The other night, about 3am I woke up to a loud thunderstorm. The entire room lit up and our dog Max, (a terrier slash fox hound – whose talents include jumping, digging and howling like the hound that he is) was shaking uncontrollably underneath the bed. He was deathly afraid of the storm, and with every tremble . . . he farted.
We’ve had this dog 10 years, and I’ve never known this to happen. Of course, it’s never on John’s side of the bed, always mine, but it wouldn’t matter. If a tornado took the roof off the bedroom, John would continue to sleep.
I have to say, Max has been through a lot in his 10 years with this family. In the beginning, (BK) Before Kids, he was the Prince of the House. He wore sweaters, napped at the end of our bed, had a constant stream of bones and toys at his disposal. Life was one big adventure.
As time went on and kids began to infiltrate our home, one by one, he moved lower down the totem pole. At this stage, he’s just excited that someone remembers to feed him. Good ole Loyal Max. When we brought him home from the animal shelter, we proudly bestowed him with the name Jack. A good solid name for a terrier, don’t ya think?
One year into enjoying our little Jack, we found out we were having a boy, and the name Jack suddenly became a valuable commodity. My husband’s name is John and he wanted his son to be named after him, but we did not want to burden the kid with being John the 4th. So we changed the dog’s name from Jack to Max and gave it to our son. Poor thing was confused for . . . who am I kidding — he’s still confused. He’ll come to anything you call him.
So when I woke up, it wasn’t the lightening that acquired my attention, it was the smell of FEAR, that smelled like a fart. That’s the way it is in life. We fear the storm, we fear failure, we fear loss of a job, we fear lack of safety for our children. Fear is like an electric fence you can’t see, with signs hanging everywhere – “Beware”, “Feel Guilty” “Don’t Forgive” “Don’t Try This”, “Failure Isn’t An Option” You’re a Loser” “Don’t Rock the Boat” “You Won’t be Accepted” . . . It holds us prisoner within invisible borders, whispering to us in the night.
Don’t allow FEAR to get its tentacles in you. Instead, embrace life, get up and grab it by the horns; write your own signs: Seize the Day, Try New Things, Do Your Best & Forget All the Rest, Failure IS an Option. We learn when we Fail. Of course, we don’t want to fall, but if living in Fear of Failure is gonna hold you back from pursuing a life of meaning, adventure, peace and purpose, then it has to go.
You don’t want to wake up in the night and smell fear. It presents itself in various forms, shapes and sizes, often renaming itself, in hopes of disguising its identity. You can put new clothes on it, maybe add some lipstick, but it’s not your friend. Just like Max trembling under the bed in unproductive Fear, (not the adrenaline rush you need, before standing in front of a crowd) but the kind of fear that holds you captive, holds you hostage to the great life you deserve – Fear, by any other name, is just a bad smell.
Now go out and live the life of Purpose and Meaning that God has called you to live – and embrace the adventure.
Fear not, I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall now overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. And the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43: 1-2