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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tell Fear to Take a Flying Leap

I'm thinking that there are plenty of us that deal with fear on some level. For instance, I sincerely hate driving or walking over those big drain grates in the road. There is an irrational fear that they'll open right up and I'll fall deep into the waters under the city where rats will be my only company.

A friend of mine doesn't like swimming. She thinks an indoor pool might open up and throw into hell. We all know these things won't happen, but sometimes the fear of what could happen outweighs the truth.

That's the joke with fear. Usually our fear of something is never as bad as what actually could or will happen.

The fear is very real, even if it never comes to a reality.

For me, it's flying.

Now, I have a pretty good reason to be afraid of flying. In 1986 my grandparents were flying to Dallas in their small, six-seater Bonanza plane when disaster hit. They got caught in a storm, the autopilot wouldn't disengage, and my grandparents went down somewhere in north Texas.

It was one of the most horrible days of my life. I remember it clearly. Young, scared, and helpless. So, because of that, I tend to not like flying.

Who really likes to get into a metal cylinder that flies above the ground at 30,000 feet? I'm just not comfortable being in a tube that is only inches thick. You know that step from the jetway to the plane? That moment between on the ground and in the tube? Well, I always look at how thin the plane is and whisper a prayer. I might also throw in a little pat on the plane, kiss the doorway, do the sign of the cross, and anoint the pilots with oil.

Not only that, when I fly Jesus has to talk me through the entire flight. I'm not kidding. Every minute is a prayer. Mind you, I'm not freaking out in those minutes, but I am keenly aware of how much time we have left in any flight. I love those planes with the little T.V. that will show you have far your plane has left to fly, however, I'm sure if you looked at my face you'd want to slap that look of concern and worry right off.

To make matters worse, anytime there is turbulence I get a little white knuckled and it's all I can do not to stand up and yell to those unphased by the terror, "What's wrong with you people?! Didn't you feel that! Did you know we're going to die!"

In contrast, when I hear the captain say we are beginning our descent, I want to jump and shout, "Thank you Jesus!" Then I imagine making my way around the plane to hug complete strangers because we just escaped death together.

One time, when the pilot put the landing gear down, I had a little bit of a moment of "Oh no! What was that!" So much so, that I grabbed the arm of the man next to me and said, "Is that normal?!" He answered, looking at me with a bit of alarm then glancing at his arm, "I think it was the landing gear."

"Oh," I replied, slipping my hand off of the man's arm.

Now, could I die in a plane crash? Maybe, that fear cannot be allowed to paralyze me and steal life and joy from me.

One way to beat the fear came from a dear friend of mine. This wisdom touched my heart and helped me be set free from so much fear. Now when I fly I remember these tender, tender, touching words from the heart of someone who really wanted to ease my fear.

"Natalie, look, if the plane goes down, you die."

Point taken.

Why freak out about what I can't control.

I am now free to move about the country.

What fear rules your life? What is something you let control you even when you cannot control it? How can Christ deliver you from fear?

Join me at my homes!

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Blogger Joanne Sher said...

Natalie is a wise woman - and so are you. :) This was a wonderful reminder for me. Thank you.

November 30, 2008 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Oh yeah, I have this uncontrolable thing that if the closet doors in the bedroom are not closed at night something will get out of there and get me. Now, I realize that this is a stupid fear but it grips me every night. I'm a grown woman, actually a senior citizen with no bad child hood experience to explain this weird fear. I'm all good as long as the closet doors are closed, oh and sometimes the fear is what is under the bed too... Strange how we have these fears.

November 30, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Have you ever seen a 40-something woman take a flying leap for the bed? You would at my house. It comes from a ghost story told to me as a child. If my husband is home I'm better about approaching the bed in a more calm manner, but if not look out. I also have the fear of flying thing so I just avoid it. Great post and great words of wisdom. Thanks!

November 30, 2008 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I flew on my first airplane ride when I was 47 years old. I remember when the landing gear came down I thought that part of the plane had fallen off.. No one warned me.....

Then when I flew home right before boarding the plane the announcer said we would be leaving a little late as a TORNADO had just touched down in Atlanta, the city I was flying into.... That was my 2nd flight....

I was SO GLAD to touch down and get off that airplane!

One of my fears.... driving on bridges over BODIES OF WATER!!!

November 30, 2008 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

December 1, 2008 at 12:47 AM  
Anonymous The Real Gal said...

Good post. Too many things to list I fear. Working on becoming less fearful though.

March 16, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

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