On my morning walk the other day, I passed by this one house with a dog in the yard. I’m not good with dog breeds so let’s just say he was one of the little guys. Attached to the dog’s collar was a long leash that was fastened to a post on the porch of the house. While the dog could walk around freely in the front yard, it could only reach as far as the edge of the lawn.
As I approached the house, the dog began barking profusely and ran towards me. It startled me at first and I paused, but after assessing the situation, I quickly realized that the dog’s leash was preventing it from reaching the sidewalk I was walking on. The dog’s owner, knowing his/her dog’s propensity to bark at and run up to pedestrians, had planned accordingly. Just because the dog couldn’t reach me didn’t stop it from barking at me wildly, but those were empty threats.
I proceed confidently. The dog’s attempt to intimidate me had failed because all it could do was make noise, which wasn’t going to harm me. I paid the dog no mind; I didn’t adjust my pace or make eye contact with it, I just continued walking like it didn’t exist. Even after I had walked past it and the distance widened between us, the dog continued to bark loudly.
I remember thinking, ‘Now you’re just being obnoxious. I’m walking away from you, I have long passed you, why are you still barking at me?’
And then it hit me.
How many times have I continued to fuss about something that has passed me? Something in my rear-view mirror, something that is no longer relevant, something that poses no threat to my life today, something in the past…
A false threat?
Now, under different circumstances I would have taken off like the wind. Side note: do you remember races in school where that one person looked like they were running with great intensity – neck veins popping, strained face and all – but they were actually running really slow? That would have been me with that dog. I mean, I was a fast runner in school but boy have times changed.
Anyways, let me get back on track…
We have a tendency to get worked up over things that shouldn’t be a threat because they cannot get to us.
Your past may seem obnoxiously loud and disruptive but when you take the time to assess the situation, you’ll see that your past poses no real threat. The relationship you have with it does.
The Devil loves to remind you of your mistakes, but don’t let him get to you. You have evolved as a person since then, so why do you insist on holding yourself hostage to choices the younger, less-informed you made? Yes, there may be some choices you made yesterday that affect your life today but stop giving so much power to things that cannot harm you.
One thing I have noticed about fear is that the feeling itself is often more paralyzing than the actual thing you fear. The fear of rejection is more debilitating than actual rejection.
Now let’s go back to me on the sidewalk…
Your position matters
My protection from the dog’s bite was only sure if I stayed on the sidewalk. If I chose to veer off the designated path and trespass on private property, I may be telling you a very different story today.
Where we are positioned can make all the difference. When we are on the path God has created for us, some things won’t be able to touch us. They may come close, but only so far.
That little barking dog also reminded me of the fact that the devil is restricted in how close he can get to me. He can bark all he wants and threatening me all day long, but God has defined the parameters in which he can operate. And while he can make a whole lotta noise and use scare tactics, he’s on a leash.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.