Here’s how to calm down when you get spun up. I’m talking about those times when your old issues are really beating the drums. Things that you thought were over are suddenly back on your brain and hounding your heart with fresh angst and urgency. You’re trapped in a maze of past issues—just as thoroughly as you once were. Will there ever be an end to it? It’s driving you crazy!
Relax. This is a typical ploy of your enemy when he’s got nothing better to bother you with. There’s an easy answer to this kind of attack on your mind and emotions. I call it, “Catch that pesky fox, not the barking dogs.” I’m taking this image from the Song of Solomon:
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15 ESV
A Living Image of Our Thought Life
In the Song of Solomon, the Lover tells his beloved to catch the little foxes because they spoil the vine. Little foxes nibble away on all the tender young fruit. It never has a chance to mature! Years ago, I saw this as a spiritual picture of our interior thought-life and it led me to a recognition of one of the enemy’s sneakiest strategies. He gets us all worked up trying to silence the barking dogs instead of catching the little foxes. What a waste of time!
OK, so what does that mean? In any neighborhood most dogs sleep at night unless something wakes them up. Then they start barking with a vengeance. A fox running through the neighborhood would have that effect. In this analogy, the fox is the specific thing the enemy (aka. the “trickster”, the foxy one) has done which provoked the alarm. All he has to do is “run” a pesky thought through us that steals our peace.
The sleeping dogs are our many issues that we previously succeeded in giving to God (one more time) and have been trusting Him with how they are going to work out. Now we, too, are resting in the Lord. Or at least we were, until that thing that happened (the fox) ran through our little world and woke up all the dogs! Now our past issues are really barking! And we’re barking with them.
Awakened to Chaos and Confusion
Instead of being peaceful and quiet, your inner thoughts are bitterly complaining, “Why do I ALWAYS have to deal with stuff like this? Am I NEVER going to get over these feelings? Couldn’t people treat me better, JUST ONCE? I’m such a goof up—I NEVER get anything right!” Do those sound like issues to you? Sure, but here’s the key thing to remember: They had all been laid to rest by trusting the Lord with them, until something went wrong like a fox running through a pack of sleeping dogs. (For releasing old issues and other burdens to the Lord, see “Praying through to Peace” at our website for healing, healingstreamsusa.org.)
The enemy’s strategy at such times is always to try to trigger those past issues. To really wake them up and get us to focus on them all over again. To re-feel the pain and frustration and either get us hopping mad or deeply depressed once more. Meanwhile the little fox goes to ground (hides in his hole) after having nibbled away all the sweet fruit of the Spirit that we had only lately been enjoying. Things like peace, love, joy, patience, etc. got stripped off our spiritual vine and we hardly noticed in all the chaos and confusion that ensued.
Calm Down and Catch that Fox!
The trick is to out fox the trickster fox himself. We do this by ignoring the old issues. They will go back to sleep once you catch the fox. This is not always easy because foxes are good at burrowing down into the forgotten memories. So ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it was that really set you off. What event or what specific negative thought got you so stirred up in the first place? When He shows you that, just deal with it.
Then pat the old issues on the head and say “Go back to sleep, darlings. Jesus will take care of you.” As you calm down, go back to enjoying the Lord’s rest.