Fight or Take Flight

Have you ever been confronted with something and thought to yourself: Yeah nah don’t want to deal with this; I don’t want to have to deal with this… I don’t want to be in this situation, #cantdeal!

This has been my life for the last little while, having to navigate through a situation I just don’t want to! If you’re anything like me, in the past I’ve fantasised about running away… I actually don’t know why I wrote ‘in the past’; let me be completely honest, just recently I dreamt about leaving everything behind and going away to start somewhere new. A little dramatic I know. It’s just so much easier than having to deal with life! SHOCKING right? You might be thinking: How can you say that – you’re a part of church leadership and something bigger than yourself, and you serve a God who is even bigger. What could get you so down that you want to take flight? Easy! I’m human.

Back in the day (I feel like I’m too young to use that phrase, but let’s go with it) I studied theatre and screen performance (…and the Oscar goes to me!) in improvisation classes, there was a game we used to play where you’re in the middle of a scene and anything can happen (improvising), the outcome depends on your response. You can either accept what is happening around you and add to the scene spontaneously or you can block any advances from other actors, and get stuck at a dead end because you couldn’t handle the change of direction.

Legend has it that Marlon Brando’s extremely famous taxi scene in On the Waterfront was completely improvised! Although the director will object that it’s simply not true. (Some useless trivia for ya!)

This also brings to mind the phrase “fight or flight” the “fight or flight response” is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, threat or harm (got that line from a YouTube vid when researching.)

In real-life it’s the same way, when confronted with problems and issues in our lives, we often want them to just go away, or we think about exiting the situation ourselves (flight), so we don’t have to deal with it, or we shut down.

I have been a master shutter-downer-er in the past; the moment I feel emotionally threatened or overwhelmed, I go quiet and I back off from everyone around me, I go into my own little shell –- safe and alone where no one can find or reach me. Except God, of course. I’ve always been an introverted-extrovert. Put me around people who I know and I’m close to and comfortable with and I’m often the loudest person in the room (people always tell me they could hear me laughing from the other side of the building), but in situations where I’m not comfortable and around people I don’t know too well, I’m pretty quiet, shy and reserved.

I’ve never been a person who shares my problems or what I’m going through with anyone. This is both a good and bad thing I think, but it’s true of many people and is often a tell-tale sign that someone is going through something, if you notice they have become withdrawn.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to: Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

When faced with something we want to run from and not have to deal with, we should in fact off-load the burden onto our Almighty God – simply because He tells us to.

I’m the first to admit that it’s easier said than done, it’s hard to put things aside and forget about them when they’re so present and energy consuming, but I find that when I ask God to help, somehow miraculously, burdens are lifted ever so slightly, day by day until you can’t feel any more of the weight.

A couple months ago I had a terrible day that lasted a week! I cried sporadically for 24 hours straight – I couldn’t shake it! Every day for a week I would get up and just be so sad, which is not normal for me, I’m not a consistently sad or depressed person. So I began to pray. There’s a difference between praying and not seeing results straight away and giving up OR praying and believing that all my hope is in God, you know He will show up and you know He will and has taken your burdens; a lot of the journey called life depends on patience.

So I held on to that hope, and surely enough, when I was least expecting it, in a moment of surrender I felt complete relief — the tightening in my chest was gone in an instant and my shoulders relaxed. God is incredible — He reminded me that He’s never let me down before and that He holds all of my outcomes, so what was I worried for?

What I realised while writing this is that when you decide to fight and by fight I mean, fighting on your knees in surrender, not giving up, standing strong against all situations that come your way, when we hope in and wait on God, we are actually both “fighting” and “flying” – take a look at this — Isaiah 40:31 says:

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Kinda like the line in that song – “I touch the sky, when my knees hit the ground.”

Pretty cool.