Dread

Internet provides a wonderful way to find incredibly good illustrations. We also find other people on Internet who tell you that the wonderful illustration is really a bunch of malarkey.

For instance, I had this inspiring story about a mama eagle teaching her young to fly. She invites them onto her back, flys high, high into the sky, then dumps them. The little one haplessly beats his wings trying to fly and when he’s in danger of crashing, she swoops under him, flies skyward then dumps him again.

Eventually, the little one learns to fly (or dies).

I was going to tell you about that today, but after some deep and arduous research (maybe 15 minutes on You Tube and Internet), there are more votes against the truth of this story than for it.

I’m beginning to doubt it myself. By the time the eagle is old enough to fly, he is as big as his parents.

I can imagine his mama as she talks to one of her sisters. “You wouldn’t believe it, Mabel. That boy of mine is as big as a cow and eats like a horse. When I dumped him off my back and swooped back under him, he nearly smashed me to the ground.”

Heights Scare us

That really messes up a good illustration. But, whether his mama takes him on her back or not, that flying business has got to be scary. Eagles nests are WAY up high.

Can you imagine standing on the edge of a nest 100 feet above the ground, trying to screw up your courage to jump for the first time? “Okay, I can do this… yes, here we go …uh, tomorrow … maybe. A fellow could die from that.”

Like my eagle buddy, I’ve noticed within myself a tendency to dread things I don’t want to do or more especially, things that I fear. As a result, I procrastinate. I stand on the edge of the nest and imagine all the things that could go wrong. Imagination fuels a feeling of dread and the jump seems more like 1000 feet instead of 100.

The Cambridge dictionary says that dread is, “extreme fear or anxiety about something that is going to happen or might happen.”

Some synonyms of dread are anxiety, apprehension, consternation, dismay, distress, fright, stress, trepidation, and unease.

So, your mother-in-law plans a visit and dread bobs to the surface of your emotions.

That important final test looms on the horizon and you already see disaster, one month ahead of time. Dread.

Two different friends contract cancer and you picture yourself taking chemotherapy. Dread.

Pastor asks you to teach the Wednesday night Bible study and you imagine that no one comes, that you forget everything you were going to say, and the world as you know it comes to an end.

“What if my kids are in a terrible accident.”

(For young people) “What if a get a pimple the day of my big date.”

What if …

You know what: most of the things we dread, never kill us. If you flunk the test, you’re still alive the next morning. Mothers-in-law mutilate very few people (99.999% of them are angels and the others … well, we generally survive).

Pimples happen. Big deal.

Dread can make you experience disaster three times—you live through disaster before it happens (dread); you experience the disaster; and you replay it over and over after it happens. We can’t do much about that middle one, but we can eliminate the other two. That way we experience bad things once, instead of three times.

Most of us can deal with it once.

Here’s some suggestions for those of us who have a problem with dread.

  1. What does God promise us? Repeat His promises over and over and remind Him of what He said (we’re really reminding ourselves. He doesn’t usually forget).
  2. Begin to imagine the coming event going really well. Dread is just negative imagination. Think about how it will be if everything goes right. That’s HOPE!
  3. Make plans to help things go right. Use that energy that you are using on dread to make something good happen. When we’ve planned and prepared we’re more confident. Dread has a hard time co-existing with faith and confidence.
  4. This one won’t work on everything but imagine what would happen if the worst happened. Usually we survive.

In the late 1980’s we lived in Luxembourg. The value of the dollar nosedived. As a result, it became harder and harder to meet our monthly expenses. Finally, our work budget registered 00 and we were living from month to month with no reserves.

I thought to myself, “What would be the worst thing that could happen?”

“Well, they might make us go back to the States,” I answered myself. I almost laughed out loud.

That was the worst that could happen? At that moment in time it would have seemed like a deliverance! In case you’re wondering, we’re still alive and kicking. We made it through that crisis and have survived a few others since then.

  1. Just do it. You father-in-law is coming whether you want him to or not. So quit worrying, griping and belly-aching. Live it when it gets there and then leave it after it’s done.

You Are Going To Make it

I’ve been amazed at how many times I’ve enjoyed the things that scared me, things that I had dreaded.

We’re going to make it. When I started with the Lord, I was told, “God is faithful.” You know what?  If there is one truth in the universe, that’s it. God is faithful. Let’s quit dreading and get busy anticipating what God’s going to do through us, for us, and in us.

Let hope kick dread out into the street then we can enjoy the event three times. We’ll anticipate it, enjoy it and roll it over and over in our minds with satisfaction after we’ve lived it.

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Hmmm …

“Start using get to rather than have to. You don’t need to become compulsive about this, but start intentionally using the language of privilege rather than duty…
Notice the difference it makes in your attitude. For starters, it can suddenly make you grateful. Rather than dreading or resenting an activity, you can be thankful for it. Michael Hyatt

Images: Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

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