What Do You Fear?

How many fears should you have? I believe the number should be zero.

According to WebMD, 19 million people in America experience phobias. A phobia is an intense, prevailing, irrational fear that leaves you powerless over your reactions. These extreme, life-altering feelings of anxiety aren’t diminished by telling yourself your fears simply don’t make sense.  If all 19 million have two fears, the total number of fears is close to 40 million. That’s a long way from zero.

“I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.”—Psalm 3:6, NIV

One fear many experience is aerophobia, fear of flying. It can be triggered by real experiences, like severe turbulence, or imagined ones. Earlier this summer I needed to travel from Nashville to Memphis for a conference and hated the thought of a 3-hour drive. Then, I discovered SeaPort Airlines.

I’ve been on jumbo jets but never anything as small as their fleet. Yet, it was a wonderful hassle-free experience that made my journey fantastic. Small plane, yes. Could I have reached out and tapped the pilot on the shoulder, sure. Boarding at the private airport in Memphis, a German traveler got on with a 2-liter Dr. Pepper. That’s how different it was. If there was ever a smidgeon of fear of flying small aircraft, it’s gone now.

There is a natural purpose for fear when it protects us from danger. The problem today is that people exist in perpetual fear; that’s not how God intended us to live.

When we are fearful, where is our confidence in God? Trusting Him involves refusing to let fear impact how we respond to people or situations. God demands complete trust and dependence.

There are 336 references to the word “fear” in the New International Version of the Bible, including stories of Biblical heroes melting in fear in the face of their enemies. Not so with David as he fled from his son, Absalom.  David commences Psalm 3 counting his enemies, but he concludes, in verse 8, by affirming, “Real help comes from God.” (Message Bible)

Tell Them Your Story

Then Joshua told the people…your children will ask you why these rocks are here. Tell them “The Lord our God dried up the Jordan River so we could walk across….”  He wants everyone on earth to know how powerful he is. And he wants us to worship only him.

—Joshua 4:21-24, CEV

I knew a woman once who was not exceptionally talented; however, she was undoubtedly the best liar I have ever met. She could tell you something without flinching and absolutely none of it would be true. Consequently, I learned to discount anything I heard her say. And, I want you to know that I consider lying to be deceitful, dangerous and an unacceptable habit to develop. In fact, bogus stories can lead to great risk for everyone whose lives are touched by these fabrications. In the end, I came to realize that, if everything I discerned about this person was a hoax, I never really knew her at all.

Real stories, on the other hand, can be uplifting, healing and extremely helpful. Think of the best real stories that have been published in modern literature, like “The Perfect Storm.” Real stories can be a powerful form of communication that connects us to one another.

One of the reasons I am committed to writing a book about my healing from stage four cancer is that I want to document my journey for others. I am convinced that people don’t actually believe that God does the hard stuff anymore; I want them to know that He does. In fact I read an article recently that declared: stage four cancer cannot be cured, only treated. “Wait just a minute,” I said out loud (to no one). “Medical science has just declared me an impossibility.”

The power of sharing your true story is that it helps people understand that they are not alone. It becomes much easier for others to know for certain that, if the Lord provided an inexplicable miracle for me, He will do the same for you.

Scholar and author, Dr. Brené Brown teaches that the path to understanding involves being vulnerable about our imperfections.  As you tell your story, don’t be reluctant to show your warts. Don’t erase your experience “wrinkles” with emotional Botox; our faults and failures are what make us real.

Why not practice telling your personal story? Starting today, share the good news about how you are living out God’s purpose in the world. Someone needs to hear from you.