Have you ever had a convergence of happenings that you KNOW couldn’t be coincidence? I had an extraordinary set of circumstances a couple of weeks ago, and the truths I learned were life-shifting.
The Serpents Head
We went to our cattle ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico with our daughter and son in law hoping to have a relaxing week together. The 2nd day after having a very fun evening in the family room, I got up to walk into the kitchen. As I entered the kitchen, I saw something move on the floor, and realized it was a VERY LARGE rattlesnake. I shrieked for help as it began to rattle, and ran to a nearby room as terror was coursing through my veins. (I’ve always had a fear of spiders and snakes) My husband quickly came and began throwing things at it, and eventually killed it. (Ironically, the nearest thing he found to throw were two hard-bound copies of the Book of Mormon. So it’s not a stretch to say that the scriptures saved my life.)
After a few minutes, when the coast was clear, I got off the bed, and decided to go in the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. As soon as I walked in the doorway, ANOTHER rattlesnake came towards me. I again screamed as my heart pounded and adrenaline spiked. My husband came to my rescue and made short work of killing the 2nd snake. He simply said, “They usually come in pairs.” I had so much fear after this that my spirit wanted to jump out of my body! My initial reaction was to leave and never come back, but since we were an hour from the nearest hotel, and it was late at night, they convinced me to stay and go to bed.
The following morning, things seemed a bit brighter, and I decided to go on a mind-clearing walk out on one of the dirt roads of the ranch. I’ve done this dozens of times because we spend much of our time there. After 40 minutes of peaceful walking, I suddenly saw movement, and heard the familiar rattle. There was a large coiled rattlesnake ready to strike just inches from my feet! I took off running, powered by adrenaline, fear and tears!
What else could happen?
When I got near to the ranch house, I decided to get inside our truck for a moment to feel safe. I was rattled (literally). After about 2 minutes of sitting there, a medium sized jumping spider jumped at me from the dashboard of the truck. I’ve NEVER seen a spider inside the truck. I yelped and quickly got out! WHAT WAS GOING ON?
I was determined to have the kids’ visit to the ranch a good one. I put on a good face, and went inside. That evening we began to watch a movie on my son-in-law’s charged computer (since we were off the grid). As if icing on my experiential cake, about half way through the film, my son-in-law suddenly became very alert – gazing at something on the floor. I glanced up and saw what he was looking at. It was a large TARANTULA! He immediately and easily killed it with his shoe, but my spirit felt broken. I was suddenly exhausted, and immediately went to bed.
Is there a Safe Place?
Early in the morning, as I lay in bed sobs began to rack my body. NONE of those events had ever happened at the ranch house before. Why now? Why did I feel like I was a creepy crawler magnet? My husband woke up to my traumatized tears, and I sobbed, “I don’t feel safe here!” He held me tight, and said, “Well you’re safe right now!” He was right. I basked in the safety of that moment.
The “safe moment” soon left after I got up. I kept “seeing” the disgusting creatures over and over in my mind each time renewing the terror. Every time I walked in the kitchen for the next 4 days, I imagined that one would jump out at me. The actual situation had only happened once, but the imagined one repeated hundreds of times. The paralysis of fear and panic in my myopic mind robbed me of my peace!
Days later, upon reflecting on my harrowing set of circumstances, it became clear to me that although we really DO experience unnerving or dangerous things from time to time, those moments are actually very rare. It’s our perpetual “re-living” of events that keep us feeling frightened or uncomfortable in some way. The fact that there were no more snakes in the ranch house, and likely never would be, hadn’t stop me from FEELING they were there. The illusion in my mind had been as real as the actual event.
It also became clear to me that my fear had not just been about dangerous or disgusting creatures, but about being in situations that were out of my control. We like a controllable universe, and when that doesn’t happen, we often become filled with trepidation or panic. Is it possible to overcome these fears? ABSOLUTELY!
The Lord has said, “He (the “Destroyer”) will have power to bruise thy head, but you will have power to crush his head.” (Gen 3:15) We literally have been given power over fear and circumstances if we use it.
We all have “serpents” in our lives. It’s interesting that what we fear almost always includes perceived future traumatic events. So we need to ask ourselves, WHAT AM I AFRAID OF? Bodily harm? Betrayal? Financial ruin? Failure? Health challenges? Each of these scenarios employs fear at its foundation. I felt I was spiritually taught truths that helped me overcome the tremendous fear that I experienced. This is what I learned –
How to Crush the Serpent’s head
- Focus on how safe you are right now!
Stop replaying past negative occurrences or imagining future scenarios over and over in your mind. Remember that very few moments in life are really unsafe or perilous! It’s your thoughts about them that feed the fear. There is NO safety in fear or negativity. YOU ARE A LIMITLESS, POWERFUL, ETERNAL BEING (albeit inside a limited, and very vulnerable body!) Is your SPIRIT afraid of “snakes?” Look inside and feel who you really are and the safety of THIS MOMENT! Take a deep breath. Everything is ok right now!
- Pray for Physical and Spiritual Protection.
There are many more spiritual “serpents” in our lives than physical ones. Pray for protection from both. Know that you are often bombarded with negative spiritual influences. There are entities around you that prey on your vulnerabilities. Ask yourself, “ Who wants me to feel fear and powerlessness?” Could it be that you are being attacked from dark beings that want you to be spiritually and emotionally crippled? Pray for strength and power over them!
- Dissolve fearful Thoughts- Remember Him
Mightily pray for the ability to have power over your fearful thoughts. The Lord has counseled us to “…Watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him. “ (3 Ne 18:15) When we can’t stop thinking about something negative, we are captives!
IMAGINE the Lord standing near you. FEEL His presence. When you focus on Him, you can’t focus on fear! This exercise is NOT wishful thinking! The scriptures admonish us to do this very thing. “And if ye do ALWAYS REMEMBER ME ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.” (3 Ne 18:7) This is a promise from God!
Train yourself to imagine the Lord near you whenever you notice a fearful or painful thought. You crush the “serpent” in your mind! Recognize that the safest place to be is in His presence. The closer you are to the Lord, the safer you will be! As you “remember Him,” and fill your mind with Him, darkness and fear dispels, and the Holy Spirit will lighten your soul. (D & C 88:67)
- Submit to His Will
Allow whatever is in your path to be, and put your fears and lack of understanding on the altar of God. If you are meant to go through a difficult or even dangerous situation, He can give you the tools or help you will need. You need to face whatever the problem is and be willing to do whatever is required. If it is not necessary for you to go through it, He has the power to release you from its clutches. He IS a God of miracles after all! Be WILLING to go through whatever He wills, and He will see you through.
- Thank God for the Experience
What does “Be thankful in ALL things” mean exactly? I believe it means ALL things – even the uncomfortable ones. Everything happens for a reason. Most likely, this “test” is something you want to see yourself rise above.
You came to this earth to experience life. You wanted to learn good from evil; light from dark; Could it be that your higher self is enjoying seeing you overcome these difficult experiences? What can you learn from them?
FACE IT, EMBRACE IT, TRANSCEND IT
What are you facing in your life? Is your fear of the past or future hindering your progress? Remember, you are a powerful being because you have access to an All-Powerful Savior! He can help you transcend anything! Fear leaves when light is present. Focus on the Lord, and crush your “serpents” head!
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