Coping Series: The Flight Response

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:9-10, KJV)

The flight response has many facets and is possibly the most convoluted of the three coping responses that we’ve been exploring. The question here is: how do you run away from pain? Are you doing it God’s way?

Acknowledging an issue can be difficult, and that goes for anyone. Taking the first step towards introspection is usually the hardest. When it comes to being an addict towards anything, this self-acknowledgment step can be the most trying and revealing, but we have to remember that Jesus says the truth will set us free. So as I have learned about coping with the flight response, I’ve learned that I have to take into account three things. What am I running from, where am I running to, and why am I running?

While this is connected to the concept of being self-aware; it is more polarizing to being spiritually-aware. When this takes place, we are forced into a position where God's word has to take over, and without this transfer of our control into God’s, we will surely live in peril:

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8, NKJV)

Coping by running is something we all do the most: It started with Adam because of fear and has continued through every generation since. We run away from boredom and loneliness on social media, anger and frustration through alcohol, drinking, and gossip. At times, we run from difficult things by pretending they aren’t even there.

But why are we not using our flight responses to ground ourselves and reflect what Christ wants for us in these moments? Instead of allowing the enemy to shout you into a retreat, using that natural flight response within you to distract you from the path God has for you; allow Jesus the time to let your situation settle. This settling is needed so that when we do engage, the words we speak can be spoken like those of Christ: in grace, peace, and truth.

When Adam ran from The Father, he ran because he became a part of the knowledge of good and evil. This goes against what the Lord wanted from the start, not because he wanted to exclude us from anything, but because he didn’t want us to bear the weight of it all. Therefore, when we want to run from the feeling of an outside attack, God doesn’t want us to focus on how good, bad, or ugly the situation is. Instead, He asks for all of your focus and attention to be on Him. God, being a jealous God, wants us to run to Him in everything. In our moments of doubt– run to Him. When we are afraid of what the future holds– run to Him. As we worry about our family and finances- run to Him. And in every matter of darkness that wants to roll in and claim you- run to Him with all that you are. Expressing your life to Him with passion will save you from being like Adam and running the wrong way.

And don’t forget: even Christ used the flight response. Let’s quickly look at the story of the woman accused of adultery in John 8. Instead of acknowledging the accusations of the Pharisees, Jesus writes on the ground. Twice. We don’t know what was written, but would you believe that this action was a facet of the flight response? In doing this, he didn’t have to acknowledge the evil being spewed at him, demanding he condemn a woman; which counters his nature and identity. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18, KJV)

Therefore, as The Lord has been speaking to me about how to properly cope with the flight response, He gave me this question. Will I run away in fear like the first Adam, or will I run to an internal place of grounding like Jesus, the second Adam? Take this with you through the week, and remember who the Father is; your strong tower and your hiding place.

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