Thursday, May 06, 2010

Preferring Common Sense Over Fear

Back in the 1980's I had a friend who was, well, kinda paranoid about her kids' safety. We sat at the park one day while our kids played and she pointed to a row of hedges and chuckled, "I see those and I imagine bad guys lurking behind them." She always insisted we lock the car doors before we buckled up. She drilled her kids about Stranger Danger until they felt every person they did not know was a potential kidnapper.

Following our visits I'd feel a worry cloud drape over me. I'd watch Naomi closer and drill her about safety, I'd lock the car doors immediately and check behind bushes at the park.


And then eventually I'd have to shake that cloud of worry from me because living in fear felt dreadful. It wasn't godly for one thing, not biblical and it ruined my days. At that time in my life I was lonely and wanted to imagine strangers as potential friends, not potential kidnappers of my daughter. I wanted to view other people the way God viewed them--with compassion and a love which was strong enough to lead Jesus to a cross.

So God led me to balance. He reminded me that wisdom goes far in keeping my family safe--go out at foolish times to foolish places and you're begging for trouble. But use common sense and basic safety skills and you'll most likely remain safe. And I like to think He showed me how to transmit this to Naomi without instilling a distrust of all people everywhere, but rather, a trust in using common sense and relying upon God's protection. (I chatted with someone yesterday, a former child of the 80's, who still feels the stranger danger fear and distrust of people. Still, at over 30-years-old.)

I've learned to recognize my own danger signals. Oh, not the kind which you think. I mean, I've learned that when I start viewing every tattoed, black-haired teenager as a potential murderer, then I've been watching too much tv news. If I'm looking around with suspicious, beady eyes in a parking lot on a sunny morning, then I need to cut back on the crime shows and Internet news. If I'm not seeing people as God sees them, then somewhere I've gone wrong.

Living in fear is tragic, not to mention hard on your health, physical and mental. Yes, the world has become more dangerous. I get that. But God has not become weaker, nor does He love people any less than ever before in History. And now He wants me to view my fellow shoppers as not only potential friends, but potential lovers of God. I see so many sad eyes out there and may I always, always remain sensitive to God's nudges to step over and help a potential child of His find her way Home.


If old-fashioned shyness is more of a problem when dealing with strangers, here's a post I wrote about that.


"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." ... Dorothy Thompson


Tracy said...

Another great post, Debra. I love it! :)

Patty H. said...

I dont' post often but I do read your posts. I enjoy them!! Always seems to speak to what I'm going thru.

Patty H. said...

Debra, you comment on my post did make me smile, especially since I'm a blond!
Patty H.

Donetta said...

good news is like a drink to a thirsty soul
I think that the common sense angle is my adaptation now thank you dear heart. I lack that balance raising the children to miss the beauty.
I miss the beauty.
While on the other side of the pinjalem (sp?)
so many things that were very bad occurred to me I did the old pinjalem swing.

insight Debra insight
Thank you