Monday, 14 November 2016

Ride 'em in, Rawhide!

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 heart jumped, and an expectant cold shiver ran down my spine. 

A spider.

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!




  1. Loved your post Helen. I was amazed at how you have learnt to overcome your fears. Not just with spiders but with your creative outlets too. Well done Helen. I was tickled pink hearing that you name the spiders in order to make them more approachable. What a brilliant idea. I'm sure your boys too will learn much from their brave Mama. Every blessing as you continue to conquer those fears and achieve your God given dreams. May you reach the heights! You deserve to.

    1. Thank you Anusha! Yes, "Freda" is much nicer than "You evil spider!" Actually it was my mum's idea! I do hope I am an example for my boys, to show them that there is more than one way to handle a situation, and that we can always trust in God's strength to get us through safely!

  2. Great post. I always try and get spiders out of the house too but sometimes it can be difficult!

    1. Hi Lynne! So glad that I'm not the only one! I had one here the other day that was so angry it was jumping off the ground at me! I'm afraid he didn't make it, but I did release another one last night! There seems to be a lot around this year, perhaps because of the weather?!

  3. What a great story - loved that you herded the Freda outside - and also love the lessons you draw from the experience. Thanks for the post, Helen.

    1. Thanks Jeanette! It was quite funny to watch, and not as hard as I'd have thought! If we do it again perhaps we should YouTube it! :-)

  4. Hi Helen, I need to get my house-mate to read your post. She has an inordinate fear of anything that crawls, from the size of a pinhead to the large huntsman size spiders. I will try to catch and release if I can but since we have some pretty awful nasties like red backs and white tails which, amongst others, can get really aggressive, those are despatched to spider heaven or wherever it is that they go after they have been squished or drowned in whatever crawling insect killer I have in the cupboard.
    Great post though and you are right. Facing our fears is better than trying to ignore them. Now, I wonder if I can convince my housemate to read this! Hmmmm!!!

    1. Ha ha! I hear you about redbacks and white tips; anything dangerous is dealt with, swiftly...although I do apologise for their untimely demise! And perhaps that could be an added paragraph to this blog; praying for wisdom to identify the enemy and the threat it poses to one's self/others... Let me know if your room mate does read it! :-)

    2. I will, Helen and report on her reaction. LOL!

  5. Lovely post Helen and a good lesson for us all. Overcoming our fears as we mature is a great sigh of growth and it's great when we can do it intentionally. Sometimes we just have to "do it afraid", as Joyce Myers says, and it's wonderful what can happen for us when we do that. Well done and a great example to your son.

    1. Thanks Carol. I'm trying to be mature and keep on stepping out...sometimes the blanket and cat still win! But overall, I am amazed at where God has lead me, and often throw my hands up and say, What next, God?! It is his faithfulness that keeps me moving forward :-)

  6. Hi Helen,
    I love the analogy, as I find both those things scary too. Sometimes we've just got to put our big girl pants on, as they say :) When hubby and I were away a couple of weeks ago, I was told the kids had a visitor like Freda, and found it scary to figure out what to do, since Dad is usually the huntsman catcher.

    1. Oh your poor kids! I hope they were able to work out how to handle the situation. I have been in tears in the past, especially when they are huge! As for big girl pants, yes that is so true! I give myself time to get used the idea and kind of pep talk myself up, but sometimes there is just no other option. How awesome that God knows me well enough to encourage me to do what needs to be done! I pray that you would be en-couraged, Paula, to keep on stepping out in faith. xx

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  8. Thank you for your post Helen :-)
    I can relate to this predicament completely. I am fairly scared of most things that crawl, jump, slither etc. Coming from New Zealand forty plus years ago, I still haven't got used to the amount of scary things that reside in Australia. About the only thing I needed to worry about way back then was the red-back spider or Katipo as we called it. (The katipo is an endangered species of spider native to New Zealand. It is one of many species in the genus Latrodectus, such as the Australian redback, and the North American black widows ~ Wikipedia). The other thing that scared the living daylights out of me was the Weta. (Weta (plural weta) is the common name for a group of about 70 insect species in the families Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae, endemic to New Zealand. The word is from the Māori language, where singular and plural have the same form ~ Wikipedia). Although I am embarrassed to admit that I have become extremely terrified of frogs (much to Leon's amusement). They like to come inside to get out of the heat, and I just can't handle those little surprises when Freddy Frog decides to say hello to me.

    Anyway, to get back on topic, I do have an awful lot of fears. I know I shouldn't, God tells us not to be afraid, but that human side of me keeps popping up. As a youngster I had very little confidence or self esteem, and for various reasons much of that stayed with me as an adult. Lately, with my beautiful husband's help, and God's reassurance I have begun to feel just a little more confident. I'm praying that this continues to increase. Self-doubt is a shocking thing and quite debilitating, but so many of us creative people seem to suffer from it. Helen, I admire you for letting Freda stay inside with you for five days, what a trooper! Also I think Jenny's idea to YouTube it is marvellous ... LOL!! Blessings :-) xo