Stop, drop, and roll

When God says “Write.”, I write. It is not always convenient. In fact, it rarely is. I have been awoken after midnight with His call to write. This morning, I tried to ignore Him because it’s a subject I’d rather go to the dentist than write about. But He knows I need to free myself of this filth, and so, after the second call, I pick up the phone and answer Him. “Okay,” I say. “Okay.”

Days or weeks or however long later, when I look back on what I’ve written during these Conversations with God, it’s the most remarkable thing: it’s like reading someone else’s journal. I don’t recognize the words. I don’t remember typing them. I can’t recall – at all – the thoughts swirling through my head that produced this stream of consciousness. Which makes me believe there is a deeper me in there, waiting for Someone to let me out.

_____

In elementary school, we learned that, in case of emergency (namely, fire), to “Stop, drop, and roll.” I think that these instructions related to being set on fire. Why would a child of young age remember such a thing? Why would they teach children of such a young age what to do in the event that they are consumed in flame? These are topics for another day.

In any event, I believe that the idea behind the instructions was to impart that, in the face of fear (in this case, the fear of being set on fire), don’t panic. Instead, stop what you’re doing, drop to the floor (because smoke rises, and the air will be clearest there), and roll away to a safer area.

Fear is a silent and deadly disease. For some, it is a call to arms. For me, it completely disarms. Whatever the case, it operates like a cancer, at first infecting us through a single incident or life moment or season, and then, if left untreated, metastacizing until, before you know it – well, you’re really sick. Sick in your mind, sick in your heart, sick with headaches and bellyaches, sick from “unknown causes.” Sick and tired. Failing to thrive.

This is where I find myself, only, I just realized it. In God’s mercy, He took the blinders off, so that I could finally lay eyes on my enemy. I actually have two: Fear and Shame. Shame, we will have to tackle another day. Fear is on today’s docket.

_____

It dawned on me, in a moment of shocking clarity, that – when things get bad (and I mean really, really bad) my instinct is to run. To stop, drop everything and get the hell out of there. Not even take time to raise the white flag – just come to an immediate stop and disappear. As if the problem is also going to just stop and disappear. Directly after this moment of shocking clarity, a flood of memories proceeded, like a parade of the past, in which I abandoned life hastily in the face of fear.

In reflecting upon these memories, and pattern they reveal, it’s apparent to me now that they were the early manifestations of a spirit of fear taking up residence within me – all before I hit twenty-five! Like a disease, it infected my life over and over again, and my response was one of amputation. I cut off that life, slapped a bandage on the stump that remained, and hobbled on until I adapted to a new way of living.

In writing this down, I realize now how much my perfectionism plays a part in my pattern. If it cannot be perfect (a standard that is unreachable and even if reachable, is untenable), I find a way out, even if I have to take drastic measures to do it. It is either all, or it is nothing. There is no process of working through, of trying, of talking this over with myself or someone who could possibly help me. 

Why? is the great question. Why am I like this? How did I get this way? I don’t know. 

What I do know is that God’s given me the opportunity to write this so that I can gather up this litter and dispose of it at the foot of the Cross. He can recycle it into Good. The polluted river of my past that plagues me and the ones I love, insidiously affecting the way I treat myself, my husband, my children, my business, and all things of value in my life – is purified into the Water of Life through Christ. 

What I do know is that the spirit of fear is a weapon of the father of lies. No spirit is higher and more powerful than the Holy Spirit, and our strongest weapon against the enemy is and always will be, until Jesus’s return, the Sword of the Spirit – His Word. Using the Word of God to fight back fear, and prayers of delivery, become the arrows in our holy quiver. I remind myself that I am a daughter of the King – of the High Priest – and that His Spirit is within me. It is a hedge of protection stronger than any fortress. It is a call to peace that surpasses any of my understanding.

Stop, drop and run can now evolve into a ressurrected form of stop, drop and roll. When fear rises up within me, and I sense the overwhelm it brings, I know now that I must first stop. Just STOP and don’t make any decisions – for at least 24 hours, maybe longer. This is a must for me. This includes saying things to my loved ones that I could regret. 

What I do during this time is DROP to my knees. I pray for delivery from the Spirit of Fear. I command the Father of Lies to go to the foot of the Cross where Jesus will deal with Him, according to the Word of God. I ask for forgiveness, and express gratefulness for the ability to spot this cancer and pray for the Great Physician to heal me of it. I pray for a re-filling of God’s holy love, for a covering of protection, and peace. I pray for help.

And then I take a deep breath and ROLL. I roll on with life, and give myself a brownie point for doing the best I can.  Just yesterday, I saw this graphic and it immediately resonated with me. Print this out, tape it to the mirror or in your car. Say these words aloud, slowly and with confidence.

It’s not perfect. Never was and never will be. Is this what spiritual maturity looks like, you say? Is this what wisdom is, I wonder? I have no idea. But, I can tell you that it feels a lot like peace.

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