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What’s the basic plot line of a scary movie? I don’t know because I don’t watch scary movies, but maybe it goes something like this:

Young girl deprived of education and experiencing a lack of gender equality is forced to cook & deliver food to family members who live far away without assistance or transport costs.

Vulnerability opens her up to vigilantes, mostly in the form of one looming character who keeps enticing her to darker and scarier places for the greater good.

Through quick-whit & bravery, she escapes, makes it to the home of her relatives who show no appreciation for her poor status or hard work when all of the sudden she discovers that the meal intended for her grandmother will never met it’s destiny because the woman in bed is a wolf in grandma’s clothing!!!!

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Most of us have never wandered off into the woods alone, at least not without baked goods! Yet I wonder if we do so in our minds on a regular basis.

And so, when you think about the times you’ve felt alone in a metaphorical wood – whether emotional, relationally or spiritually – what have your encounters been like with the wolf? What kinds of things has he said to you? 

Because when you walk, as King David said so famously in Psalm 23, through “the valley of the shadow of death”, two different beings will fight for your mind and your safety. One wants to be your Good Shepherd. The one who restores you, guides you and chases after you with goodness and mercy. That being will walk with you through the woods – no matter what dark creatures you encounter. 

The other, the wolf, simply wants to keep you lost. And while his methods won’t always be tangible, like something you hold in your hand, turn over and ponder, instead – he’ll whisper consistently and boldly to try and strengthen the lies you’re already trying to press out of your mind.

The thoughts in your mind might begin with, “I think I’m failing at Yale” and suddenly are strengthened into, “You’re a failure”.

“I don’t feel connected towards others” paves the way for, “You are alone and unwanted”.

And if tempted enough to believe the wolf, we change our patterns and behaviors to try and deaden the lie. We go back to old success or current achievement to prove how worthwhile we are. Or we work on getting someone to turn his or her head and look at us to prove we are attractive, desirable, and lovable. 

Most of our battles are not fought on a tangible playing field; they begin in the secret and unchecked thoughts that sweep in and out of our minds. So it’s important to ask again, 

What have your encounters been like with the wolf in the woods?

Because there is a being who wants you lost. He will start with your mind until you are so distracted or discouraged that you find small ways to try and build personal fulfillment. 

The other will lead you, guide you and love you towards truth. Let truth overcome the dark valley. And remember, when you walk through the valley…

“…I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod & your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever”.

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