Retracting the Claws
Feeling insecure and fearful I am like a cat backed into a corner. With a hunched back, I hiss, growl and prepare to strike. In a defensive mode, my only thought is escape and I will do whatever it takes to get back to feeling safe. As the fear builds and I try to hold onto any shred of dignity, I tend to snarl louder. My usually sheathed claws are ready for a fight.
If you happen to be in close proximity you may get hurt in the crossfire. But if you are the aggressor causing my fear, the battle is fierce and one of us will leave bloody. I will do whatever it takes to ensure it won’t be me.
When threatened I feel that I have to defend myself. Whether that is my family, my character, or my honor; there is something I need to preserve. Unfortunately in that process, I have scratched a few people. Why is that?
Why do I feel that I need to defend myself? Never once did Jesus defend himself because he had nothing to protect, guard or preserve. He walked in truth and let God deal with any accusers. My problem is that I do not always walk in truth because I have a free will. It is my choice.
Therefore when I get all up in someone’s face to defend myself……it’s all about me. Fat ugly ME.

Galatians 5:16 & 17 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
My sinful nature gets my focus off of the Lord and puts it entirely on me and my rights.  My sinful nature is obnoxious, dreadful and foul and my Christian witness is severely compromised.  When the altercation is over I am left feeling ashamed and embarrassed.
How do I thwart this from happening?
First: Don’t let myself get backed into a corner.
Truly I am allowing someone else to intimidate me with their presence, anger or accusations. As I cower in fear and begin backing up, I ultimately give them the advantage to pounce.  
Secondly: Do not engage in the battle of defending myself.
If my back is hunched somewhere a weak spot has been hit. And I truly don’t want that weakness to be exposed. So I hiss and growl in an attempt to keep it covered. Yet again, it all comes back to ME.
Thirdly: Acknowledge the fat ugly “ME” is pride. 
Proverbs 8:13 says that God hates pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Pride is that smugness, superiority, arrogance, and self-importance that I display to show that I am better than you. As well as I am right and you are wrong. It becomes more apparent the higher the back and the louder the snarl.
Micah 6:8, (Dana inserted) says, “No, Dana, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
  • to do what is right,
  • to love mercy,
  • and to walk humbly with your God.”
Lord, I have failed. Forgive me for taking things into my own hands and not doing what was right or merciful. I want to walk humbly with you, not run ahead full of unpleasant pride and arrogance. 
Oh, Lord, help me retract the claws…..