When Fear Is at Your Heels

Guest Blogger: Vicky Smith 

Find her on Twitter: @pinkwritinglady

 

The wind was blowing my hair and the trees beside me as I walked down the carless country road. To my right stood an empty field, and 200 feet beyond its red and yellow flowers flowed the waves of a lake. It’s the lake by which I was raised as a little girl and still visit as a 20-year-old. As I continued to walk, I gazed up at the sky, transfixed by the truth that God spoke its infinite size into existence and continues to paint it the colors of the rainbow in various combinations, yet never forgets its timeless shade of blue. With a conscious awareness of God’s own living creations around me, I felt content in the moment—as if nothing was lacking and all was complete. My entire being directed praise to the living God—until fear interrupted the moment. My worst nightmare started creeping up behind me. For some people, a worst nightmare is a room full of spiders or a pit full of snakes. Neither of those scenarios are my worst nightmare. My worst nightmare can oftentimes become a reality for those who reside on the countryside; mine is to be tracked down and attacked by a wild dog. I am terrified of wild dogs. Unfortunately, this fear conflicts with one of my favorite hobbies: walking outside. As I was walking down the road, a little dog decided to follow me. Yes, it was little, but I remained aware that not all small dogs are friendly. I walked on, feeling my heart beat pick up. Each time I’d turn around to shoo it away, it’d stop walking. When I slowed down, it slowed down. When I sped up, it sped up. I soon became frustrated. Realizing I did not bring my phone or any form of protection, I started to panic. I turned around and ran at the dog, commanding it to go home. It ran backwards for about five feet, then barked and growled. To my disappointment, it walked forward once again. I finally decided that the best way to scare away the little dog would be to walk by the house of the people who own two giant dogs. Those two dogs terrify me, but they are fenced up, and the little dog would simply be intimidated by their bold barks. My plan worked. When I walked by the two big dogs, the little dog left. When I returned home from the walk, I realized I had not experienced fear from a physical circumstance in quite some time. However, the same feelings of fear I experienced with the dog following me are the same feelings I experience when I encounter emotional and spiritual situations. On the walk, I had recited Joshua 1:9, which was my favorite Bible verse as a little girl. 

Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

I continued to pray to God as I walked and thought of people whom I could ask for help along the road, if necessary. Though I felt childish, I was genuinely afraid. After the walk, I experienced physical and emotional exhaustion from the stress and anxiety.

 How do I react to fear during everyday situations?

Did I turn to God when my college homework and job overwhelmed me last semester?

Did I trust God when my oldest sister was diagnosed with cancer?

Have I thanked God for the countless times He has kept me safe from the little and big dogs of life, regardless of whether or not I can see them?  

Even though I cannot see it, a spiritual war is waging around me. Ephesians 6:10-13 says, 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God…

I placed myself in a dangerous situation when I did not bring my phone or a form of protection on the outdoor walk. I place myself in an even more dangerous situation when I pursue sin, allowing Satan to deceive me. When I pursue God, however, I am safe—regardless of my physical or emotional circumstance. When all logic screams danger, God can whisper safety. Psalm 23:4 says, 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

This summer, regardless of who or what chases you physically, relationally, emotionally, or spiritually, remember that God is not only your refuge when you are afraid (Psalm 46:1), He is eternally the home of your soul (Psalm 16:8).

2 Timothy 1:7 says,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Walk on. 

Walk with perseverance. 

Walk with dogs behind you. 

Walk with a purpose. 

Walk the path God has set before you.  

Walk with God right beside you.

For the soul to be well, it needs to be with God. Our souls were made to walk with God.
— John Ortberg

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