As many of you know, the month of July has been tough on our family. At the beginning of the month, Mitch was injured rather severely while out hiking. The weeks since then have been filled with expensive vet visits, episodes of bleeding, restless nights and futile attempts to keep a very active dog inactive. It has not been pleasant, but God has been good and helped us through.
As Jason and I were speaking about how to progress once Mitch heals, I made the comment, "I'm scared to take them out by myself anymore. A couple of months ago, he was attacked by a pack of dogs, and now he's slit his paw wide open. Who knows what will happen the next time?" Jason was patient with me (as he always is when I get irrational) and helped me to see that I was living in a state of fear. "You can't be afraid to live life for fear of what might happen," he said. "You just need to live and trust that God will give you the strength to deal with hard times when they come."
I thought about his words. I thought about the two recent scares I'd had with Mitch, but then I remembered the hundreds (not an exaggeration) of pleasant hikes the dogs and I have had. Was I really willing to trade the hundreds of good hikes so that I'd never have to experience a couple of bad ones? Jason was right. I was letting fear make my decisions and rule my thinking. I was allowing fear to keep me from living life. I was dwelling in a land of "but what if this happens?".
II 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. Fear doesn't come from the Lord. So if it's not from Him, where do you think it comes from? It's just another tool Satan uses to get us distracted and off-kilter in our Christian walk. If he can trick us into allowing fear to rule our lives, he's won a great victory. After all, we can't have two masters. God and fear can't both rule. We must choose.
I've decided that once we get the "okay" from the vet, we'll start hiking again with Mitch. We did invest in some dog hiking shoes for him since he's prone to wander off the trail. Beyond that, I am going to try my best to not allow fear to rule my thoughts and actions. Instead, I want to live my life to the fullest each day, trusting that God will see me through any situations that may arise. Life is just so much sweeter that way!