We had just finished our small group Sunday night at BNC, and I heard these words over my daughter’s call to my wife.

Now that would be normal had this been my wife’s phone and my daughter had called her. But no, this was my wife’s voice. And she’d called Ellynn, wanting us home sooner than later. I thought there might be some sort of emergency! I mean, she stayed home from group that night because of a migraine. But no. It wasn’t an emergency. It was, in her words…

“The biggest spider I’ve ever seen!”

<Insert man sigh here>

For the rest of this post, we’ll affectionally call the spider, Spidzilla.

Ellynn handed me her phone, and I heard Nicky’s voice, in a frantic, fear-filled tone, paralyzed by Spidzilla. She had just stepped out of a nice relaxing and soothing bath (it’s how she gets relief from a migraine) and into the nightmare of her evening. Spidzilla!

“What do I do?!?!” She shrieked!

“Step on it and squish it,” I said.

“I can’t do that!”, she replied, “No way I am squishing that thing. Do you realize how hairy it is? It’s huge! Its guts will go all over!”

Now, for the record, this isn’t the first time this has happened. We hadn’t been living more than a couple of months in the house we are in now. Nicky woke me up at 1 am to take care of what I’m guessing was Spidzilla’s great-grandfather in the hall closet. And just like this instance, the size of the spider was bigger than reality.

But she’ll argue with that for sure. It was just as huge in her eyes. Anyway… moving on with the story.

“How can you go through the pain of giving birth not once, but three times, and still be afraid of a little spider?”, I said, fighting back the chuckles. I could just imagine the scene in my head and I couldn’t help but find it amusing!

“It’s NOT little!”, was her reply. “It’s huge! It’s hairy! I can’t get out of the bathroom. What am I supposed to do? I feel like it’s staring right at me.”

I couldn’t resist. “Which eye?”, I asked through laughter, “They have eight you know!”

“That’s not funny!”, she replied. “Seriously, what do I do? I’m afraid if I move it’ll run and hide! I’m stuck! And just so you know, I am NOT sleeping in this house with that thing alive!”

I replied, “Well, you’re gonna have to do something. We’re leaving the church now, but we won’t be home for another 15 minutes. So, you can just sit there and have a staring contest or slay Spidzilla. Up to you!”

Her reply? Well…

<Insert woman sigh here>

Now — I don’t see the spider as the issue here. It wasn’t the spider, but how Nicky perceived the size of the spider. In her eyes it was Spidzilla. And I don’t doubt that one bit! For someone who’s terribly afraid of spiders (my wife would be one of those), any spider looks intimidating. And the bigger they are, the more intimidating they are! Even if they are still just an itsy bitsy spider.

The most important thing is what she thinks about the spider. All joking aside, perception can be skewed by what paralyzes us. You’ve seen this play out in your life. What shouldn’t be paralyzing leaves you feeling as though you can’t move. Truth is, the spider wasn’t moving because it was more afraid of Nicky.

Strangely enough, this reminds me of a line in one of A. W. Tozer’s books “The Knowledge of the Holy”. He wrote a sentence in his opening chapter that has forever changed my life. My hope is it changes yours. He writes,

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

I’m just going to encourage you to stop and sit on that quote for a moment. Really, stop and consider what comes into your mind when you think about God. What truths do you know? What lies have you come to believe? What is your mental picture of God?

Your picture of God largely determines how you respond to life around you. Think about this past year and the challenges you’ve faced. What if your view of God is that He’s aloof? Don’t you think that would change your response to life around you? Of course it would!

But flip that around — if your view of God is warm, close, full of mercy and grace — your response changes.

Let’s look at it differently — considering the spider story above, Nicky was far bigger than the spider, yet the spider left her paralyzed. Think how God sees you and me in what we face from day to day. He is far larger and infinitely more capable of helping you conquer any challenge you face. The giants you and I face are not more giant than God.

But when what comes to mind when you think about God is small, the giants feel overwhelming, huge, and scary! It’s why this question is so important for you and I to answer. What we think about God largely determines how we respond to life.

Let’s do this. Let’s walk through a few passages and discover some attributes of God. As we move through them, I want you to consider what comes to mind about God as you read them.

God as merciful, full of grace and love

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4–7 NASB

God as patient

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

God as faithful

No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB

God as defender, protector, and helper

God is our refuge and strength, A very ready help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NASB

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden. Psalm 68:19 NASB

God always has our best in mind

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

God is the giver of eternal life with Him

For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NASB

Nothing else is like God, forgiving us

Where is the god who can compare with you — wiping the slate clean of guilt, Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most. Micah 7:18 MSG

What’s my point in all the Scripture? It’s just this — that if you think God small, He will be small. If you think God unable to, He won’t. If you see the world bigger than God, the world will overwhelm you as the spider did to Nicky.

What Nicky thought about Spidzilla hindered her movement. She was frozen in fear. And what we think about God can have the same impact. What comes to mind when you and I think about God will hinder or help. It comes down to what enters your mind when you think about God.

After the sigh on the other end of the line and an unusual silence, I heard a loud thunk and her shout victoriously “I did it!” She had taken a stool, turned it upside down, and put to death the very thing that was keeping her paralyzed. Spidzilla was no more. Overkill? Maybe. But she conquered what was standing in her way.

What comes to mind when you think about God enables you to conquer what is standing in your way. For the next week, why not take an inventory of what comes to mind when you think about God? It is the most important thing about you, for it affects your response to life. What if your mind turned to those qualities of God listed in the verses above? Wouldn’t that change how you respond? And wouldn’t that impact your relationship with God and affect your relationship with your friends, family, and coworkers? The answer is yes! Yes, it would!

So, the next time you face the paralyzing in front of you recall to mind what you think about when you think about God. For there you will find victory!