Dread: To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance.
Dreading chores, dreading deadlines, dreading holidays, dreading meetings, dreading work, dreading appointments, dreading phone calls, dreading sleep, dreading waking up, dreading assignments… dread, dread, dread. Everybody dreads something… trips to the dentist, dieting, exercise, visits with the in-laws, confrontations at work. But for most, it’s a fleeting thing, not a way of life.
Dread is one step above simple worry. I’ve wasted a significant portion of life on this planet dreading things. I don’t like to make reservations for trips because I spend the whole time between reserving tickets and actually leaving the house in a state of perpetual dread. I dread driving on snowy roads in July and dread the energy-sapping heat of summer in January. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve spent multiple hours consumed with dread over an assignment. A simple assignment, one that only took me a few hours of actual work to complete.
So what’s the source of all this dread? I think it’s a combination of fear and, to my dismay, selfishness. I dread things I don’t want to do for a variety of reasons (I’m lazy, I’m indifferent, I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I’m an introvert, I’m shy). I dread things I do want to do because I dread feeling uncomfortable, awkward, out of control. I dread rejection (and assume it’s headed my way). I dread failure (and assume, again, that it’s headed my way.) Even when I succeed, the nasty flavor of dread dilutes the taste of victory.
The real problem here? (Besides the fact that I am a textbook candidate for meds… been there, done that.) Dread is dumb. I hate dumb. Dreading things doesn’t change them. I mean, eventually you have to sleep, and wake up, and do your chores, and… So it’s time to chuck dread in the waste bin. Easier said than done, I know, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to stop dreading everything and just start living. It’s just one more example of the subtle and sneaky ways the enemy of our souls sneaks in to rob us of the abundant, overflowing, full life that Jesus has prepared, arranged, and paid for us to have.
Dread, you gotta go. I’ve lived with you long enough and I’m done!
How about you? Where has dread snuck in and stolen your joy? Or your energy? Or your ability to function? Ready to kick dread to the curb, complete with bags and baggage?