Are you struggling with hardship and tribulation? Depression and anxiety? If so, take a moment to read the message contained in this article. It will surely help you slay your dragons. I know it helped me.
My father and I went to the mountains of east Tennessee to hike and camp when I was a young boy. We were about half way into our hike when we took notice of the sound of wild dogs in the distance. AS time progressed the sounds of their barking and yipping got closer and closer. Rightly or wrongly we surmised that we were being tracked by this pack. We picked up our pace and began the steep ascent hoping to lose them. My father suggested that we climb a steep ledge and camp on the top so that we would be in a more defensible position should they actually overtake us in the night with ill intentions.
There were short coniferous shrubs growing above the tree-line where we set out our sleeping bags on the ledge. Before too long we realized that swarms of flies had taken up residence in them and the surrounding tree-tops. Their incessant buzzing wore on our nerves in no time. But the sounds of our pursuers continued to increase in volume and we decided it would be far better to endure the noise of these flies, than to climb back down and subject ourselves to the teeth of wild dogs. As night set in the barking subsided. But the buzzing didn’t. The following day we packed our meager camp and wearily moved on to another spot in our hike.
When I read Psalm 91, I am reminded of that hiking trip, for this psalm gives the promise to God’s children that he will deliver them from the things that creep and crawl and go bump in the night.
There are a various terrors mentioned in the chapter but the ones I want to focus on are these three; the noisome pestilence (flies), the lions, and the dragons.
Shakespear wrote that when sorrows come they come not single spies, but in battalions. And how true it is. The first step to de-stressing our lives is to first categorize our anxieties into one of these thee categories. What is a fly? What is a lion? What is a dragon?
Many of the stresses that plague our daily lives are like flies in the treetops, they harass and annoy and rob us of the joy of the beauty around us. Bills in the mail, speeding tickets, traffic jams, car trouble, even the loss of a job! These things are not life threatening and are little more than a nuisance on their own, but when they stack up, one on top of the other, they wear us down and rob us of our joy.
The second category is much more serious. The Lions! These are issues that are capable of truly devastating your life. Chronic illnesses, the loss of a loved one and divorce are just a few examples of things that can truly rock you at your foundation. Like the wild dogs in my story, these are the true potential threats to the essence of who you are as a person.
Finally there is the dragon! Those scaled monsters that live in hollowed mountains. They have long leathery wings and belch a sulfurous fire from their mouths. There truly is nothing more dangerous to you than the dragons! I can tell you from experience this is true.
But wait a minute? I am a biologist by education. I can say with some degree of certainty that there is not, nor has there ever been such a beast! But dragons have always existed- in the minds of mankind. And this is why they are the most dangerous of all; because they are figments of our imaginations!
Nothing can destroy a relationship like jealousy. Nothing can derail you success like paranoia. Nothing can keep you from greatness like insecurities. And the sad thing about these destructive beasts is that they only exist in your mind. How many people have ended their own lives because they allowed such dragons to overtake them?
So take a moment to evaluate your troubles. Determine what are flies, what are lions, and what are dragons.
With the flies, determine not to sweat the petty things. Flies cannot hurt you! Swat them one by one and have fun doing it! Don’t ignore them because they can turn into lions. But acknowledge them for the flies they are and lay out the proverbial flypaper!
Concerning the lions I would say, focus on your healing. If it is the loss of a loved one to death or a separation, if you are battling chronic illness, come to your Creator for shelter. He has promised in this psalm that He will be your refuge, fortress, savior, that He will shield you under His wing, and He will assign angels to protect you. I think it is important to notice that He doesn’t offer to slay these beasts for you. Rather He promises to give you the strength to tread upon the lions and the serpents. So, again, action is required of you to vanquish these truly lethal issues in your life before they turn into dragons.
Dragons! Please realize that the dragons are the most dangerous of them all because they exist in your mind. Don’t be destroyed by the things you imagine. Don’t let fear, insecurity, paranoia or jealousy destroy you.
With the dragons, the hardest part will be determining what of your lions are actually dragons. For most people live their lives in fear of their illnesses or let their failures define them. Your illnesses, your failures are not what define you. When you let them, then they change from lions into dragons and have even more power to destroy.
After my divorce I allowed the fear of a failed relationship to quench my prospects of future happiness. The fear of failure meant I would either not commit to a relationship for fear of losing it or, once I did, to hold on too tightly and be too needy. This is an example of how a real lion (divorce) turned into a real dragon in my life.
The good news is that, as real as dragons are, they exist only in our minds. Because they are only real to you, you have the power to vanquish them.
So let’s go slay some dragons!