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Fight or Flight? The Choice is Yours.

The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to the presence of something that is seen as stressful or frightening.

Whether it’s psychological or physical, the perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers a response that jolts the body to fight or flee.

Recently, Dennis and I have been catching up on the TV series, Heartland. If you know me, you know I LOVE animals, with elephants and horses on the top of my list. Knowing that, Greg and Ann Marie Eck (Fab Four/Five) suggested we watch this Canadian TV show which focuses on horses on a ranch called Heartland.

We finished the last episode of 15 seasons last night. During this episode, the Fleming family, during a cattle drive, came upon a bear. The horse sensed the bear’s presence while it was still covertly hiding in the brush and began to rear up and jerk to flee the area. The horse was in fear.

When two members of the family finally saw the bear, their reactions were very different. Amy, who is the youngest daughter and major player in the series and family, had a terrifying fear streak across her face. Jack, the patriarch of the family, and her grandfather, reacted differently. Through his experience and wisdom, he knew exactly what to do. He picked up his rifle and shot at the bear, sending him running away in fear himself.

This “fight or flight” syndrome is highly important for us to identify and understand why God included it in our physiological system. It aids us in staying safe and protecting ourselves and our families.

Although this system responds automatically…it doesn’t mean it’s always accurate. And sadly, there are many reasons why we could be in error.

The day we live in, is a tough one. That said, our history in this country and around the world is riddled with famine, destruction, and chaos. We are not unusual by any means. Yes, it’s a way we have not gone before because there is an actual toppling of a corrupt, demonic society in progress. But the manifestations of going through this “war” mimics others from our history. Whether this is better or worse, is not an argument I’m going to take part in. But fear was part of them all.

There are two types of fears.

In Exodus 19-20, God, through Moses, let His people out of slavery in Egypt and had a gathering at Mount Sinai. God then gave the Law to His people. He told Moses to make sure that before they gather, they must wash and consecrate themselves for three days. He then gives Moses received a grave warning: Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. (Exodus 19:12)

God was not playing. That was a serious command.

After the three days of cleansing, Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. (Exodus 19:18)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of a trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of Him may be before you that you many not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew to the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:18-21)

Within that passage there are two types of fear. There’s fear that drives us “from” God and fear that drives us “toward” God. Navigating both of these fears has been a great challenge for many during this present time in our history.

Can you imagine standing at the bottom of Mount Sinai during that time? One minute the sun is shining, you’re so happy that you and your family escaped the slavery of Egypt, to only find yourself, the very next day, dodging fire, brimstone, and earthquakes!

Sound familiar?

Think back just a few years ago. There we all were; our new President, Donald J. Trump, was the promise for a better nation; under God with liberty and justice prevailing once again. We were metaphorically standing at the bottom of Mount Sinai, rejoicing for our victory out of slavery.