My daughter is terrified of sunflowers. Not just the ones that grow wild and tall on the plains and have centers that contain hundreds of seeds that could possibly be mistaken for insects. I’m talking about any sunflowers. Literally.
One time when we were traveling together, we stopped at a convenience store to use the restroom. When she discovered the entire room was decorated in flowered wallpaper that represented the big yellow petals with the black centers, she refused to use the facility!
No, I did not abandon her in a field of scary sunflowers when she was a child. I have no idea where this unfounded fear originated. She has been the victim of a lot of teasing over the years, including, I have to admit, from me.
Recently, she had her chance to get me back.
My husband’s passing a few weeks ago has forced me to face tasks I never had to accomplish in the past. As the temperatures begin to dip at night, it dawned on me that our well will require some kind of heat tape to keep the water from freezing, a chore my husband always attended to.
I confessed to my daughter that, due to my longstanding fear of the underground, I had never even ventured to peer into the well, let alone crawl down inside. Just the thought of uncovering that deep hole conjured visions of the story of baby Jessica, whose dramatic rescue from a 22 foot deep well gained world-wide attention back in 1986. Every time my husband descended into that frightening pit for whatever reason, I cringed at the front door until he reappeared intact.
Joelene spent her young childhood following her dad around, from the garage to the yard, always inquisitive about what he was doing. When I shared my fear with her, she stared at me incredulously and burst out laughing! “Mom, come with me,” she coaxed. I followed dutifully to the well house that I’d gingerly skirted around for forty years. She pulled the door open and motioned to me. Carefully, I edged toward the formidable opening and glanced inside.
I saw a dirt floor at the bottom of an opening about six feet in depth. The water occupies a large tank Sure, I knew about the tank, but the deep hole I had envisioned simply didn’t exist.
These are only two examples of the ridiculous fears we allow to control our thoughts and actions every day. We can find things to fear without looking too far, and we can allow our fear to paralyze us into avoidance and inactivity if we let it.
Yet, like every other situation we encounter in life, there is an answer to fear in God’s word.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV).
God did not create us to cringe in fear, but to face our unease with a solid knowledge that His spirit affords the power to overcome anxiety, timidity, and worry. Like a child whose fear of the monster in the closet dissipates when dad enters the room, our fear evaporates when confronted with the rationalization of the sound mind God gave us.
The next time you face a foolish fear, draw on God’s holy presence to give you strength and courage.
Do you struggle with a foolish fear? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it!