Categories
Anxiety Christian Blog

A Brush With a Bobcat

“USA_D802921” by Drumsara is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

At twilight this morning, I crossed paths with a bobcat. A medium-sized wildcat native to North America, the bobcat is an elusive and solitary predator. The one I met was about the size of my miniature schnauzer, but with razor-sharp claws and teeth. He paused at the edge of the road and stared back at me as if to say, “You’re in MY territory.”

Anxiety is a bobcat of sorts. It too is an elusive predator that specializes in chance encounters. Often appearing in a dusk or dawn moment of life, it pauses at the edge of the road and stares back at us as if to say, “You’re in MY territory.”

Luckily, my brush with a bobcat ended peacefully. He vanished into the trees just after the brief stare down.

In keeping with the analogy, as a card-carrying anxious person, here are three things I do to manage my encounters with negative-“bobcat”-emotions.

Use Mantras: confront weak emotions with logic.
These are short positive statements said over and over to remind yourself what’s really REAL. My favorite mantras are from the Bible. This verse has gotten me through many a restless night:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

Unplug: occasionally choose solitude over people
Spending time alone is a great way to recharge, recalibrate, and reclaim your emotional well being. This is a life hack Jesus used in his busiest ministry days; He often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16). When anxiety levels rise, try taking a break from anything with a screen–unless it’s a screened in porch!

Don’t fight the feeling: let it pass over you instead.
A soldier friend, who suffers from PTSD, told me he’s learned not to resist the traumatizing pictures in his mind, it only makes them stronger. Instead, he let’s them pass through until they weaken and disperse–like a brief storm.

Hopefully, I can wrap this up with a favorite quote from the movie, “Gladiator”

I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’

General Maximus (Russell Crowe)

Bobcats and unwelcome emotions are bound to cross our path at times.

“_D802910” by Drumsara is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Smile back.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/29/a-brush-with-a-bobcat/

Categories
Hope

A One Firefly Night

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5

Last night, just after dusk, I sat on the back porch taking in the sounds of nature. There were a few crickets and some bird who didn’t know not to sing after sun down. It was all garden variety, until my eye caught a green blink…blink…blink. A firefly!

Hyper-focused, I tried to guess where the micro flash would come next. Over by the storage shed, near the silhouette of a tree, surely this little guy has company!

But there was only one. A single firefly blinked several times and then was gone.

A one firefly night.

And it happened so fast, I didn’t get the chance to share it with anyone. I ran inside to tell my wife, “Sweetheart, I just saw a firefly. ONE firefly! I think I’ll name him Frosty.”

“Frosty?!”, she said.

“Yes, after Robert Frost. You know, the poet who wrote, Nothing Gold Can Stay?

I then began to quote, unprompted of course, one of my favorite poems:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

A single lightning bug–arguably, the most beautiful but fragile of God’s creatures, lives in the words of a famous poet, but also in the heart’s cry of Psalm 43.

Nothing Gold Can Stay.

The scripture, the poem, and the firefly: each say life is GUARANTEED to change. It’s beyond our total control; all one can do is prepare for the inevitable.

Depressing? Perhaps. The free acceptance of an unknown future CAN be.

But you and I know who holds the future.

Put your hope in God; for I will yet praise Him.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/27/a-one-firefly-night/

Categories
Hope

Telling Ourselves the Truth

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Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6 NIV)

The brawny woman behind the ice cream counter slammed the scoop into a tub of butter brickle so hard it rattled the glass. Clearly discontented, she never looked up at my teenage brother and me–not even to hand us our double-dip cones.
That’s when my older sibling, rarely hesitant, asked the most daring question:

Maam, do you enjoy your job?

My brave brother

THAT got her attention! The ice cream lady looked up, glaring at my brother like a roller derby queen about to pounce. For a second I thought she would jump over the counter and start wailing on him with that scoop. But almost as quickly as it came, her penetrating stare softened into a heedful gaze. Even an eight year old me could see the wheels turning; it was an “aha” moment.

“No, I don’t like my job,” the woman said with growing resolution. “I used to be a truck driver, trucking is what I really want to do.”

Ice Cream Lady

That was it. We paid for our ice cream and took a seat. But, clearly, the would be truck driver experienced an awakening. Prompted by my brother’s question, she told herself the truth.

Good questions. God likes to ask them too.

I looked it up, the first question God asks is in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve have just eaten the forbidden fruit and hide when they hear God out for a walk. But God calls out to Adam,

“Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9

God knew the answer, of course–He always does–but he could have said, “What have you done?” Thankfully, He is more concerned Father than pitiless inquisitor (2 Peter 3:9). He just wants us to come back.

Today, may both you and I tell ourselves the truth–whatever it is.

Speak the truth and see what happens.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/23/telling-ourselves-the-truth/