Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facing Fear

I faced fear this weekend. I went flying.
Yes, I'm 35 years old and never set foot on an airplane until this past weekend.
The idea was first discussed last Christmas. Pam and her husband sat with Jerry and me ... and another couple we are good friends with... all of us sitting at our annual Christmas party in 2009. We all talked about our lives and family ... that was the first time I discovered Pam and Don owned an airplane. They made a small comment of ... "you guys should join us" ... and I believe I said ... "I don't fly." Up to this weekend, I've found legitimate excuses as to why we couldn't go on the flight. We were working on our house, taking the boys to a movie, sporting events, family get togethers ... I was scared. I am deathly afraid of heights. Thus, any ol' reason for not accepting their invitation would do. I guess I thought if I kept saying "no, sorry we're busy" ... she might get tired of asking and stop. That way, I could continue on my present course of NEVER riding in an airplane. I could let my fear win.

On Saturday morning, Pam asked me ... "Are you guys busy this evening, we're flying to dinner? Can you come?"

I quickly went over every possible reason I could decline ... nothing. Football practice was the night before, no family dinners scheduled, no movies to take the boys to ... Nothing.

I called Jerry and he agreed. He had been looking forward to this for a year. Each time I declined their invitation, he would ask why ... seriously ... he knows why. I'm a big chicken.
At 5:30 p.m., I faced my fear. I sat behind Don as he piloted the plane. Jerry sat beside him and Pam beside me. I was great. We made the round and I was surprised at how calm I was ... then ... the plane left the ground. I grabbed Pam's left hand and squeezed. My stomach lurched, my eyes closed, the air left my lungs and I couldn't find blessed breath no matter how hard I gulped. An odd tingling sensation burned my chest ... it felt as if a caged bird resided beneath my ribs rather than a human heart.

Then, I heard Pam's quiet voice ... "It's ok, you're doin' great." She rubbed my hand in hers and talked about the scenery. She told me all the things I missed with my eyes tightly shut. I sat fixed in that position for the first 25 minutes of our 30 minute flight. I think I may have even asked Don to turn the plane around at some point ... said, I can't do this please go back. I might have given a couple of tears life 2000 feet above earth. Still, Pam held my hand and talked me through ... each aspect of God's creation expanding beneath the plane. Finally, I opened my eyes and watched as a hot air balloon bobbled to the left of our view.
Pam's fingers probably went numb somewhere between our little farm town and the middle of Indy. But, she never complained. Never said anything beyond soothing words of encouragement.

Rick's Boatyard was an amazing destination for dinner. I ate Maryland Crab Cakes on frenchbread with a healthy supply of Joe's mustard. I even faced my fear of mushrooms and found they really aren't too bad when stuffed with crabmeat and smothered in cheese. Actually ... They Rock!
I surprised myself by keeping my eyes open longer on the ride home. The lights were amazing from the lofty view above earth. Our little town is not as small when looking at it from an airplane ... it actually looks like a well thought out map of fields, woods, houses and rivers.
I'm glad I faced my fear. While floating ... I thought of the sensation I had felt on our departure ... of Pam's reassuring words and patience. How this adventure could relate to all fears. Any fears. There are all kinds of fear. We each have our "comfort zone." An area we feel absolutely safe and free of discomfort. I've heard it said more than once ... "step out of your comfort zone" ... "live outside the box." We all know ... fear waits outside that comfort zone ... outside that box. If you're at all like me ... you're ok with the comfort zone, ok with the inside of that familiar box.
But ... what happens if God is calling from outside the comfort zone ... from outside that nice box you've grown to love and accept? Then what? What makes you leave the comfort? What makes you open the box and find out what's waiting beyond the familiar space? Maybe your a teenager living in a small town and wondering if you have the courage to leave and try something new beyond graduation. Maybe your struggling to face that person who wronged you ... you're not good at confrontation and the thought of talking to that person is frightening. It could be that you're afraid of starting a new job or a new marriage ... new baby, new school ... old friends, old school ...

What made me leave the comfort zone of "two feet on the ground"? Pam ... Pam and my patient husband. Pam and her pilot.
She could've given up on me. She could have asked someone else to take that flight on Saturday evening. Let me remain captive to the fear of flying. But, she didn't ... she gently reminded me of God's control and of God's beauty. I liked it best when she said ... "isn't it amazing how God gave man the intelligence to build a plane ... to let us see His creation from this height?"
What words of comfort are you speaking to a brother or sister in Christ? Are you giving them strength to face fears and to take steps toward God's will in their lives?

Thank you Pam and Don ... for being patient and willing. Thank you for the amazing experience of flight. For sharing your plane and Saturday evening. You are a blessing to me and Jerry.


  1. What an awesome feat you did! To face and conquer your own fears! I believe if we truly yield to His leading, He will provide us with the right things/people we need in order for us to succeed in the work that He wants us to do for Him. But what a feeling it is, to be able to get out of comfort zone and actually benefit from facing your own weaknesses, that leads us to victory and a stronger character.

    God bless your friends for their patience and understanding...God bless you and protect you sister.

  2. I am so pleased you listened to God and knew he would be with you in everything you do." I can do all things in him who strenghten me" and you were a real trooper letting him strenghten you thru this fear. You did a great job getting thru the flight maybe next time you will see more of God's wonderful creation form up there. Thank you for letting me be a part of helping you face one of you fears. We had an awsome time and great fellowship. I thank God for getting to know you and Jerry better.