Guest Post by Janae Dueck
A Glimpse Into Why I Wrote Sitting with My Lions
Being only 24 years old, with two self-published children’s picture books, I still felt uneasy.
While these two books have served as a huge blessing in my life (expanding my skills in ways I cannot imagine and allowing me to humbly speak into so many lives), I felt like God had put another story on my heart that just needed to be shared. This story would be a more personal one, one that reflected my own life’s experience of what I’ve learned over the years. It would be on a topic that had a lot of scars to it, but needed to be talked about as I believe it can relate to so many of us.
The topic God put on my heart to write about was how to face fear and discomfort in our lives.
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den had taken on a whole new meaning in my life when dealing with fear and anxiety, and through the story of Daniel, God moves me forward into His continued peace. When faced with something that makes me feel uncomfortable, I look to God and I think of Daniel. Like sitting with lions, I can also sit with whatever is before me now.
I have always been an artistic person. I love to use metaphors in nature and through storytelling to help explain seemingly hard concepts in a way that makes sense to people. Being a follower of Christ, I often experience God’s presence through my creativity. Whenever I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I naturally try to become very self-observant of why it is I am feeling this way. I engage my creativity so that I can learn something new about myself and what God might be trying to tell me. More often than not, He speaks to me in these key moments. I write down whatever it is I am hearing from Him, and play those words over and over in my head until I can pull out a theme which I will then write a story about.
Since I was young, I’ve also had a heart for kids. I believe so much in helping them understand God’s word in a way that makes sense to them. The book I most recently published is titled Sitting with My Lions: Being Brave Like Daniel in the Lion’s Den and is an attempt at this. I want kids to understand how much God cares for them, especially in times when they feel afraid. When we’re faced with fear, we can either choose to run away or hide from it, or we can invite God into these places. Like being in a den, we can anticipate what God will do for us when we’re in front of the very thing that scares us.
In these places, God will do the unthinkable and will enable us to sit with lions, and be brave over our biggest fears.
I wholeheartedly believe that He wants us to live like this! As His children, all of us were created to live fearlessly. He doesn’t promise scary things won’t happen, but He does promise He will be with us no matter what. We can face whatever scary situation we’re up against, like facing Daniel’s lions, and know our security ultimately comes from Him. We’re not alone in the den. God is with us and He is the One who will give us our peace.
So what does the lion represent in my book?
Daniel 6:1-28 tells us of a Bible story in which God does a miraculous thing. A prophet named Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den by King Darius the Mede. God protects Daniel from the lions so that when he is let go the next morning by the king, not one scratch or mark is found on him. The king praises Daniel’s God because of this miracle and issues a new decree to his people saying that “… in all my royal dominion, people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den becomes one of the greatest displays of God’s sovereignty over us. The lions in the Bible story now represent present-day situations that may feel uncomfortable to us.
A “lion” signifies the fear we may feel from a situation, but like Daniel learned to trust God, we too learn to be brave and trust God with our biggest fears.
Key things to think about while reading Daniel’s story:
- An excellent spirit was in Daniel (v. Daniel 6:3). What does an excellent spirit look like in me?
- Daniel gave thanks to God just as he had done before (v. Daniel 6:10) How can I get into a habit of thanking God at all times?
- Daniel served God continually and “publicly” before the King (v. Daniel 6:20). – Who sees me, and do they also see my love for God?
- Daniel was found blameless in God’s sight (Daniel 6:22). – Am I right before God?
- Daniel trusted God in the den (Daniel 6:23). – Do I trust God in whatever place I’m in today?
- God did what was best for Daniel (Daniel 6:27). – Will I still believe in God’s goodness even if the worst does happen?
Fun and Engaging Sneak Peaks from Sitting with My Lions: Being Brave Like Daniel in the Lion’s Den picture book:
- There are “Pause!” boxes throughout the picture book. These are discussion questions that are meant to help you apply the story more as you read!
- When the shadow of the angel first appears in the book, try to locate the shadow of the angel on every page for the rest of the book. It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” and is very fun!
- Complete the “What Are Your Lions?” coloring page activity at the end of the book. The activity will help you identify your own fears that then you can give over to God in prayer.
- Make sure to read “Healthy Ways to Respond to Your Lion” providing you with 4 easy and effective counseling tips on how to respond to a fearful situation.
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