I happen to own a mind that is filled with fears and doubts and a frenzy of thoughts that need to be reigned in and quenched like an uncontained mental wildfire.
I’ve heard Glennon Doyle say that she has a routine of waking up at 5am when her house is quiet and her thoughts haven’t yet been clouded with the events of the day to come, and she writes. She says this is when she writes her “truthiest truths”. Whatever is on her mind. Whatever the Holy Spirit brings up. It has to come out.
I’ve begun that same practice. I wake up early and grab my coffee, pen and notepad and being to write it out. Whatever comes to mind. Because…
Fears are tamed when they’re caged between the lines.
Did you know that there is probably a name for every fear (phobia) you could imagine? This Phobia List is insane! There’s even a fear of insanity – Agateophobia. It seems to me, though, that giving something a name makes it valid, makes it real. When something is validated and is a real thing, when it has a name, it grows a handle that we can grab on to. It’s easier to manage. Easier to process. When our thoughts and feelings are left vague they run rampant and 99.9% of the time they become bigger than they should. We can’t grab a hold of them. They’re unmanageable. Unable to process. So, let’s grow some handles, shall we? Let’s play, Name That Fear!
Algophobia- Fear of pain. My description: Fear of a broken heart.
Our daughter has had an infected finger from a hangnail or something. I’ve been working on it for a few days to get the puss out (sorry I know that’s gross) and it’s working but it’s definitely not painless. Yesterday she told me:
Anna: Mom, my finger is better!
Me: YAY! You’re welcome! 🙂
Anna: (jokingly) Thank you for making me cry!
My heart has been broken countless times throughout my life. Some that I’m sure I don’t even remember. Partially because I’m so sensitive. I’m a people please and I’m a deep feeler. I feel everything. Even my skin is sensitive to the touch. Things that break my heart are sometimes things that other people wouldn’t even give a second thought. I’m a bit jealous about that too. I’m also a deep processor – which is basically a fancy way of saying I think too much.
I know that because of sin we will experience pain. That relationships are messy. That people do things that hurt us, both intentionally and unintentionally. I’m not a wimp but I’m also not a fan of pain. I’m not one of those adventure seekers who wants to defy death and stare pain in the face. I’d much rather not hurt. I face this fear by holding on to the hope that God never wastes a hurt. That I can hopefully help someone else in their journey. That I will see my Father and say, “Father, my heart is better! Thank you for making me cry.” And he will say, “You’re welcome. I love you so much! Even the pain was meant to help you. I knew it would turn out alright.”
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Isolophobia – Fear of solitude, being alone. My description: Fear of Depression
That depression will rear its ugly head in my body and mind again scares me. I know the struggle. I fear that immobilizing, paralyzing, glossed over, sinking feeling. I fear that I won’t see it coming and will find myself sitting in that tan recliner again watching my life go by me in slow motion again. I face this fear by keeping trusted people close. People who are close enough to know the real me so they see the red flags of when I might be losing myself. I may not like it when they confront me but I’m grateful. They show up at my front door with luggage in tow and stay for a few days to make sure I’m okay. They call. They aren’t scared to tell me the hard truth. And I’m not scared to let them.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Soteriophobia – Fear of dependence on others. My description: Fear of Being a Burden to My Kids
I’ve often told my kids that if I die a seemingly premature death that I don’t want them to be to sad. I’ve prayed and asked God to take me home before I would be a burden to my them. Not that I think my parents would be a burden to me but as a mom, I don’t want my kids to be burdened by me or have to struggle or change their lives or not enjoy their lives to care for me. I know they would and they would do it well. I just don’t want them to have to. I’ve seen how alzheimers affects the family, marriages, life for the caregivers. It’s hard. I just don’t want my kids or anyone to have to go through that with me. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, though. I face this fear by trusting God with His plan. Even though I don’t know what it is.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Ophidiophobia- Fear of snakes. My description: Fear of being struck by a snake while walking through grass in the dark.
I have a snake bite story. It’s long and I won’t go into all the details but it was awful. In a nutshell, I was struck by two baby snakes while walking through the grass in the dark with open shoes on. This was about 15 years ago and I still remember every detail. i didn’t see the snakes but we could tell they were babies because of the size of the fang marks and there were two sets of them. I was told that baby snakes don’t have venom control so I got all they had. My leg was marked with black sharpie marks from my foot all the way up to almost my hip before the swelling finally stopped. I scooted around on my bum for a good month because of the pain. It was worse than childbirth. Granted my childbirth experiences were pretty easy, as childbirth goes, but seriously… this was worse than pushing out a 9lb 4oz kid. Heck, it was worse than pushing all three of my babies out at the same time. You get the picture, right? This fear is real and I really don’t anticipate it going away. Panic attacks still happen. I face this fear by continuing to spend time outdoors but I ALWAYS try to make sure I’m not going to have to walk in the dark. If I do, I will always have a flashlight. I continue to face this fear by shining a light on it.
I wish I could say I have a handle on this fear. I don’t. Snakes are evil and from the pits of hell. Quite literally. Snakes have been tormenting us since the beginning of time.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
Ochlophobia- Fear of crowds or mobs. My description – Fear of being in rooms with crowds of chatty women.
Yes, this is a real fear. I’m sure there’s a clinical sub name for the chatty women part. I haven’t always been this way but I am a textbook introvert. My family knows I have my “bubble” and that at times I need to retreat. But it seems that after living in a small SE Asian country for 4 years, this fear became bigger than an introverts bubble. Perhaps it was feeling like I lived in a 2 square foot concrete box with 5 million people stacked on top of me that sent me over the edge. I faced this fear by carrying a big purse. haha! I’m not really joking but seriously, though, I faced this fear by knowing my weakness and being prepared with the proper tools to get me through.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I was at a conference recently with about 700 other women. It was a HUGE stretch for me to even go. At one point in the conference, I was prompted to pull up my voice memo app on my phone and record a clip of the noise that surrounded me. I’m so glad I did. It makes me smile every time I listen to it. It validates my anxiety but it also sort of exposes the ridiculousness of this fear. This is what goes on inside my head when I’m in a crowd of chatty women. Maybe turn up your volume to get the full effect. The struggle is real!
It would seem that many of us have a fear of fear, yes there’s a name for that fear too – Phobophobia. Straight up… fear is stupid! When we put our fears in writing, on paper, when we speak them out loud, hold them up to the light, share them with a trusted friend… don’t they seem more manageable? Even conquerable? Fear is exhausting, y’all. I face my fear of fear with this scripture and constantly remind myself that God is bigger!
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8
Whatever the fear is we might be facing, even if we fear fear itself, we can face it if we believe that God is bigger. Perfect love casts out fear. There are countless “do not fear” “do not be afraid” “fear not” scriptures in the Bible. God usually says “Do not fear” just before He’s about to show up and do something crazy amazing! Sure we need to fear sin and evil and consequences of bad choices because that’s just healthy self preservation. But as Believers, we aren’t mean to live in fear or be defined or consumed by it. God doesn’t “do” love, He IS love and in His love, in His perfect love, fear cannot exist. If we exist in Him, if I exist in Him (yes I’m talking to myself too), fear is cast out. Fear. Has. To. Go.
Can we walk through our fears together? What are your fears? How do you face them? We can start a conversation here in the comments or you’re welcome to come over to the EPFH Facebook page.
Name it. Claim it. Believe that God is bigger.
This is a Friday Five post hosted by my friend, Kelly, over at Mrs. Disciple. I’ve linked up with her over there. I encourage you to go read her heart, Fighting Fear with Truth, and the amazing hearts of other blogger friends who have also shared about their Five Fears.