Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Instinct


(This piece was inspired by two spiders and a Yorkshire Terrier named Rosebud.)


A few weeks ago a large brown spider

stood militantly still on my dinning room floor. While I’ve been known to capture arachnids and re

lease them outdoors to hunt what I consider the greater evil…mosquitoes…I felt threatened by this formidable

looking bug and took action.


Certain that she was a Brown Recluse; I shakily summoned the professor to squash the Charlotte-Wanna-Be and take her to the university’s etymology lab to confirm my suspicion.


Turns out that I am well-versed in paranoia, but my skills in the arena of insect identification are lacking. The spider found in my home was a non-poisonous common house spider. After being assured that I’d probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than I would being attacked by a Brown Recluse in my own home, I let down my guard.


A few days later, I found a smaller spider crawling into my purse. I took pity on the little fellow and used a business card to redirect him outdoors. Mistaking my generosity for malice, the spider prepared for attack. He raised four of his legs upward and bared his fangs. It made no matter that he had little chance of defeating his perceived nemesis, his instinct told him to fight. Fortunately, for both of us, he didn’t get the chance and quickly adapted to life on my rosebush.


There are times when I am like that spider. If I feel threatened, I react. Sometimes, this is a good thing. I’ve learned to trust my gut instinct where matters of life or limb are concerned. I truly believe that these instincts are a gift given by our creator. If I’m walking to my car alone during the night, my pace is brisk, my keys are in position to stab, and I mentally review tactics of self-defense. I’m not a big gal, but I assure you, there’s fight in me.


However, there are also unwarranted times when my defensive instincts kick in. Instincts that have been collected by life experiences. Typically, I have two defense mechanisms that thrust into action when I feel like I have been or will be attacked. Ironically, the two are at opposite ends of the verbal combat zones. I either launch into a sarcastic tirade or cower.


It’s almost comical that the very same emotions that can trigger me to remark snidely to someone who has made an honest mistake, can also lead me to apologize for simply being.


As I strive to become more like Christ, I realize that neither of those reactions are a part of his character. Yes, I do think Christ had a bit of a sarcastic streak he used for rebuke, but it was different than what comes from my lips. And, my savior was certainly not a wimp when he walked the ancient dusty roads of the Middle East. He knew his rightful place in his Father’s kingdom.


In a gray shaded world, there exist many choices of response. I’m learning that remembering my place in my father’s kingdom, which was a gift of grace, enables me to release my grip on defensive strategies. Instead, I want to react as how God desires for me to react…that regardless the situation I will conduct myself as the daughter of a magnificent King and not as a frightened house spider.


Turn your ear and hear the words of the wise, and open your mind to what they teach. For it will be pleasing if you keep them in your heart, so they may be ready on your lips. I have taught you today, even you, so that your trust may be in the Lord. (Proverbs 22:17-19 NLV)






24 comments:

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Angela, this post makes total sense to me :)

And interestingly, I realized I do much the similar thing when I feel threatened, sarcasm or cowering...certainly not what Christ has equipped me to do.

Thank you for making me think tonight :)

Blessings my friend!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I'm with Sarah...I tend to do the same. Either get really quiet or far too loud. It's a shame I can't find the middle ground, for it's there I'm sure Christ wants me.

Glad to see you back...I've missed you!

Gretchen said...

Your last paragraph simply wraps it all up so beautifully, and blows me away, Angela.

I've lost (thankfully) most of my sarcasm over the years, but there are times I still act like the bunny in Monty Python's Holy Grail: I've "got big teef"! I can be more biting than God would like.

Discernment, discernment, discernment. If I ever had a tattoo to go on my forehead, I do believe that one would be it. Sadly.

Amy said...

I love visuals, and this is a great one....I know I have bared my fangs for all of the wrong reasons more times than I can count.

Like Melissa pointed out, it is very hard to find that middle ground, and stay there.

We are all works in progress....just like a spider's web.:)

God Bless,
Amy:)

Misty said...

i still remember the evening when in college that my college pastor broke down the latin for the word sarcasm, which essentially means the cutting of flesh. and i was a sarcastic gal. still am, but a lot more aware of how what i say literally can cut the spiritual flesh of the person i'm attacking. this post is so good, b/cs i, too, go to the extremes, but both are rooted in all my own insecurites.

Amy said...

Angela, great post. I agree it is hard to find middle ground sometimes. I find the more I am committed and filled with His Spirit the more I am able to act rather than react. It is all about God and what He can do through me. Without Him I am nothing. Blessings.

Wendi said...

Yes, the 'fight or flight' instincts can be so overwhelming! Thanks for this Angela. As I seek God's best in my responses this piece of writing has ben helpful!

Mrs. Sidney said...

Angela,

I am still trying to find the middle ground myself.

Thanks for sharing.

manda2177 said...

Well. I had to read on because you are talking about spiders and I am terrified of spiders adn was trembling just reading this.

But I got over it and jsut enjoyed the good words and Truth.

Great insight Angela.

Great perspective.

You are gifted in hindsight perspective preception. Does that make sense? If not, sorry! lol

God bless-
Amanda
http://iammommy.typepad.com

graceunbound said...

Excellent post, but I wish it would have come with a 'warning, icky spider picture about to load' warning. Yeeech. I think I got past that to get what you're saying though!

I am a cowerer, hovering in the dark corners hoping no one will notice me. It is risky stepping out into the big open bare floor, hoping to encounter people who will scoop me up instead of squash me.

White Hot Magik said...

Excellent post. I love arachnids. So true about how we react to certain situations, one extreme or the other. Lately I have really been struggling with being fearful, to the point of wanting to quit anything that means someone would be looking at me.

Julie said...

This was a beautiful post, dear friend.

Thank you for allowing your heart to pour out here.

Love to you,
Julie

Damselfly said...

I am so glad it wasn't the guy in the photo you found in your purse! Whew!

What a nice perspective.

angie said...

This post is brilliant, Angela. I love how you related your story to Christ and how normal reactions are not always Christ like. Your prose really sucked me in with the spider business! :)

Kimberly said...

Oh, that His Word would be what would flow out of my mouth instead of the sarcasm and venom I can so easily spew!

I am SOOOO glad that He knows our hearts' desires to be more Christ-like. He who began a good work in us WILL bring us to completion!

Blessings, sweet friend!
K :)

stefanie said...

Found your blog thru your comment at Angie's 7 Clown Circus. I had a great time exploring, and I'll be back!

Thanks for that word picture of 'the spider prepared for attack'. I too need to turn off my instincts when I'm feeling defensive, and act and speak in accordance with Truth.

runningtherace said...

I love the verse you attached to this post. I'm totally grossed out by the picture at the top, though!

Irritable Mother said...

Very well written, Angela.
I read a phrase in another post today that struck me - as you talk here about becoming more like Christ. It was that the "sweetness of Jesus" would show forth in our lives.
The sweetness of Jesus.
I really like that. And I want to show it!

Earthmommy said...

I can completely identify with your defenses as I do the same exact things. I eithe rlash out angrily or totally retreat and shut down. I am a master at both, but I can't seem to find a middle ground.

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

Grace can be so hard to grasp and see in our lives - but is so freeing. Great post!

Miranda said...

I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing, and allowing your experiences and struggles to be a convicting challenge in my life.

Tales From the Eurovan said...

Loved the post! Glad Rosebud gave you some food for thought!

BTW..we are safely back home. Everything is calm on the homefront. Thanks for the prayers.

Take care,
Julie

Susan said...

I just love the lessons and life applications that are often found in the nature around us!

Shonda said...

So well written and alert to life lessons. Thanks for sharing!
Engrafted by His Grace-

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