The other day, as I walked into my lounge room to relax with some Netflix and a nice hot cuppa, my eye caught something on the wall...my heart jumped, and an expectant cold shiver ran down my spine.
A big spider.
A HUGE spider!
Okay, it was a medium sized huntsman. But it was there. And its presence affected my ability to unwind.
I stood there for a few minutes and debated my options; kill it, trap it and release it, or live with it.
Over the years, the choices I've made have definitely changed. As a child, the sight of a spider sent me into a screaming mess of tears; I would call for my parents to come and deal with said spider, and no amount of fly spray was enough to ensure it was dead. I wanted it squished and removed!
Once married, it was my husband's job to deal with my fearsome enemy.
Now, I have realised that I must face my fears alone; I can either allow them to control me, or I can control them.
So, what did I decide to do? I thought about trapping Freda, (yes, I name them, it makes them seem less icky!). but she was far too high for that. And I don't like spraying huntsmen; they aren't dangerous, just really creepy! So, I reasoned with her; you can stay inside, but no suprising me!
I spent the next 5 days living with Freda inside my house. We got a bit close at times, but generally, we co-existed nicely.
And then my 6 year old, Josh, saw her!
By this stage, I was so comfortable with Freda, that I was able to tell my boy, she's okay, she won't eat much, (and actually believe it!); but she was sitting on the roof, right over Josh's head!
So I grabbed a long, blossomy ornamental branch thingy and waved it near Freda, to try and have her move along. It worked nicely. So I moved her along a little more. And a bit more. Soon, we were at the back door; Josh quickly opened it, and I calmly encouraged Freda to walk out through the back door, and into her own world again.
We just herded a spider out of our house!
Now, I'm no psychologist or behaviour analyst, but...that is a far cry from my previous reactions!
So what changed? The fear was still there; why could I suddenly handle it?
I think there are two key things; firstly, there's no "super hero" to fly in and save me from my enemy. I must be the hero!
Which lead me to my second discovery; my fear was actually unfounded. I was totally overreacting to the situation, because I had allowed myself to do so. The situation was not ideal, but was it really worth all the stress and angst?
Do I still pray when I see a spider?! You bet I do! But I also pray for wisdom on how to handle it, and to give me clarity of mind, and the ability to relax in the face of the fear.
As a creative, and in my spheres of writing and photography, I have had to overcome overwhelming fears; doubts that I am any good, that what I have to offer will measure up, feeling overwhelmed with the hugeness of what God is calling me to do. Many - MANY - times I just want to curl up in a ball under my blanket and cuddle my cat and not face what he's called me to.
But...I know that there is a greater purpose to my calling. Fear says, "I am not good enough!" whilst faith says, "Yet I will trust God to take my talent and make it grow exponentially." So I'm learning to live with the fear - of failure, and even of success, and the unknown nature of it all. For if I allow the fear to be in control, I will do nothing, and will just hide my talent away for no one to see; and how sad it is to know that someone could achieve something truly remarkable, had they but the faith to step out.
I sincerely pray for anyone reading this today who is bound by fear; that God's gentle yet powerful hands would slice through the bindings and release you into your God-given and ordained potential! That you would catch a glimpse of all the things God has in store for you, and that you would take that first step to being in control of the fear, through faith in Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine!