Back Off!

by | Jun 2, 1999 | Bondage, Deliverance, Fear, Trust

I love to walk! It is truly one of my very favorite things to do. So I usually make it a point to get out of the house daily and have a trek through my neighborhood. And the other morning as I was walking down the street, minding my own business, a large German Shepard mix bolted out of nowhere snarling, snapping and growling. This dog meant business!

So, there I was, standing stock-still, as that menacing dog approached me steadily – teeth showing with a low mean growl – and it appeared he had every intention of biting me. I looked around for his owner, but the street was completely deserted. And before I had time to really even think about it, something akin to indignation rose up in me. I thought “This is my neighborhood! Who do you think you are?” I just couldn’t believe the audacity of that stupid, ugly dog, to think he was going to bite me on my street, in my neighborhood!

So, I charged toward him a step or two and yelled “BACK OFF!” And I can tell you I meant it. And he knew I meant it. He sullenly took a few steps back, letting me pass without incident.

This was a real victory for me, because as a child I was bitten several times by neighborhood dogs and I had developed a real fear of dogs. And it’s only been in the last few years that I had felt some relief of these fears. But this was the pinnacle of my success. The interesting part being, that my fears only seemed to diminish when I allowed myself to become outraged and angry at that stupid, ugly dog (and in reality at my stupid, ugly fears).

Fear is a bully that preys on the wounded. Fear will take a past event from your life – something that caused trauma, hurt, injury, or wounded-ness – and capitalize on it, until the fear is so blown out of proportion that it doesn’t even resemble the initial event. For many years my fear of dogs dominated my walks. Even if I came upon a friendly tail-wagging dog, my heart would start to pound and I would literally have to stop myself from running home at full speed (now how would that look – a grown women running in frenzied terror from a friendly, galloping Golden Retriever?)

I had a victory the other day on my walk and it’s gotten me thinking about the other fears I want to conquer in my life. I believe God has put courage in each one of us – but it’s up to each individual to “unearth” it and put it into action. And just like that stupid, ugly dog thought he would take some of my territory for his own, I wonder what other fears in my life have taken over territory that belongs to me?

Maybe it’s time to start putting our foot down when our fears begin to loom, threatening to cast dark shadows of doom over our days and nights. Yes, it’s true that we do live in a fearful time, but the fears DO NOT have the power to dominate our hearts and minds. And because we do live in a tumultuous time, let that be the catalyst that drives us deeper into our relationship with God. He is the source of all courage and bravery, so we would do well by spending time with him each day. When we determine to put God first, filling up with his word, we will find ourselves fortified and able to say with confidence to those lying, looming fears; BACK OFF!

Paula Friedrichsen

Paula Friedrichsen is a Christian speaker and newspaper columnist from Mammoth Lakes, California. Her seminar, “The Abundant Life” is a three-fold teaching designed to lead people into greater fulfillment – spiritually, physically, and relationally. To find out more about this seminar or other topics that Paula presents, visit her website at or call her at 760-935-4295


Back Off!