If Monday morning's not the problem, I guarantee that there's some other upcoming event you're approaching with dread. A dentist appointment. Visiting a sick family member. A long trip that will probably involve lots of sitting around in traffic or crowds. We all have life events and small everyday moments that we don't look forward to, little black clouds of dread that hang over us in the beauty of the present moment.
Joyce Meyer recently commented that dread is a close cousin to fear. That stopped me in my tracks, because I know where fear comes from. Most of us don't think about dread being a sin, but when you consider it, dread can't possibly be a Godly attitude. There's really no question about who would want to influence us with feelings of apprehension and make us feel reluctant to do the things we're called to do. That's right, dread is one of the enemy's weapons in spiritual warfare.
We tend to think that dreading something is okay because it's such a common response to tasks we believe will be unpleasant: we dread writing lesson plans, meeting with difficult parents, reprimanding children for unruly behavior, sitting through lengthy meetings...the list is endless! (Is it any wonder some of us are so miserable in our daily lives when all we do is think about the next unpleasant event?) But just because a human emotion comes naturally doesn't mean that it edifies us, or that it should be excused. The Bible tells us to cast down EVERY wrong thought and take EVERY thought captive.
God's been showing me that an attitude of dread will only prevent me from experiencing joy and getting satisfaction out of my daily life. It's a self-defeating thought pattern that destroys people from the inside and tears down everyone we come in contact with, especially the ones closest to us and the little ones of whom we're in charge.
Thinking about something that you dread taints the present; it keeps you in a negative state of mind in which you're actually anticipating something unpleasant instead of enjoying the moment. And when the dreaded event finally arrives, your pervasive thought pattern has set you up to have a disagreeable and complaining spirit throughout the experience and even afterward as you grumble and whine to everyone who will listen. Gee, God's REALLY getting the glory in your life now!
You've probably heard it said that 90% of what we spend time worrying about never comes to pass. I also believe that 90% of what we dread turns out not to be as bad as we'd anticipated. And in the other ten percent of cases, the experience is so horrible because the feelings of dread have actually intensified and escalated the problem.
The most powerful way to stop those feelings of dread is to recognize them as the sins they are: attitudes of worry, fear, ingratitude, and resistance towards Godly responsibilities and commandments. From there, we can recondition our minds to live fully in the present moment, content that the future is in God's hands.
Sure, I need to set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. on Monday. I need to deal with that disruptive child. And when 3:00 comes, I need to go home and clean my house. I'm not particularly looking forward to any of those events. But I'm not dreading them. I'm focused on this moment here, curled up in bed beside my cat and my laptop, with God speaking to my heart as I share these words with you. When Monday comes, God will give me the grace to experience each of these 'dreaded' events with a cheerful and joyful heart, secure in the knowledge that I'm exactly where He wants me to be.