I am slightly claustrophobic. I have been for as long as I can remember. Last May, while on vacation, my husband and I couldn’t wait to go snorkeling with all the beautiful sea life, but there was one problem – I struggled to breathe with my goggles and snorkel suctioned to my face. I felt completely restrained and was unable to fully enjoy the beauty of it all. My fear was greater than the beauty God had for me. This past summer, my daughter begged me to go down the water slide at the public pool, but once again, my fear was greater than quality time spent with my little girl. I have even found myself gasping for air when watching certain scenes on the television. I have a real phobia. As I sat down to write this, my mind immediately went to Charlie Brown and Lucy’s scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Lucy was acting as a Psychiatrist and began going through a list of phobias with Charlie Brown. That’s when I realized everyone fears something; some of us even have the fear of fear itself, called photophobia.
Fear in any form, if not properly governed, is never free; it will always cost you, maybe physically, mentally, or spiritually, but it will cost you. Fear cost me quality time with my daughter, and some beautiful discoveries under the sea. Just as I’ve allowed my claustrophobia to rob me of special moments in my life, I’ve also allowed fear to rob me of God’s blessings and sometimes, even His promises. How often have I walked past someone who needed encouraging, yet I was fearful how that might look if I approached them? Therefore, failing to bless them and missing out on being blessed. Other times, I’ve walked past an open door (spiritually) feeling inadequate of the task at hand and missed what could have been a promise of God.
You see, fear comes down to fight or flight. I’m learning through claustrophobia that I won’t suffocate, whether that be from watching the television or wearing goggles. However, if I allow that fear to control me, I will miss out on a lot of beautiful moments. So I can fight fear or I can take flight and run, continuing to miss what God has for me. While God does not give us fear, He understands there are times we will be afraid and that’s okay. I heard a pastor say it like this, “just do it afraid”.
I don’t know what you fear today, but don’t run from God-given opportunities because of fear. God has great things for those who run after His purpose. I know it’s scary at times, but the choice is yours: fight or flight. When we take flight, we forfeit God’s goodness for our lives. Instead, I encourage you to fight, even if that means you have to fight afraid!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4