A Trip Down the Stairs

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Heal me, Oh Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise

Jeremiah 17:14

If you fall head-first down a flight of stairs, you’ll be in the hospital for a week and your friends will feel sorry for you. But take an emotional tumble, that FEELS like somersaulting into a wine cellar, and your loved ones may not understand. After all, falling down a flight of stairs is an accident, but FEELING like you’ve done a cerebral cartwheel into the basement is not.

In truth, injuries to the psyche are ALL to REAL, and they leave the scars to prove it.

Confession: I’m a tortured artist type who occasionally struggles with roller-coaster emotions. But I don’t decide to be anxious or sad any more than I’d choose to physically fall down a flight of stairs. I’m simply one of many who struggle with inexplicable negative feelings.

From the dizzying heights of anxiety, to the double loops of despondency, I’ve experienced the whole enchilada.

Yet the coolest thing is, God always rides along–rooting for me the whole way (Jeremiah 29:11)–and, when it’s over, I always return to a healthier perspective.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon

So please don’t steer clear of a melancholic buddy. Come along side; ask about their well being. Then bring them back upstairs for some hot chamomile tea and a nap.

Disclaimer:
I speak from my own experience. Your situation may be different. If you struggle with long term anxiety and/or depression, please seek professional help.

If you’re still alive, it’s not too late

Regular David (me)

Plane Perspective

The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the unfaithful are trapped in their own wickedness.

Proverbs 11:5
My friend Jim’s Cessna 172

My friend Jim once took me up in his Cessna for a short flight. As we cruised over the tilled fields at 3500 feet, large round bales of hay on the ground looked like push-pins on a golden map.

That’s a bunch of hay!

As we flew, Jim shared some brief lessons about the fine art of flying.

  • Maintain a consistent altitude. Mostly straight and level is the way to go. The altimeter, which indicates altitude, reacts to where the airplane has just been– there is a delayed reaction. Because of this, it’s easy for a beginner to “chase” the dial, which leads to erratic flight.
  • If there is a mechanical failure. It’s time to find the safest place to land. Most people think if an airplane stops working mid-air there’s not much to do but prepare to meet God. In reality, it’s time to stay calm and remember your training; you are now in command of a glider!
  • Most crashes are due to pilot error. Make sure you’re fully prepared for every trip and don’t fly beyond your capabilities–EVER. Preflight inspections and checklists exist for good reason. Even a small aircraft has more systems than any one person can remember to check consistently. A written plan is needed.

Spiritual Applications:

Maintain a consistent altitude:

A consistent walk with God day by day is better than going up and down like a yo-yo. Don’t chase the dial; trust that God has you on the best path possible. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If there is a mechanical failure:

The only thing that’s the end of the world is the END OF THE WORLD. Most circumstances are not as bad as they seem. We don’t necessarily think like God or do things the way He does (Isaiah 55:8). So it follows, we don’t always know the true reality. The Bible contains many stories where God and some of the people on the ground didn’t see the situation the same way (my favorite is found in 2 Kings 6:8-17).

Most crashes are due to pilot error:

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:2). We can’t do what only God can (save ourselves), but God isn’t going to do what only we can: (maintain a healthy relationship with Him.)

“When God gives me a vision of truth, there is never a question of what He will do, but only what I will do.” Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers

That’s why a Christian pre-flight inspection–daily devotional time with God–is vital to spiritual growth.

Coming in for a landing.

May the ground rise up to meet you, but if it doesn’t, circle around and try again.

Regular David (me)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/20/plane-perspective/

Promises, Promises

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For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Have you ever had this experience? Your new electronic gizmo isn’t working properly, but there’s a number to call for customer service- “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Did I say customer service? It should be called customer NO service! What you get when you call is a computer generated recording with a lengthy menu of choices, none of which fit your particular problem. To add insult to injury, just press 9 to repeat the same worthless menu again! Your odds of actually talking with a real person are up there with winning the lottery.

On the other hand, when God says, “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” He really means it. Every one of His promises comes with an automatic, “Yes.”

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to You.

James 4:8

Isn’t it great that God is willing to come close to us? Like two boats coming alongside each other, our loving Father is willing to link up.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

Here,Christ Himself reminds us that God doesn’t hide from those who seek Him in earnest (Jeremiah 29:13). Look for God and you will find Him.

Promises, promises. Man makes them, but doesn’t always keep them.

God does.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Don’t Feed the Fears

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

My family loves to celebrate Independence Day, but our little dog doesn’t. To say she’s afraid of fireworks is putting it mildly.

Sami, a terrier mix, is the picture of tenaciousness. Need a rodent out of the shed? She’s your girl. Just leave the door open and she’ll come out in a few minutes with one in her mouth. But when fireworks fly, our little spitfire turns into a drama queen.

Just so you have the picture: she shakes, cries, slobbers, whines, and generally runs around inconsolably. Plus, once the fireworks start, she absolutely refuses to go outside to potty. I forgot to say we live in a small town where it’s LEGAL for EVERYONE to pop firecrackers on July 4.

Every year, we come up with a game plan to mitigate Sami’s fears. We try to schedule her outside potty breaks between barrages, and take road trips to areas that are fireworks free. No, we haven’t tried a “Thunder Shirt.” Maybe next year.

Doggie yoga doesn’t work either.

Last night, we left the house at dusk–just before the “festivities” started– and made our way to a firework-less town where no outdoor displays were planned. Sami enjoyed a walk at a park and we drove around a bit. So far so good.

“Let’s get some ice cream,” I said, trying to not seem anxious. But as we got closer to our favorite little shop, there were flashes ahead in the distance.

Oh NO! The casino up ahead must have gotten a special permit; they were putting on a HUGE display and we were headed straight for it!


Too late. Sami was already shaking like a leaf; time to turn around.

Sometime early on July 5 we made it home in one piece, and everyone began to calm down.

A day later, what happened reads like a second-rate dystopian novel–where every moment comes complete with its own artillery.

Thank God there’s a plan for such emergencies. “I’ve got this,” says the Almighty. “Just drive away from the fireworks.”

Don’t feed the fears.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/05/dont-feed-the-fears/

The Terrifying Toad

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

It’s baby toad season here at my GPS location. Dozens of them have taken over the yard: hopping around when I water the flowers, jumping unexpectedly into the house through an open door. I see them every evening.

The other day, my wife and I stopped by a local nursery to purchase some plants. Right next to the cash register, there was this larger than life concrete toad. Yes, we took him home. “Felix” now lives in the rock garden next to our barbeque area.

Check out the lower left corner. That’s a REAL one!

The only problem is, everytime I come out the back door with something for the grill, he startles me just a bit. Actually, it’s a little creepy–the way he looks at me with those stone cold eyes…

Self-doubt. It can take over your life-yard in a hurry: hopping around when you want to accomplish something, jumping through an open door unexpectedly. It shows up mostly in the evening.

It’s hard to be confident when you’re discouraged, because things you knew for certain five minutes ago disappear behind a smoke screen of timidity. What’s one to do with such feelings? Here are three of my favorite action plans. Yes, I’m an actual satisfied customer who used them all today!

Lower the Stakes

For some reason, when I get down, I act like a high stakes Vegas gambler–going all-in on one roll of the dice. #badidea The truth is, unless you drink poison, a single mistake won’t usually kill you.

We don’t live or die on one success or failure.

Jack Lemon

Break the Circuit

The worst part about self-doubt is the SELF part. Gazing at one’s own navel for a protracted period of time imparts a rather myopic perspective. “It’s not ALL about YOU, cupcake, so stop obsessing.” (That last statement was me talking to myself, but feel free to associate).

I’m just afraid I might have to stop talking about myself for five minutes.

Kinky Friedman

Resign as Manager of the Universe

There’s only one God, and you and I are not Him. Therefore, seeking help from a higher power actually makes sense. After my mom died from a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, I ended up with her favorite Bible. I found the following scripture, in her own handwriting, inside:

Self-doubt is often just a silly lawn ornament.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/03/the-terrifying-toad/

Do What’s Needed

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While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him strength in God.

1 Samuel 23:15-16

One Spring evening in 1975, my family was sitting down to dinner–all but my oldest brother, who’d just gotten his driver’s license.

The phone rang and my mom answered, but something was off. She hardly said anything. After listening for several seconds, she spoke: “Where is he?”

My sixteen year old brother had been in a car accident and was being taken to a local hospital, his condition unknown.

My parents rushed out the door, headed for the ER. I can still see dad’s crumpled napkin on the table next to mom’s unfinished plate.

Our fifteen year old brother stayed behind to look after my younger brother and me. Calmly, he plopped clumps of extra potatoes on our plates. “You’d better have some more,” he said. It felt surreal, the three of us dining in silence across from a trio of empty chairs.

Despite being only seven years old, I wasn’t afraid. My older brother had everything under control. It would be years until I realized how truly worried he was for our oldest brother.

He did what was needed.

Jonathan and David, of ancient Israel, were best friends: the king’s son and a shepherd boy turned superhero. But King Saul, Jonathan’s dad, had gone mad. He was jealous of David, fearing the popular young man who had slayed the Philistine warrior Goliath. With murderous rage, he chased him into the desert seeking to kill him.

But prince Jonathan risked his life to get to David before his dad and helped him find strength in God. At the same time, he was truly worried about his own father.

He did what was needed.

Back to the dinner table. My parents called about an hour later. Our oldest brother had a broken jaw but would be OK.

Here’s to Jonathan and my brother, Ron: two courageous caregivers who helped others find strength in God.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 32:24

Do it.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/01/do-whats-needed/