’re encouraged we believe there’s purpose and reason to celebrate! When we discover how freeing it is to be released from negative feelings we should desire more of God.
Maintain our relationship with God.
Max is so devoted to Paige it’s almost repulsive. All of Max’s fear and anxiety melts away the moment she scoops him up close to her. He usually puts up a rigid front against the rest of the family because he wants her to himself. He loves Paige that much. This I don’t recommend BUT in the same sense our daily relationship with God should be the dedication Max shows to Paige. We should want to be protective of our time with God, not becoming lenient.
Paige’s dog has developed a trust in her because the two of them pour love into one another and he faithfully follows her footsteps as his “choice person”.
I get it — because I get better, not perfect but better, at giving up my insecurities when I closely walk with Jesus…my choice person.
Our love for God, others, and self grows stronger the more we understand, develop and maintain positive habits learned from following Jesus.
Like Max, I too know I want to get to the secure side…and when I make my goals spoken and known I overcome the adversity with God right in the midst of it all.
I don’t want to write a story of fear but instead a story of faith.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. —Psalm 94:19