What are you so afraid of?
I asked myself this question as I waited to board a plane heading back to Northern California one weekend. The morning was peaceful, aside from the shuffling of people throughout the airport hallways and the overhead speakers, blaring security updates and the names of passengers on the verge of missing their flights. The weather was warming up quickly for just barely being 10am.
SoCal, for you.
If you didn’t know, I’m not a fan of flying. Actually, flying is mostly terrifying to me. I dread the thought of it. So much so, that when I travel, I have to consciously push back the reminder in my head that in order to get back home safe and sound, I’ll need to fly back. Heights and I don’t really get along well. More specifically, turbulence and I are mortal enemies. It’s just not something I find relaxing or enjoyable. It’s funny though, because I often find myself in the skies on multiple occasions throughout the year. I’m a regular traveler and could probably get through the Oakland Airport with a blindfold at this point. Okay, maybe not blindfolded. But give me a few more trips and I could probably do it!
As I sat waiting for my row to be called for queueing, the normal flood of pre-boarding anxiety swept through me. Now, when I worry about flying, I think of all the possible things that could go wrong before I fly. Preparedness is a virtue though, so…
And to top it off, I think of ways that I could combat those things that could go wrong. As if I have any control in the situation whatsoever. And that perhaps, is the biggest piece of it all: control. Having control over what happens to me. Knowing what will happen and when. Being in control brings me peace. It’s no fun, and doesn’t feel good not knowing what’s going to happen and not being able to have a say in the matter. After all, I’ve never met these pilots before. Who’s to say they have my best interest at heart? Okay, so pilots are mostly awesome. Especially ones who high five you on the way out of the plane.
I’m not in control. And there’s nothing I can do about it for the next 50 minutes of my life. All I can do is say a prayer of courage and ask God for travel mercies as I head back home.
Back to the question, what are you so afraid of?
I’ve found myself asking this question continuously for the past few months actually. It’s a question that I truly needed an answer to, because it seemed like my life was at a stand still. I felt like I was on the edge of this platform, looking down and frozen in place.
Afraid to move. You know, like when you wake up, but you’re not fully awake, but you’re conscious enough to be aware of your surroundings – and you can’t move a muscle?
It’s a real thing, look it up. That’s how it felt. Frozen in place, unable to move out of sheer terror and overwhelming anxiety. What if I fail?
While seemingly unhelpful, these are actually good questions to ask. What if these things happen or are true? Does that mean that it wasn’t worth trying or going out on a limb for? Being afraid is okay. Natural, even (see acrophobia). But I can’t stay there. It is not a place to call home. Sure, I can fear flying (or heights) and that’s perfectly normal. But am I going to sit at home and never travel anywhere because I’m afraid of the what-if‘s that might come up?
Not a chance. I will not let fear win.
I’ve found that the same thing goes for vulnerability.
If I’m honest, being open and real with others is something that causes me a great deal of fear. What if people don’t like the real me? What if they don’t think I’m good enough or worth their time? Or, what if I’m too much? What if I’m rejected because of who I am – or even, Whose I am?
Like I said, I will not let fear win. It’s run its course and had its fun in my life plenty of times, and I’m tired of being afraid. I desire community, real, heart-to-heart, raw and intentional community. In order to receive that, God is teaching me that I need to have courage. Have the courage to live truthfully and honestly. Have faith that He will provide and has provided exactly the community that I need and will need in His timing. Look right in the mirror and honestly ask myself, “what are you so afraid of?”.
Because God is bigger than my fears and any doubts I have.
“…consider the birds that eat from my hands and do not fall from the sky without My consent. So how much more will I love the ones that I died for? Before you doubt Me, doubt your doubts.”
– Joseph Solomon, A Shadow of a Doubt
“When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.”
– Psalm 94:19
Until we let go of fear, I’m afraid, we will be stuck in the same place for quite a while. So, take courage. Have faith. And go boldly into the journey ahead of you.
I’ll be right there alongside you!