Fear Factor

Have you ever been afraid? Sure, I think just about everyone can relate to that gut-wrenching feeling of fear. The panicked, flight or fight response when your body tenses up or goes into complete meltdown because of some deep seated fear of dying, or falling off a cliff, or your youngest going off to kindergarten, or being poisoned by some foul toad bewitched by an unlikely fairy godmother. Well. You get my point. Big fears are easy to pinpoint and easy to explain away.

Yet, what about the little fears? The nagging, “uncomfortable” feelings that are not rational fears, but take hold of you nonetheless? Do we talk about those fears? Do we even call them fears? “Anxieties” perhaps? Unease. Apprehension. Worry. Perhaps this worldwide pandemic has heightened those unforeseen thoughts for you as it has for me. Do I send my kid to school this fall? Do I ride public transit ever again? Why am I finding it so nerve-wracking to be driving on a four lane highway again after so many months of going nowhere? Will I ever fit into real pants again?

I must tell you a little story about my weekend in order to assist you in following my web of convoluted thoughts about fear, and consequently, my muse this week. We spent the weekend up at the trailer, near the lake and welcoming the final weeks of Canadian summer (albeit a strange one à la Covid-19). My beloved convinced me it was a perfect opportunity to spend a little time canoeing with him. Now, I like canoeing. I used to canoe often. I’ve even canoed with my husband. I’m not a white-water portage expedition canoer, but I can paddle. Yep, I can even steer the motorless boat! Still, the initial reaction to the invitation was fear. I have not been in a dugout piece of floating wood in a very long time. Years. I’m a little curvier now. And less agile. And a whole lot “awkwarder” in a wobbly floatation device than I used to be.

Our old canoe was light, and very tippy, and sank to about an inch off the water’s surface. But, our new-to-us boat is wider and sturdier and “will certainly hold you” assures my beloved. I agree to a short paddle. Then fear. True, my fear was irrational. There was no reason for it. No clear explanation of why my brain went to where it went. I had a lifejacket. I can swim and paddle and have a partner with me. We were barely going offshore. Yet, there it crept: the nagging trepidation of the what if’s.

As I thought about those feelings and how irrational they were (we had a delightful time on the water by the way!) I was reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7. The Amplified version expands it out nicely:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC

Why do we get so caught up in our petty thoughts when the God of the Universe has given us a spirit of power and a mind that is in control? Do we let Satan weasel his way into our thoughts and twist them into self doubts, creeping anxieties and irrational fears? How much more does God want me to share my faith? Surely more than He wants me to try paddling a canoe after so many years. And yet, so many of us have an underlying fear factor there, too. Why do we find it so hard to share our faith? God is bigger than those fears! He gives us the power and the confidence and an extra dose of love to push us along the way. Like the gentle wake of our canoe, may you be encouraged by the wave of power that is God promised, and may calmness and self-control be your guides this week as you paddle through your faith journey, one small fear at a time!

Technical Difficulties

Well my friends, this post is going to be late. Apologies to those who read early on Tuesdays, but it just is what it is. I wanna say that I had “technical difficulties” and there was trouble uploading or downloading or syncing or something. Truth is, I’m just lazy and never got around to posting until now. But for the sake of saving my blogging status, let’s just say that there were technical difficulties, okay?

It’s what I’ve been musing about a little this week. That weird and wonderful subject again: technology. It’s a topic I chat about now and then, not because I am a big fan, nor am I techno-savvy or in anyway an expert, but because I am just the opposite. Self taught and struggling through. Our world is so automated now. Especially in this 2020 pandemic: Zoom chats, iphone messages, and let’s just take a moment to ponder how many students are now being educated via a screen! Bless your hearts, educators who have stepped up and had to put yourself out there “online” for all to see. If you saw my “unboxing” in last week’s post, you’ll note that technology (especially videos) are really not my thing. Leave me a printed note and this girl’s a happy clam. But, I digress.

The Mitton crew had a moment last week where we did have some technical difficulties, however. Minor, for sure, but our computer “upgraded” and suddenly we were locked out of our usual password. After numerous tries (why do we always check? It’s like pressing the elevator button over and over — it doesn’t make it work faster but we are convinced it does) we finally ended up changing the password and moving on. I’m positive ya’ll have experienced this in one form or another. Or you need to access an account you rarely visit and have forgotten the password? Or they make you change it — oh, and not to one you have used in the past, oh no, it must be new, with 8 letters and a symbol, but not an uppercase letter, nor your mother’s maiden name but contain the number 3 and be linked to your first pet… you get the picture.

I know, I know, Computer systems are there to help. Just think of all the advances we have made since the internet! Efficiency is the goal. Fast speeds and 5G’s. And it’s not the computer program’s fault if something glitches, it’s the user’s error, right? I’m learning a new system at work, and am struggling to remember the “steps” to get to certain screens. I know the information I want is there and available — but how do I access it? You hear me, right? I’m not alone here, right? All these thoughts have been swimming in my head this week and I’ve been trying to make connections (literally!). Are computer systems like our spiritual walk? We serve a perfect God who has all sorts of information available to us if we only knew how to take the correct steps. We are fallible humans who fall one too many times into the category of “user error”. We get “locked out” of blessings and joys because we haven’t linked in recently to the program and God’s plan for us.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Perhaps you’re debating the pros and cons of physical, real life connections versus “online”. Does God still work via the internet? I hope so, or this blog is not worth my time. Are you and your church leaders struggling to serve your communities “from a distance”? Should you open up the building or continue on YouTube? Are you a parent trying to plan for a safe return to school, but still being supportive of your teachers and your child’s friends? I want things to be different. I want things to be “real” and not the polished Instagram version of faith. I want to have truth and not algorithm based “likes”. Yet, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I’m limiting God too much. Surely He works above and beyond the confines of the internet. Of course the one who created the universe is not limited by digital glitches and binary systems. My faith is small. For Christ does not have “technical difficulties”. May you and I both be encouraged by that thought this week.

Summer Reading

This week’s post is going to be a little short and sweet — just like our summer has been! After many weeks off due to Covid-19, these last few weeks of “official” summer seem to be going quickly! As usual, we always have bigger plans that never get accomplished… but hey, that’s life, right?! One of the goals was to do more casual reading… which didn’t really happen to the extent that I hoped for, but I thought I would share an update this week anyway! Maybe it will wet my appetite to buckle down for the last few weeks and escape with a good book!

The eldest Mitton is a devote reader and has already devoured the new Hunger Games book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and has others on the go. I am currently finishing A Single Spark (look for my review coming soon!) But now, thanks to Graf-Martin, I have a whackload to explore! Here’s a sneak peak for you:

(Did I mention I have another goal to learn to make better videos? That will be a big process! I am certainly learning in that department! ) What about you, my friends? Have you been devouring literature and setting goals for renewing your minds? Books are a good way to supplement our Bible knowledge, and often seeing or reading about someone else’s perspective helps to enrich our own! In today’s world, I sometimes find it difficult to enrich my mind without contaminating it. There are so many less-than-holy media options these days, it’s hard for one to keep it both entertaining and enriching!

Philippians 4 reminds us to meditate on things that are pure, lovely and praiseworthy! It’s my thought for you this week! It’s a challenging task, for sure. Shall we help each other out? Share your favourite read or video in the comments below or on our socials — we’d love to hear from you!!