Sometimes I do something so unbelievable, I scratch my head and ask myself, “Did that really just happen?” Actually, those moments occur more than just sometimes. They seem to transpire more and more often, lately. Each time, I think I’ve accomplished the ultimate unbelievable event, and I’ll never top it. But then, a few days or weeks later, something even more preposterous will happen, and I’ll realize that I am indeed an incredible person.
Not the amazing-and-awesome kind of incredible. Nope. More the I-didn’t-believe-anyone-could-really-be-that-astonishingly-clueless kind of incredible.
A few days ago I was working hard, pecking away at this keyboard, when I decided it was time for a distraction. I set my phone timer for ten minutes, to take a little housecleaning break from writing. Don’t judge. It usually works for me. I can get a lot of housework done in ten minutes.
Anyway, my ten minutes were almost done, and I grabbed a jacket off a chair to hang in the closet when the doorbell rang and my dog, Moses, started barking. I went to the front door . . . no one. But the doorbell kept ringing. I went to the back door . . . no one. I checked the garage . . . no one. And all this time Moses barked and barked.
I was starting to get a little creeped out; I went around the house to look out all the windows . . . no one. But all this time, the doorbell kept ringing and ringing. I took a deep breath, told myself to calm down, and tried to figure out my best line of defense in case the boogey man really did break in and try to get me. Hairspray? A hammer? I’ve been practicing archery . . . maybe I could pull a Katniss Everdeen and shoot him with my bow.
That’s when I realized the doorbell seemed to be ringing from my bathroom, so I grabbed my last fistful of courage and went to investigate. There on the counter was my phone, and that’s when I realized . . . my phone timer was set to the doorbell sound. Talk about feeling like a ding dong.
Yeah. True story.
I didn’t know whether to collapse in relief or just pull a blanket over my head in humiliation. At least Moses was my only witness, and he’s not very judgmental.
That’s when I realized that my little doorbell incident was an accurate parallel of so many other things in my life. Most things I’m afraid of turn out to be nothing more than a fake doorbell. When I’m faced with something unexpected, my mind often goes to the worst possibility. I look around every corner, under every rock, waiting for the boogey man to get me. But so far, I’m safe. So far, nothing has happened in real life that comes close to the things that happen in my mind.
I hope one of these days I’ll learn to assume the best, rather than the worst. After all, why didn’t I look for a delivery of flowers at the door? Or maybe an old friend, or a belated Christmas gift? Why did I assume someone was out to get me?
I can’t really answer that question. But I do know that that God loves me, and He’s told me to hope in Him. Hope is the belief that good things will happen, and it’s the opposite of fear, which is the belief that bad things will happen.
Even if a strange doorbell rings, I want to reprogram my mind to respond in hope, not fear. But in the meantime, I’ve changed the setting on my phone timer. It now quacks like a duck . . .
“Those who hope in me will not be disappointed,” Isaiah 49:23.