How To Prevent Being Startled

Yesterday at 5AM, I left my house and headed to the Perkiomen Trail for a 6 mile run.  It was a little dark (as it typically is at this time of the morning) as I headed down my street to get to the trail which is exactly a half mile from my garage door.  I was listening to the Daily Audio Bible podcast while I was getting into the rhythm of my run.  Halfway down my street I was in the zone when I suddenly heard a rustling in the brush just 6 feet from the road.  The sudden sound startled me.

Looking to my left, I quickly saw the source of the sound – a deer.  The deer quickly turned to run into the brush as I continued down the street toward the trail.  I think the deer was just as startled as I.

Spending many early, dark mornings on the trail, I’ve become accustomed to creatures crossing my path.  So I’m typically prepared for such a startle as I experienced yesterday.  My eyes adjust to the breaking dawn, my ears listen to the sounds around me, and my steps shorten just a bit to make sure I land safely.  I run prepared even in the dark.

The Bible talks about the importance of being prepared.  In Matthew 24:36-44, Jesus tells us to keep watch because no one knows the hour when Christ will return.  In I Peter 3:15, Peter reminds us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope we profess.  And in 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul reminds us to be prepared to rebuke, correct, and encourage with patience and careful instruction.

So how can we prevent being startled?  How can we prepare ourselves?

Here are 5 Things You Can Do To Prevent Being Startled:

  1. Read God’s Word.  When we read and know God’s Word, we will be better prepared to understand and share God’s Word.
  2. Share God’s Word.  In words and in actions, we prepare ourselves by practicing the teaching found in God’s Word.
  3. Pray for wisdom and confidence.  Let’s face it.  We won’t have all the answers on our own.  We need to look to God for wisdom.  And we need to remember to have confidence in God and His protective hand.
  4. Be alert.  We must be looking for opportunities to share and to practice.  We must also be aware of distractions that pull us away from God and His plan for our lives.
  5. Trust God.  We cannot predict the future.  There will be hard things and scary things that come across our paths.  We must remember that God will keep us safe, and He will work through the challenges of life.  We’re not guaranteed an easy life, but we can trust that God will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

And so this morning, I hit the trails again.  I don’t know what will come my way, but I’m ready!

When was the last time you were startled?  What could you add to the list above?