Carl and Bee were not happy when I placed the birthday hats on their heads. It was particularly clear that Bee wanted nothing to do with the pointed apparatus that was stuck on top of her head. Given it was Carl’s birthday, I felt that he deserved a party to celebrate his special day.
But to my two dogs, this was no celebration. The second after this picture was made, Bee leaned over and took her paw and swiped the hat off the top of her head. Carl was not far behind her in his pursuit of freedom from the strap that was holding the hat in place.
Once it was clear that they were not going to keep the hats on, I treated the dogs for being tolerant of my mischievous actions. And in no time, it was clear that my dogs had shaken off the thoughts of the hat and moved on.
Getting stuck or moving on can make all the difference to our emotional and spiritual growth. Every day we are faced with decisions that will cause us to become bitter or better. But there is nothing worse than being frozen in a web of fear.
It doesn’t usually take us long to formulate a fear that keeps us locked up. The web of fear is usually different for everyone and may seem ridiculous to others which causes the person to hold onto them with an even tighter grasp.
Jesus knew the embedded fears of everyone he encountered. He knew that in order for the people he confronted to be free, they had to get unstuck. And if you study out the people that Jesus healed, you will see people that were freed from the prison of fear.
Take for instance, the Samaritan woman. She lived in the fear of being alone. This fear was so extreme that she settled for a life from going from one man to the next. But when she met Jesus, this lifestyle drastically changed. No longer did she live in fear of rejection but instead she found her true calling.
On the other hand, the rich man who wanted eternal life approached Jesus, knowing something was missing but fearing that Jesus would address his wealth. When asked what he needed to do to receive eternal life, “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Matthew 19: 21-22
Notice how the man went away sad. Sad and stuck in fear. As I write these words, I am the first to admit that I have fears that I need to address on a daily basis. Hopefully, through focusing on the truth that Jesus shared, I will make decisions to move forward.
Carl has totally forgotten about the hat that was strapped around his head. After having a filling celebration snack, he has retired for the evening. As I lean over to pet him, I can’t help but think that this is what it looks like to be free from the fears that want to still our joy.