The “flight or fight response” is the biological response of animals to acute stress. It has also been used to describe human reactions to stress.
I fall in the flight category. Always have.
Sometimes fleeing a stressful situation is a good thing. For example: when I have an overwhelming desire to yell, scream and throw things at the people I share a home with I will retreat to the privacy of my bathroom and a tub filled with bubbles and warm water. Ahh! It’s a good thing. Or, when wrestling with a life altering decision and emotion is clouding judgment I go looking for trees and trails. I sit by quiet streams with the company of birds and my Father until His words fill my heart with peace.
But then there is the kind of flight that brings harm instead of healing. It’s the kind of fleeing that leads to dark places. Caves of doubt, rooms of loneliness. It’s the running that causes me to not answer phones or emails. That turns down dinner invitations. That makes eye contact with carpet and ceilings. It’s the flight response that leads me to show up late and leave early. Where the only trusted friends are my pillow and journal.
It’s lonely here. And quiet. And for a while… I welcome it. Life goes on without me, outside of this cave. And I don’t mind. Really I don’t…. for a while.
But after a while…
After a while I am reminded that quiet places are meant for moments, not months. And fleeing the stress of life should be immediately followed by running into the arms of someone who loves me. And caves are not meant to be dwelling places.