When your life depends on it, trust what you know, not what you feel
Less than a second passed between rippings – claws through canvas; teeth through flesh. The powerful jaws of a momma grizzly snapped the ulna and radius in two. A visceral scream preceded consciousness and awakened the entire campground of sleepers tucked in bags. While vacationing in the West, I read this horrific account of a bear attack where a young man in the adjacent tent died of mauling, but a woman with a maimed arm lived. When your life depends on it, trust what you know, not what you feel.
“I knew if I didn’t do something different, it would kill me.”
Somehow she had the wherewithal to play dead and the bear left her alone. I’m not sure I have that much sense. When panic sets in I don’t usually run, but I need to do something besides play dead, and truthfully it’s about to kill me.
Hiking through the Tetons I laughed when I read the warning,
“Don’t run from the bears.”
Yeah right, I think I’ll just stand here and reason with the slobbering beast. Or maybe yell and run, or remodel my house, or take another trip or plan another project. Maybe peeking at your wonderful life on Facebook will make me feel better, of course. No I’m just going to work instead.
I consider myself to have healthy coping techniques and my closest friends agree, well most of the time anyway. It’s not like I sneak in the pantry and come out hiding Oreo breath. Getting drunk doesn’t appeal to me because I know I’d wake up with lava in my gut, an ice pick pounding in my temples and the same problems I had when sober. TV doesn’t suck my mind and time. I mean, I’m too busy for that, right?
So you see, my coping techniques are, ahem, healthy. Yet there’s always a price tag.
Don’t trust your feelings
In her half-awake brain, a middle-aged woman in a Montana campground remembered to “Be still,” though incisors tore her tendons, muscles and bone. While warm, sticky blood dripped on the ground, she made a life-saving choice, “Don’t fight.”Trust what you know, not what you feel Click To Tweet
Her life depended on truth overriding instinct.
So does mine. Maybe yours does too.
Flight or fight is hardwired into our endocrine systems with every surge of adrenaline into our veins. For truth to override instinct, I have to know it, believe it, practice it, live it deep down where it matters. Otherwise, I’m going to be shredded to pieces.
So the next time a grizzly invades your tent, remember these survival tactics.
When you want to run or at least do something, trust what you know, not what you feel:
Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it end is the way to death.” HCSB
When you want to defend yourself and your opponent is baring teeth remember:
Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” NIV
When you think you’ve got to fix this, listen to Jesus:
Luke 10:41, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.’” NLT
When I hear God say, “My dear Vickie, so are you.” What am I to do?
Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” ESV
I know if I don’t do something different, the slobbering beast will rip me apart, but it goes against my instinct. That’s why I’m going to know truth, believe it, practice it and live it. Deep down where it matters.
What truth do you need to live when your instinct says fight?