"Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it."
- Isaiah 8:12 NIV
I recently had a dental appointment that I was dreading going to. Even though I was praying about it regularly, and committing it to the Lord, I was fretting and worrying about it constantly. By the time I arrived at my dentist's office, I had spent so much energy dreading the visit, that I was too exhausted to use my faith and believe God for a positive outcome. That evening, I heard a godly woman talking about the draining effects that dread can have on us, and I knew firsthand just how right she was. I decided to get serious about resisting all feelings of dread from then on, and to call upon God for the wisdom and grace to stand against it.
If you look up the definition of "dread" in the dictionary, you'll find words like, "fear," "anxiety," and "uneasiness." Since we know that the source of fear is Satan, the enemy of our souls, we can be certain that resisting dread is God's will. We can also be confident that the Lord has equipped us with Holy Spirit power to overcome it. As we go about our daily lives, we are all going to have to regularly face unpleasant situations that threaten to rob us of our peace and joy. But as believers, we have the ability to maintain a good attitude right in the midst of adverse circumstances. In fact, when we rely on God's grace, we can actually enjoy situations and tasks that others never could.
For instance, I don't care much for grocery shopping, but it's something that I need to do regularly as a wife and mother. For years, I dreaded going to the supermarket, and I just accepted the fact that I was going to hate it every time. But once I got the revelation that God wanted me to enjoy every aspect of my life, I began praying and using my faith to adopt a right attitude about it. I still don't like it very much, but I've learned to take some practical steps that help me not to yield to those old, familiar feelings of dread that steal my joy and energy. First, I pray and ask the Lord to help me with my shopping. I even ask Him to help me prepare for it. Then I take a few steps toward carrying out the task. I sit down and write out my grocery list, and I start going through the motions of getting ready to leave the house. Instead of thinking about the actual activity or my feelings about it, I focus on how good I'm going to feel when it's over and done. I've found that timing certain tasks helps me to keep a proper perspective. When we're facing an unpleasant activity, we have a tendency to blow it out of proportion. We say to ourselves things like, "It will take too long." But if we actually timed many of these tasks, we'd find that they didn't take as long as we thought. I also use timing myself to challenge myself to get things done more quickly. When I'm doing something that I dread, I often feel like I'm dragging through it. But if I look at the clock and say to myself, "Okay, let's try to get in and out of this store in under an hour," I can feel a sense of urgency and expectation energizing my steps.
If we're not careful, we'll allow dread to steal our confidence and faith. That's why it's essential for us to continually meditate on God's Word. When we're faced with an unpleasant appointment or undertaking, we may be tempted to succumb to doubt and fear. But if we'll continually say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13), our spirits will be strengthened, and our faith will soar. God gave us our emotions, and they can be a blessing to us in many ways. But He never intended for us to let our emotions rule us. If we allow negative feelings like dread and fear to lead us around by the nose, the Lord will never be able to entrust us with all of the privileges and blessings He wants to give us, and we will never fulfill the call of God on our lives. Do you really want to touch and change lives for the glory of God? Then let everyone around you see you doing everything with a good attitude, without complaining or arguing. God has promised that when you do, He will honor you, and use you to impact the lives of others. (Phil 2:14-16) Remember, you are anointed by the living God to do difficult and unpleasant things with a holy ease and joy. But don't just take my word for it. Begin today to resist those feelings of dread in the power of God's Spirit, and take hold of the divine enablement that's available to you in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I've allowed feelings of dread to steal my peace and joy, and to drain my energy. Teach me how to resist these destructive feelings by relying on Your power and wisdom. Help me to do everything with a good attitude, so I can be a witness to others and glorify You. Thank You that because of Your grace, dread shall no longer rule over me!
- J. M. Farro