I don’t mean to imply that relationships are worse than terrifying (but some of them come close!)
We all experience fear in some form or another, but sometimes it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous.
I don’t mean to be insensitive to people who really suffer, but there have been a huge list of phobias that have developed over the years. Some of them are so close to being funny, it’s laughable!
Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, arachnophobia, acrophobia are some of the most common ones. But here’s some unusual ones from The Phobia List:
- Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing.
- Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions.
- Anuptaphobia- Fear of staying single.
- Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
- Caligynephobia- Fear of beautiful women.
- Chrematophobia- Fear of money.
- Consecotaleophobia- Fear of chopsticks.
- Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words. (My favourite so far.)
- Lachanophobia- Fear of vegetables. (??!!)
- Paraskavedekatriaphobia- Fear of Friday the 13th.
- Pentheraphobia- Fear of mother-in-law.
They can be useful, though. In politics, if anyone disagrees with you, just think up some impressive, scary-sounding phobia to brand them with. But maybe that would make us "allodoxaphobes" (refer to list above) so we’d better not. :/ :D
But seriously, fear is very real for those who experience it. We may laugh at many of these phobias listed above, but let’s not hold these fear-ers in contempt. We have our own too.
Fear can actually be as confronting as pain and suffering. Sometimes worse. It is sometimes considered as a “torment of the soul”. See 1 John 4:18.
Note, by the way, that the apostle John spoke of this in the context of fear-based religion versus a relationship with God. When we are motivated mainly out of fear of the consequences, we are not “perfected in love.” See my previous post on the “End of Wisdom”.
Yet I believe we can take the meaning of that passage further.
When I was little, and I held my Daddy’s hand, I was as bold as a lion.
When I hold my Heavenly Father’s hand, I am bold as a lion. (See Proverbs 28:1)
The trick is: learning to get a hold of our Heavenly Father’s hand in the first place. That alone can be scary for some, especially if it means turning back to God to begin with. Yet that’s how it often happens:
- We allow ourselves to get caught up in dodgey stuff
- We suffer the inevitable consequences
- We panic, or at least realize that the situation is way beyond our control.
- We renounce the dodgey stuff and run back to God.
Sadly, many would rather hang onto their dodgey stuff and the phobias that come with it rather than run to the only One who can help them get free.
Yet the Father is amazingly compassionate, and incredibly patient.
True, He will mostly allow us to stew in our own juice until we wake up to ourselves, but often He will pursue us -- not so much to rescue us from the consequences -- but to let us know He’s ready to grab our hand when we reach out to Him.
I know there are fears that have come from things that have happened to us, not so much from what we have done. Like I said, I don’t want to be insensitive about these things. I know that it sometimes takes years to overcome certain fears, and there’s no simplistic answer to it.
But every time God said “Fear not.” it was because “I am with you”, “I will help you” or some expression of His Fatherhood (See Isaiah 41:10.)
There have been many, many examples where people have conquered their fears by their love:
- A young soldier conquers his fears and presses into the battle because he loves his people and his country’s freedom.
- A young mother-to-be goes through with the pains of childbirth because she wants a little one to love, and for the love of her man.
- A 33 year old carpenter faced the fear of an agonising death, but went through with it because He loved you and me.
Please don’t be afraid to comment. :)