“You Are Here!” I love those signs in the mall with the red arrows showing me right where I am. If only all of life included those arrows.
Unfortunately, more often it’s like walking down a sidewalk and unexpectedly walking into a spider web. At first there’s shock, then there is the moment of realization. You end up on YouTube running wildly down the sidewalk while making shrieking sounds and all sorts of jerky, waving motions with your hands. YES, you just gave birth to FEAR!
How did you do it? That event had some legitimate concerns attached to it, but it morphed from concern into fear by the narrative you created around it. You unknowingly gave fear a subtle invite. Your imagination channeled images of spiders you have seen in horror films.
The difference between fear and concern is the difference between bondage and freedom. Concerns are real and have to be acknowledged.
It is a legitimate concern that there may well be a spider lingering on the web, and it needs to be dealt with in legitimate fashion. Removing the web and checking for spiders sometimes may require the help of others to check for places you can’t see. This is called safety planning. That’s how you deal with concern.
Waving your arms aimlessly and shrieking while running down the street does not address the concern. It actually gives credence to an ever enlarging, imaginary fear which grows greater with every step and shriek. Emotional safety planning begins with turning fears back into concerns then replacing the negative accusations with positive affirmations.
Fear Narrative: I can’t do it, I’m all alone!”
Safety Plan: Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Fear Narrative: “It looks to me like all is going wrong and everything is turning out horrible!”
Safety Plan: Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Romans 8:28 – God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
You are here! Coronavirus, vicious political landscape, social unrest. With all that and more, it is easy to put on emotional blinders and miss the love and care that is still all around. I can’t change spider webs from being created and catching me off guard. But I can change how I think and react to them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
We have great concerns that are upon us right now. Sometimes we may need to seek out others to help us add to our positive narrative. But once in place, it will put you in charge of the concern leading to healthy thoughts and emotions. Otherwise you are handing control over to fear which will fuel anxious thoughts and imaginations leaving you further away from love and peace ( and possibly more uncontrollable hand waving and shrieking).
Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.