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  • Sarah Mascarello

Fight or Flight

We are all aware of the deep rooted stress response built into our body known as the “fight-or-flight response.” Wikipedia describes this function as “a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack or threat to survival.”

We are all predisposed to one or the other. We may choose to align our actions intentionally with either, but one seems to come as instinct. Let me give you a quick example.

My friend, who is also my running partner and I were out for a run one day. Suddenly a huge dog started barking and showed himself jumping above a fence. Immediately, I shrieked, grabbed her arm and wanted us to run away as fast as our feet would take us… “flight.” Yup, that reaction matched what I already knew about myself.

But, my friend, just kept her pace and calmly said something to the gist of, “Oh no, I won’t let that dog hurt you. He will have to go through me.” And then in a calm and steady voice she began to pray, “Jesus, please protect us and watch over us… etc.” She would have stayed to “fight” and protect her friend. The dog never came over the fence but needless to say, I felt overwhelmingly loved and safe and to this day, that is one of my favorite moments with my amazing friend. (Btw, I would have totally fought for her too if our feet couldn’t run fast enough lol.)

So, when you think about yourself, which one comes naturally to you? There is no wrong answer - it’s just the way God’s wired you.

I want to talk about this today because the world is going through something right now that fits right into what Wikipedia described when our fight or flight kicks in… “perceived harmful event, attack or threat to survival.” Between Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and what’s happening to the economy, mass job loss, isolation, etc., the entire world is experiencing the same event, the same attack, the same threat to survival.

So, let’s insert God into the equation. When you think about your relationship with God, are you more prone to run from Him (flight) or stand up to Him and speak your mind? (fight) Well, in my humble opinion, if given the choice, I believe God would rather us fight then run. In fact it reminds me of the story of Jacob in Genesis 32:22-32. I encourage you to read that story, it’s fascinating. Jacob wrestled with God literally all night long... and won! In fact, he was blessed and renamed Israel because he struggled with God and overcame. He walked away limping because the battle was not easy (it’s a cool part of the story) but he stayed strong and did not run away.

Friends, please do not run away from God. No matter what your natural fight or flight response is, THIS is an intentional choice. If your knee jerk reaction to all of this insanity is to turn away, I challenge you to pause and think it through. This is your moment. Choose the Lord and be blessed! Talk to Him, wrestle with Him if you must but please don’t run away!

God understands our human sinful nature, our fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, etc. Take your concerns to Him and don’t let go until you receive your blessing!

Remember, to be a follower of Jesus means to follow him no matter the circumstances. That includes Covid-19 and all the uncertainty it brings with it. Stay encouraged.

Prayer Prompt: Father God, give me the courage to come to you continually, in all situations, especially when I'm upset. In the moments I want to run away or look to other things or people to make me happy or give me what I think is peace, remind me that anything that I place in front of you is idolatry. Remind me that ONLY you, Father can give me true peace. Remind me that in your kingdom there is lasting security and I never need to worry. Lord, I choose you. Every day, for all of my days, I choose you. You have promised to never leave me and never forsake me. Thank you for this promise and all the promises that display your unfailing love. You are SO good and I am truly grateful. Forever yours Father, in Jesus name. Amen!

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