The girls and I took a little trip to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History this week, and took a quick peek again on their special exhibit on fear, while the experience was pretty educational, the exhibit itself is well, a little bit frightening, or maybe the better word would be frenetic–perhaps too much for this introvert to take in all at once.
Several of the displays discussed the fact that our fear response is, of course a good thing, it’s the thing that triggers our fight or flight instinct. Our “spidey sense” is triggered in the part of the brain called the amygdala (that’s a good one for your next Scrabble tourney).
They had displays on everything from simulating being tracked by a panther in the jungle to hands-on stalls, where you had the privilege of experiencing fears that a lot of us share: like the fear of falling, “touching” animals that the majority of us hate: mice, a hissing cockroach, a tarantula, and a booth set up to deliver a small electric shock via your finger (I should add this disclaimer, that the girls didn’t have much of an idea of what the “should” be scared of, since they can’t read yet).
But here is the text that struck me the most from the whole exhibit:
Even though animals freeze when initially surprised, their most common response, once the fight or flight mode kicks in, is to scram!
As with humans, the fight or flight response helps keep animals safe by raising their blood pressure, heart rate and breathing pace, improving their chances of making a speedy escape.
But flight is a trade off: While it helps animals stay alive, it also takes a lot of energy and requires that they stop whatever they’re doing, no matter how important.
The last phrase is what grabbed me, because I can see a human correlation in this, it’s when I was going through the most fearful times in my life that I was the most “frozen.” The Enemy loves this, He loves for us to be beaten down, tired, so worn out with the “what-ifs” that we forget that there is a bigger world out there, of lost and dying and suffering people, in all of which God can use us, our hands and feet to be HIS remedy for people in even worse situations that we find ourselves. I’ve heard this phrase several times, “God doesn’t need me to get His work accomplished.” This may be true, but WE need him to hold us up in the darkest hours and I believe the one, true solution to this is to keep going, keep pressing and keep giving.
And yes, I think this fear can be translated still into our relationships. There is a difference between danger and the simple frailties of humans. The truth is, no matter how “safe” I am or others are around me are, we are still human, fallible, capable of getting sick, tired, or just grumpy. The beautiful thing about all of that is, though, is that God has all, I mean ALL of the bases covered. It’s because He loves us and His very nature is true and faithful.
So drink this in, and see if you don’t breathe just a little easier after you read the last line. Go in peace this weekend, be refreshed and trust that God is greater than ALL fear.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed his he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.