You cannot have bravery without
Throughout my life, I’ve been afraid of many things. I thought my fear was something to hide from. An actual threat. Everyone taught me, hide under the covers. Do what you need to do to not feel anxious.
But that doesn’t solve anything, does it?
Tonight I am inspired by the Biblical passage of 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. When David was sent to bring food to his brothers fighting the Philistine army, he was thrust into a situation that had caused every Israelite soldier to cower in fear, literally run away from the battle.
The nearly 10 foot tall Philistine Goliath was once again threatening the Israelites. He proposed that their armies do not fight, but if any Israelite was able to beat him alone, the Philistines would become Israel’s servants. However, if they lost, the Israelites would become the Philistine’s servants.
David, visiting his brothers in the battle line, asked what was going on. The soldiers told him the story and the great prize from King Saul; Saul’s daughter and exemption from taxes and service in Israel (That’s like no jury duty, woohoo! They should implement this in America, just saying).
David starts out bravely insulting the Philistine. Instead of rallying with him, David’s brother gets angry. He calls David conceited, his heart wicked. If that is true, David’s conceit was was obviously an advantage on that day.
When Saul heard of David’s remarks, Saul summoned David. David, the young boy, the shepherd from Bethlehem, boldly offered himself up fight Goliath.
Without armor, without experience, David approached Goliath. Goliath mocked him, “Am I a dog? Is that why you’re coming at me with sticks?” But David’s stick was not a stick. It was actually (drumroll please) a shepard’s slingshot. While the slingshot didn’t even compare to Goliath’s spear, sword and javelin, David had another weapon. David announced:
I’m coming to you in the name of ADONAI-Tzva’ot, the God I the armies of Israel, whom you have challenged. Today Adonai will hand you over to me. I will attack you, lop your head off, and give the carcasses of the army of the P’lishtim (Philistines) to the birds in the air and the animals in the land. Then all the land will know that there is a God in Israel.
Do you think David was fearful when he approached Goliath? The Bible does not say, but David’s bravery was greater than what fear he might have had.
This story teaches us to do what we desire, even when we’re fearful. In life, we will have amazing opportunities that will intimidate us. How we make that decision should never be based on the fear we feel, but our desire to take that opportunity. This is bravery! By pushing past fear, you’re already braver than those hundreds of Israelite soldiers.
If you want to do something, feel the fear, but do it anyway! Feel the fear, but do it anyway. If we ever want to get where we want to be in life, we need to push past fear.
In Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, we gain the tools to fight the giant that is OCD. Our slingshot, if you will.
Sometimes OCD feels like a giant Goliath. Sometimes we want to run and hide (or compulse and avoid). However, that will never solve the problem. That will never win the war. No obsession you face can ever be solved by a compulsion. On the contrary, every obsession you face can be solved by acceptance. To fight OCD is to surrender to it.
Sometimes this seems impossible. However, if you believe in such things, Matthew 19:26 in the Bible says that with God, all things are possible. A phrase I brought up a lot in the OCD clinic.
So with your slingshot and possibly with Adonai-Tzva’ot (Lord of Hosts), you can fight any Goliath in your life.