Moving to the Edge

Our dog Glory loves riding in the car, but it hasn’t always been this way. When we adopted her, she trembled in the backseat until we got home, even though my friend talked to her gently the whole time. She’s had a lot happen to her; much of it we’ll never know. She came to us with scars on the inside and fears of all kinds. In those days, it was mostly about being abandoned.

Things are different now with two dogs, but there are times when those old fears return. When we went to the dog park, what should have been fun with other dogs seemed scary to Glory. After walking around the fence with us once, we took her off the leash, ready to let her run. Instead, she made her way to the front gate and just sat there. Eyes red and breathing deeply, she did not, would not move, no matter what we said. I guess she connects that kind of freedom with being left without her family. I want to tell her what I know about the dog park: This is fun. Dogs LIKE this place. You are safe, and we’re right here. And I feel sad because she doesn’t understand. Maybe she will one day if we keep trying.

I wonder if God sees us the same way. He leads us to a place that might ultimately bring us more peace than we’ve experienced, but all we know is we don’t like change. Yet, we try it out, tiptoe-ing down that bumpy path and turning back when it gets too hard to navigate the way. After all, we make a cozy bed in our comfortable place, put our feet up and prepare to stay for a long, long time. Things aren’t bad there, right? We become used to okay. I wonder if God feels sad about this because he knows things could be so much better for us.

When I am challenged to move to the edge of what I know, I am like Glory–heart pounding, deep breathing, trembling. My head believes even this has meaning, but all I really want is to burrow into my still-warm bed and hide my head under the weight of the comforter. I don’t know how I will handle feeling lost, and I worry I will be unsettled forever because somehow this is hauntingly familiar. I trust there is goodness on the other side; still I am scared. Why would anyone want to revisit this?

And then comes my reassurance:

Be strong and courageous, for I am with you. Do not fear, for I am with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9

It’s when I remember right smack in the middle of my wavering– God is here, too, and has never left–that I start to loosen my grip, one finger at a time. This is a long, slow, seemingly never-ending process because I move forward, push back, take a step, jump back, want to control. I cry and breathe and pray.

Then, I’m shocked because I realize I’m fighting against my own release.

And although my fear makes sense to me, pulling away from what I ultimately need does not. So, I bravely push back the covers and get out of bed. Once again, I’m taking one step at a time further and further into the unknown but closer and closer to the edge of freedom.

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3 thoughts on “Moving to the Edge”

  1. Fear drives behavior and fear demands to be paid attention to now! We tend to want to do that which will lessen our fear and release the tension it is driving in our lives. Usually we can run from it in some manner; sometimes just by not dealing with it till it fades. Fears don’t go away unless they are dealt with; they come back and sometimes stronger because we know we ran from them so they must be bad. My fears tend to deal with the things I love the most and in some way will harm those things. I wish I was fearless because I think God provides for that in our lives…. to lean totally on Him and trust Him we should be able to be fearless. I think the first step is to do what you describe. You have got to decide to deal with it. The fight is against yourself not necessarily fear. You have to fight yourself to take the chance and let God show again how trustworthy He is. So the fact exposes itself that I don’t trust God enough. That somehow if I hold to something tight enough I can deal with it or protect it. It is not a pretty thing to live in fear.

    We rescued a dog that trembles when riding in a car and runs and hides if we raise our voices even if we are cheering watching a football game. When we come home to him after being gone a few hours he just goes crazy as if he was worried we would never come back. Like you we wish we could assure him that all is well; their is no need to fear; we have his best interest at heart; we may not be there in person but we will return. Like you I wonder if God feels the same about me. The things I fear are similar to our dog’s and have no basis at all. The one fear I do have that I am sure is based on fact and that is the fear that I don’t trust God enough.

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    1. I think trusting God is a choice that has to be made over and over and over again throughout the minutes and hours of our days. At times, it’s when I realize my fear that I begin to mull over how to deal with it. I wish it was more automatic, to pray about it right away. Sometimes I do, but it takes me quite a while other times. Maybe that’s what our lives are all about–learning to trust in order to receive what else is out there for us.

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