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Oh my goodness, fear and it’s counterparts, offense and drama, is such a powerful drug and I’m a total junkie, I’m telling ya. Or at least I would be a total addict if I wasn’t so keenly aware of it and willing to admit it constantly and pay attention to it.

This year has been especially challenging because there has been so much uncertainty which really helps to feed fear. Than there are these fear mongers working 24/7 trying to get you hooked. Looking at you Governor! I mean, if we’re not perched on the edge of total economic collapse and about to spontaneously combust due to civil unrest, we’re allegedly about to all die from some dreaded disease.

Darkly humorous, but the internet is a bit like a smorgasbord of fear and offense just waiting for you to pick your poison. It stretches out before you like a grand feast. The converged media is just like that, too. In fact, their click bait is all about giving you just want you need, just what you crave. So is real life on the ground sometimes, it just comes at you so much slower and is a wee bit easier to deal with.

I spend an awful lot of time in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Laughing here, but sometimes I’m much like an exhausted toddler stumbling about the living room and no longer making any sense. I’m so overstimulated, I really just need a juice box and a nap.

Here’s the good news! We actually do get to choose what thoughts we’re going to entertain, how we shall feel about it all, what we will focus on at any given moment, and how we are going to process it all. We get to choose. We get to control the horizontal and the vertical. We CAN live and walk in Corinthians 10:5, with some degree of success, even!

I like to play the river game, engage in some mindfulness. You have thoughts and feelings floating down a river and you just practice watching them float by. Some of them aren’t even yours, most of them really, they’re just bits of flotsom going by in the current. Then you practice choosing which one you are going to bring to shore and entertain, host, visit with. If you don’t like your choice, toss it back in the river and choose a new one.

I just mention it because for a few decades I was such a captive to my thoughts, feelings, and circumstances, and did not know I had a choice or any control over those things. There’s kind of grand conspiracy going on in the world to convince you you’re powerless, too. We say really passive things to affirm this lie like, “I can’t help how I feel or what I think.” We tend to do really passive things too, like say, “I fell in love.” Not my fault, I just “fell.” That’s one of my favorites because it’s so hapless like, “He tripped me.”

More good news, once you learn how to exercise some degree of control over what thoughts you will entertain, you can also gain some influence over how you will feel. Many people I know often fall in and out of love or proclaim things like, “the honeymoon is over,” as if they are just innocent bystanders in a dance they don’t even understand. That’s true to some degree, perhaps 2%. I mean the sun is shining, you’re in good health, and it just seems as if the whole day has conspired to make you happy. Those influences however, only make up about 2% of the story. The rest is really all on us.

Never mind human relationships, that’s just a pleasant diversion, I’m thinking more in terms of falling in love with the Lord, of seasons and honeymoon phases, of building a strong relationship with Him when times are good and when they are just hum drum and so-so. Laughing here, but “boring” is okay, “hum drum” is a nice period of rest and stability. Sometimes we people can get so addicted to drama, fear, excitement, the crisis of it all, that it’s absence feels wrong, unnatural, unfamiliar. Feelings don’t always tell the whole story.

Fear is a thief, it steals your freedom in more ways than one.

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