What are you afraid of?


Rascal (my dog) loves going after bugs that are crawling on the floor…wasps and bees that buzz around in the summer…. He will snap at them…play with them…eat them…

But let him hear or see a fly, and he is panic-stricken! He will cower in the darkest corner he can find…bury his head in my lap…go outside and hide in his doghouse. Once he becomes aware of a fly in the house, it becomes a challenge to get him to come in and stay in…and once in, we know where we’re likely to find him–backed in as far as he can go under the desk, under the kitchen table, behind the toilet stool in the bathroom…

His reaction doesn’t make any rational sense. Why would he continue to go after wasps and bees and yet panic at flies?

Once we have killed the fly, it still takes time to convince Rascal that he is safe. Then is when he needs the gift of touch–needs to push himself into a lap as tightly as possible…demand that at least one hand is stroking him…and yet I can still see in his eyes the fear that the fly may not really be gone. His eyes wander the room constantly, and the slightest noise that sounds even remotely like a fly puts him on edge, ready to flee again.

But is that really so different from us humans?

Yes, there are rational things to be afraid of. There are battles we find ourselves needing to fight at times. But how often do we go after the wasps and bees in our lives–and yet panic over the things that can’t possibly hurt us?

Unfortunately, when I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I’m often like Rascal. I can deal (mostly!) with the big things–but the little noisy things sometimes throw me for a loop and I want to hide. I don’t really trust God to protect me, and I find myself on edge, ready to run away, to find a hole where I can hide.

But flies have never hurt Rascal–and they won’t hurt me either. Both of us just need to learn to trust those who love us, who say, “I’ll take care of you…you’re okay.”

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