It was after 10 at night and my friend’s Mini Cooper couldn’t make it any further up the dirt road full of ever-widening potholes. The time had come for me to step out of the vehicle, throw on my backpack and trek into the darkness with nothing but an LED headlamp to light my way. It was a surreal moment. Was I really walking up a dirt road in the Georgia mountains looking for the start of a trail that leads into the dark woods only to look for a flat space between the trees to set up camp… at almost 12 midnight… by myself?? Why yes – yes, I was.
It was a defining moment of faith for me. Do I walk and spend the night in fear of who or what could ‘get me’? Or do I trust that God’s got my back and will guide my every step and keep the boogeyman at bay? I like God’s Word Translation of Joshua 1:9 that states, “I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.'” I did choose to trust in God, however… that’s not to say I didn’t have a ‘moment’ in the woods.
After slipping off my backpack, I made a quick scan of my surroundings. No bears. Cool. I start setting up my tent and make another sweep of the area with my headlamp. Oh crap – I see something. Two glowing dots next to a tree about 25 yards away. Panic mode begins to set in. I reach for my modes of self-defense in preparation of whatever may come my way. I look again, only to see they have not budged an inch. I decide to continue setting up the tent, since running was not an option (bears can run at least twice our speed). Every time I looked back over… the glowing dots had not moved. Suddenly, I see the ember of a cigarette go flying and realize it was just a fellow human being and the glowing dots were reflectors on his tent. Whew! Who needs coffee when you have scares jump-starting your heart like that? Zoinks, Scoob! So, I finished setting up my tent, hung my bear bag (which keeps them from moseying into my tent searching for a midnight snack) and hit the proverbial (and almost literal) hay. I wasn’t shot, stabbed or eaten. So far, it was a good trip 🙂
A thought for us all to ponder: How many times does our anxiety level peak over things that don’t even exist? Don’t get me wrong… there very well could’ve been a bear stalking me that night in the woods… but what about that conversation you might’ve had with a friend or coworker yesterday in which they responded with silence? Before you know it, you have this grand elaborate scheme of a story manifested in your mind of how much they hate you and are judging you right now… when they simply could’ve just been preoccupied with a situation they have going on with their kid or significant other. The names and circumstances may be different in your story, but the same lies very well could be manifesting in your mind. It really all just comes down to choice: You can choose to believe the made-up stories… Or you can tell your mind to shut its trap and have faith that things really aren’t all that bad.
Choose wisely 😉
Hope you’re having an awesome day and took at least one step in the right direction 🙂
-(NOT bear-bait) Jer