Sunday, September 15, 2013

Afraid of Fear?

 Does this get your attention?

How about this one?

They certainly get my attention. In fact, right now, as I type, I can hear and feel my (rapid) pulse in my right ear, my palms are sweating, I'm somewhat lightheaded, and I feel like there is something crawling on my foot, even though I have checked several times and I know there isn't.

FEAR. It's a nasty little thing. In my case, with spiders, it's a phobia. And Indonesia has plenty of opportunities in store for me to exercise faith over fear. I didn't grow up with this phobia, which is what makes it interesting and also, why I feel like something is crawling on my foot.

About 7 1/2 years ago, we lived in the desert of southern California - in Joshua Tree. Don't get me wrong, all my life I've never been a fan of spiders, but if I saw one I either asked someone else to kill it or took a big deep breath and went after it with hairspray, then moved on. However one time while living in the desert, while Michael and I were organizing the garage, a huge, black, hairy tarantula, snuck out from under a low shelf and got friendly with my flip-flop clad toes. It shocked me to the point of ending up doubled over, blacked out, hyperventilating in the driveway. Since then, I have been phobic. By "phobic", rather than "afraid", I mean an exaggerated, illogical fear of something that I know is harmless that I cannot physically control, even if I try to. If I see a spider now, larger than the size of dime (other than a daddy long legs), I immediately cry, sweat, hyperventilate, and run. My chest tightens, my pulse quickens, and actually, I feel very angry.

Well, as you can see above, this could be a problem in Papua, where spiders have been seen as large as dinner plates (this is not that stuff you see on Snopes two weeks later - this is from a book written by a person raised as a missionary kid from age 3-18 in Papua). I'm sorry, did you read that right? DINNER PLATES. That's all I can type now, because I will soon be passed out on my keyboard if I don't stop.

I am not afraid of going to Indonesia for the reasons most might be. The tribes and their ways don't concern me, the thought of malaria and dengue fever only slightly bother me, and the idea of not having WalMart actually thrills me to pieces. It's the spiders. That freaks me out. That is what I keep deep-breathing out to the Lord. I'm afraid of my fear.

But that's okay, because even though I tend to disagree with God on the necessity of creating these spiders, I know that He is in control of them and of my life. I know that He will give me grace in the moment, not necessarily grace for the worry about the potential moment. I know that He wants me to talk to Him about this, that He takes it seriously and that He wants me to ask for grace and strength and hairspray, I mean, peace. I think this could be applied in my life to more areas than just that of arachnids...

How about my kids? Or my family members not yet saved? Do I spend time worrying or praying about these things? God wants to hear from me, this God who made the stars that we can't ever reach. The God who grows little babies inside their mothers somehow. The God who created the very idea of love, the most powerful, yet un-seeable force that exists. He wants to talk with me.

Talk to Him! He's always waiting.

And He'll always carry you through. Like this missionary woman whom I hope to emulate:

 My brother said to me the other day, "Courage is not being fear-less, it is doing the feared."