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“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
Hermann Hesse (Photo by S. Kim Henson)

Our son sent the text around 3 in the morning that his dog Maggie was missing. I called him within minutes so we could cry together.

He had no idea how she got out of the backyard fence, but figured she ran scared because of July 4th fireworks.

I tossed in bed most of the night thinking about how lonely he must feel without his best friend, and about Maggie wandering big city streets, lost and frightened.

I knew how she felt.

I ran scared for years, although I’m not sure what I was running from, where I was going, or why I thought ‘over there’ was safer than my own backyard. I did busy work on my job and at church so I didn’t have to feel the fear. I ran to the refrigerator when I was home. Eating took the place of feeling anxious.

The rest of the time, I ran in circles. I couldn’t fold a dryer full of clothes without running from the pile at least once. A room never got cleaned in one fell swoop, but more like ten, and only because I happened to have a cloth in my hand when I was doing laps.

Undone projects spotted every room because I was too nervous to stay in one place for long.

The home we lived in the longest was arranged (not on purpose) so I could literally run in circles from bedroom to bedroom to living area to kitchen, and back around through a bathroom to start over.

I exhausted myself running scared, until the day I melted down in our bathroom.

I put the toilet seat down, sat in the darkness and bawled my eyes out.

The bathroom scene brought to focus that running scared intensifies my fear. Sitting still has the opposite effect.

Have you ever felt the kind of fear that sends you running scared; all the while you’d be safer if you’d stay put?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Running scared perpetuates fear. Sitting still fosters calmness. Our challenge is to sit still long enough to calm down.

On the side: While we panicked for 19 hours, Maggie was playing at a nearby house with the neighbor’s dog. Our son said, “Unbelievable. I’m having the worst day of my life and Maggie’s having a party.”

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