This is my command, be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT
A few weeks ago, my friend Diann and I went for an hour walk-n-talk in the country. Corn fields galore. The further we went, I had an “oh my gosh moment!” I had to go to the bathroom (can I just say pee?). I blurted out, “I have to pee.” OK. Alright. We looked around, she laughed and said something like “well, there is a cornfield. You good at squatting? Go a few rows back, no one will see you.” I hesitated and said, “OK, hold my phone. I’m doing it.” So, I did.
After exiting the corn field and resuming our walk, we were laughing and carrying on, when two huge, fierce, barking dogs at a house yards in front of us suddenly appeared. We stopped, debated, and decided to go another way. The other route lead us to another dog. Ugh…dogs everywhere! We were stuck at a crossroad, the clock was ticking, our husbands weren’t answering their phones and we discussed our views on hitchhiking…funny stuff. What seemed like an hour later, her hubby called back, picked us up and drove us past the house, not before slowing down to taunt and scold the dogs. Once past, we jumped out to finish our walk-n-talk.
The other day, I set out on a bike ride. I chose a different route because it was windy and I wanted an easier ride. Confession, some days I like easy routes. My bike rides are my time with God and this day was no different. I asked God to “let me see what He wanted me to see and to help me not miss one thing.” Riding. Riding. Riding. Gulp. I realized I was coming up on the back side of that same road where those dogs live.
Do you ever have those moments when your mind thinks and processes more thoughts than humanly possible in a very short amount of time? Well, this was one of those time for me.
I quickly assessed how to get around it and realized it would take more time than I allotted…once again. Glad I peed before I took off. Then I was like I need a stick, a big stick to beat those dogs when they try to attack me. I went into begging mode, “God please give me a stick.” I am telling ya, I was frantically looking around for that big stick. Saying, don’t let me miss it! Nothin. No stick in sight and no quick path home. Well, I turned the corner and was on that road; and, yes, still looking for a stick. Dog house looming ¼ mile.
What did I spy with my little eye? Not a stick, but a piece of Styrofoam. Really God? A big piece of Styrofoam. I rode past it. My thoughts were again frantic. What to do? My peddling slowed substantially. I thought, “do I need that piece of Styrofoam to beat the dogs?”
I turned around and picked it up thankful it was big, and that it had a slit that miraculously fit over my handlebar. I could still steer and shift gears. I’m was like OK here is my big stick. Still peddling slowly, those quick thoughts came again…how would I beat those ferocious dogs with my new weapon? Or was it to be a shield? Either way, I realized I would inevitable be knocked off my bike and mauled by those 2 wild black beasts.
I started begging again, “God please let someone be home so that when I scream REALLY LOUD they will hear me and save me from those malicious dogs who are snarling and going to bite my leg off and that bite will give me rabies. I will have to get rabbi shots. I will get a major infection, end up with staph and in the hospital.” Whew…I’m telling ya all those thoughts in ¼ mile. The mind is a powerful thing.
Then, I had the most rational thought. The Styrofoam would act as my shield and protect me from the dogs’ deadly bites. It would scare them because it was big, white and flapping in the wind. And of course, I would be screaming because that’s what I do when a dog comes at me. This combination would be sure to ward off the attack.
Plan in place, I geared down or was it up…whatever, I was able to peddle fast but of course safe enough so I wouldn’t peddle myself right off my bike. Once past the cornfield (where I had peed with Diann), the house was in sight. I saw a neon green shirted man on a ladder working on the barn (no time for a pic here). Yes Sally, there is a God! I realized my shield or weapon AND my scream would suffice now. My scream would catch the man’s attention and the shield and weapon would protect me until the man could reign in his unruly dogs.
Deep breath. Peddling. The property line. My eyes darting every which way. My ears on high alert. My heart thumping. Hmm. No barking. No beasts charging the road. No dogs. I was safe. I would not be mulled, infected or have to endure rabbi shots. I would not warm up my vocal cords or get to use my Styrofoam Shield or was it to be a weapon?
Smiling, I asked God, “What was that all about?”
Riding. Listening. Thoughts coming. Grabbing my iPhone, punching in my password, tapping iTalk, hitting “Record,” I started talking.
My 13 take-a-ways from my ride today:
Some Questions to think about:
What is your “barking dog?” How is it helping you to focus? Or how is it distracting you? What fears stand in the way of your destination? How will you navigate the journey? What would a Styrofoam shield or sword do for you?
Share your comments and thoughts. As always, I would love to hear from you!
“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” Dorothy Thompson
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