Planted: Exchanging Fear for a Posture of Peace
Every morning, I roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, and take Theo for a walk around South Side High School. It is a great opportunity for our Australian Kelpie to sniff the bushes and for me to clear my head. Today was no different.
As we stepped outside, I felt anxious about the day ahead. I began declaring war against my mind and started praying with God. Immediately, I felt God place on my heart the word peace.
That word would be tested in a few moments.
Not thirty seconds later, an eighty-pound, tan & white dog, came charging around the corner barking ferociously. My fight or flight instincts kicked in and I did what every brave person would do...
Theo looked up at me unimpressed and probably thought to himself, "Seriously, dad?"
As the dog approached us, I continued screaming for the owner to come outside while Theo sat there calmer than a thirty-minute nap in a hammock.
Then, something normal happened. The dog ran up to Theo, began sniffing his butt, and they were friends. The owner finally ran outside, grabbed his canine, and apologized for the "altercation."
How often does our flight or fight instincts create a posture of fear rather than a posture of peace?
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." - John 14:27
The threat this morning was real but it was not worthy of my fear; as is often the case for many situations in our life. Too quickly and often, we assume a posture of fear and run from the battle raging on. What would it look like for us to be planted in peace during times of trials and moments of anxiety?
2020 has given us much to fear, but the enemy is laughing at our postures. While the threats we are facing are real, they are not worthy of sacrificing our peace. Here are three things I do—besides scream—when my fight or flight instincts kick-in.
1) Submit To A Time Of Prayer. Almost as soon as I could, I began praying with God during the situation this morning. I began to calm my nerves and focus on the peace God promises. I sometimes have to force myself to pray out loud so the battle can leave my mind and enter a new environment.
2) Embrace A Posture of Gratitude. I have said it before and I'll say it again: The opposite of fear is gratitude. We must switch our mindset from things we fear to things we are thankful for. This will help us maintain a Christ-like posture in times of worry and anxiety.
3) Communicate With The Garden. Did you know that plants can talk with each other (source here)? Just as plants communicate with the rest of the garden their growth strategies, we must communicate with our tribe when we are experiencing moments of fear. Don't fight this battle alone.
If you are fighting for your life, I encourage you to declare war against the things you fear and submit to a posture of peace. God will be with you every step of the way.