Don't Dread Ahead
Does anyone else have a problem with dread? I do. I dread a lot of things. Or at least I struggle with the dread of a lot of things. I’m trying not to let it occupy my mind. “Don’t dread ahead” is one of my mental mantras.
Dread is really about living in the future instead of the present. We may be doing fine now, but we are worried we won’t be in the future. If we can learn to focus on where we are right now, keeping our mind “present” and not wandering off into an unknown future, we will be able to handle what is in front of us. Jesus specifically addressed this in Matthew 6:34 when he gently encouraged us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Dread is also about fear of the unknown or fear of pain. It’s anxiety about not knowing what will happen, which is our desire to control and know. And it’s the natural human desire to avoid pain. Dread assumes the worst, especially for people who have a good imagination.
Besides living in the future and fearing the unknown, dread also lacks trust in God. Beth Moore explains, “Dread says God’s grace is not sufficient for what we will face.” In Corrie Ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place, one of the family members has a debilitating fear of death, spending much of her life in distress over not being able to handle her eventual death. But when she receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, she is full of peace and trust in God. Ten Boom points out that God gave her the grace to deal with death, but not until she was faced with it. He gives us what we need when we need it. Dread is wasted energy. The Message version of the Bible verse above sums it all up: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”