Fight, Flight, or…Freeze? When the Future is uncertain

Have you ever heard of the Fight or Flight instinct? I’m sure you have. It’s a theory we’ve heard about for decades. I always wondered which instinct I had, but then one night my freshman year of college, I found out. Two exchange students, both with an obviously foreign sense of humor, were causing a bit of a disturbance in the hall of my dorm. I lived alone and my suite-mates were asleep while I sat in my dark room that was illuminated only by my laptop screen working on a paper (I’m sure was due in a matter of hours.) After a series of happenings, I was thoroughly freaked out and completely unsure of what was going on. Finally, after more than half an hour, a knock came at my door. And I, being an idiot, opened it.

What greeted me were two faces. Two horrible, awful, terrifying masks. In that moment, I realized that I have neither a fight nor flight. I have FREEZE. Seriously, if those faces had belonged to kidnappers, they could have picked me up like a statue and simply carried me away.

They honestly got bored with my reaction and took their masks off just to make me move again thinking I wasn’t at all frightened while I internally, I was a puddle on the floor. Then, they went through our bathroom to gently wake one of my suite-mates with their masks on. She roused from her sleep, her eyes got huge, and she seriously jumped out of bed and chased them down half asleep. One was able to slip out the door and apparently ran across the quad to hide in another dorm, while the other was caught in our room. He was lying on my bed trying desperately to rip his mask off while she stood over him fists clenched and ready. It was amazing. Definitely fight instinct. We decided after we all laughed about it that from then on, I should keep my door locked and just allow all intruders to go through her room first.

Well, fast forward to now. I still have that instinct in the face of fear. I’m not sure if it would change if my children were involved or not, but if it’s just me, then see ya. I’m just standing here in the face of fear doing nothing but staring. But it wasn’t until this week that I realized that that same instinct carries over to other areas of fear or dread.

When the future is daunting

I have a lot going on. No surprise. We all do. It’s just life. Ours is just a current weird season that I hope isn’t going to be repeated. May was full of my husband’s graduation and party, a shower I hosted, a week long deliberation on a job decision, an acceptance of a job…hours away, looking for houses and going through all the contact with realtors and lenders and so on, and a beach trip. GOODBYE May! June will be a lot of waiting. July will be go-time. There is A LOT to do in July and August, and only two of the many are moving our family hours away and figuring out our homeschool routine for the year and starting that, which are HUGE.

But there’s almost nothing I can do right now to actually help the work later that I haven’t already done. I’m just….waiting. So for weeks, I have wanted to blog. Wanted to write. Wanted to catch up on my house. Wanted to PACK. wanted to pull out allll the homeschool things and make progress there. Wanted Lance to start his job already so we can figure out our routine. Wanted to be in contract for a house so I could plan how many windows I’m supposed to have curtains for and so on.

But I can’t.

And faced with all the upcoming things and my fear and dread, guess what I did? Yep. Froze. I just froze. I was so overwhelmed (still am!) with all the things that I needed to do, that I only saw the huge big boulder of issues. But if I had zoomed in a bit, I could see that that boulder is made up of a lot of things, and each thing is made up of smaller things. Baby steps. All I needed to do is take a step in doing one thing from one piece right now. Then wait. Then repeat. Sometimes, God works in giving us all those details. When He wanted His tabernacle built, He gave specific instructions and details even all the way down to exactly who He wanted to make parts. I’m sure Moses was grateful to have instructions because when God told him to take those people out of Egypt into the dessert, he was not given a map. He had no idea the path they’d take, only the end result. The reason was because so much of their path depended on their faith and bravery. AND they didn’t get to go the shorter route because God knew they’d see the obstacles and freeze in fear, running back to Egypt and slavery. So, they didn’t get details and they didn’t get the shorter path.

And I really don’t want that for myself. I don’t want this summer to be a long, drawn out, hot exodus. I want a shorter path, even if it’s a harder one. But that will require faith and bravery, and it’ll require moving my feet in action even when there seems to be too much to even begin to work on.

What about you? Are you a fight or flight? Maybe a freeze? Is there something looming in your future that you’re waiting on an answer for? Baby steps. He only asks for baby steps. 

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