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
Christian Blog Perspective

What Time is It?

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What Time is It?

“My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:15a

The most accurate clock on earth is the US Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I have a little clock at home that is connected to it. Using a low frequency wireless transmission, the US Atomic Clock beams it’s super-accurate time signal straight to my clock’s internal receiver. Viola! Daily updates ensure accuracy to the fraction of a second.

However, something happened recently to shake my faith in the ‘mother of all clocks:’ my little ‘chip off of the old block’ started inexplicably losing time. It was barely noticeable at first, but it was happening surely enough. My supposed super clock no longer agreed with the time on my cell phone, or, more importantly, the microwave.

“Uh oh,” I said to no one in particular, “I guess the subscription to the mother clock ran out.” I took the atomic clock junior off the wall and headed straight for the trash can. Yes, all the clocks in my home must say exactly the same thing. Anyway, just as I was about to drop the clock into oblivion, I saw it–the cover to a tiny compartment containing two AA batteries. You guessed it, I promptly replaced the batteries with fresh ones, and the clock once again keeps perfect time. The problem was on my end, not the source.

Hmm… there’s a life application in here somewhere. King David, of ancient Israel, wrote about it in a prayer to God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We know from other texts, that David wrote these words shortly after scandal rocked his kingdom. He had slept with another man’s wife and she was now pregnant. The betrayed husband was one of David’s most loyal military leaders, but the king had him killed to cover up his own sin.

David lost his connection with God. His spiritual batteries ran down and tragedy ensued. He stopped checking in and chose to check out–until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. He desperately needed to reorient himself to God.

As any good carpenter will tell you, even a few degrees off level is a no go. The fact is, it doesn’t take long to become out of plumb with God. Listen to Amos, the Old Testament prophet:

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos 7:7-8

The world has a battery draining effect on our spiritual senses; losing our fellowship connection with God adversely affects the mind, will, and heart. However, we may not even be aware of this–until God asks, “What time is it?”

So what is the solution? The daily check-in and the weekly recharge! Spend time alone with God at least once a day and observe the sabbath each week to replenish spiritual batteries.

Staying in sync with God means maintaining a good connection, just like my little clock does with the US Atomic Clock. Now that I replaced the batteries, that is.

“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15
Categories
acceptance change Christian Blog

The Times They Are a-Changin’

road nature trees branches
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“What is your name?”, I asked a patient in the Alzheimer’s unit where I visit once a month. “My name is *Ellen,” she replied, “but it will change.”

Apparently, there are those who know they have dementia and those who do not. Ellen is in the first category, but seems to take it in stride.

I decided to leave the conversation at that, but wondered what this kindly woman had once done for a living. Judging by her answer, she could have been a famous philosopher.

The scripture above says life is GUARANTEED to change–just like the seasons. It’s beyond our control; Summer turns to Fall and Winter is next. All one can do is prepare for the inevitable.

Is it just me, or does the free acceptance of fate sound a little depressing? Maybe that’s why, in this age of social media, there aren’t many “Ellen’s” posting about themselves with brutal honesty on FaceBook or sharing unvarnished self-truths on Twitter.

Who wants to be vulnerable?

Yet, in my new friend at the Alzheimer’s unit, there seemed to be no fear of embarrassing exposure. Ellen, even in her present condition, is keeping it REAL.

Going forward, I intend to do likewise.

Prayer:

God, you know the way I feel, You knew it from the start.
Show me what’s really REAL; guide and guard my heart. AMEN

*Not the same name she said–to protect her privacy.