I’m afraid of flying…

I have to say I just laughed out loud because as I typed the title of this blog post I realized that that could be a heavy metaphor, man!

I’m afraid of flying…

Well, I intended for it to be literal. I’m sitting here in the airport, about to embark on a day’s worth of air travel, and it’s not my favorite day. I don’t like leaving earth, because it seems like giant objects full of people would do better on the ground. BUT, alas, I’m also not a fan of driving with two of my three kids from Florida to California, so here we are.

But as I typed the title of this blog, I was reminded of the quote…

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FEAR! Fear is the worst thing ever. It just controls the heck out of us, doesn’t it? Man, I hate it. And man, do I deal with it almost everyday.

I never used to be afraid of flying. I actually used to LOVE turbulence as a kid. It would put me to sleep! And I can even remember flying BY MYSELF to Spain the first time I left the country. I flew like 19847 hours, across a country and then an ocean, as a team of ONE. I can’t even imagine doing that now. It sounds terrifying. But why did that start? Where did it come from? When did this stupid fear show up?

I remember being on a plane, 8.5 months pregnant with my first child, somewhere between California and Arizona and I had an anxiety attack. I can’t say what brought it on exactly, other than that’s how anxiety works sometimes, but I was done for. I couldn’t recover. Luckily, we were already on the decent, and so my time on the plane freaking out was short lived, but the damage was done. I could hardly muster the strength to get on my connecting flight. I was paralyzed.

From that point on, the FEAR of… well, fear… kept me heavily sedated on planes. The fear of being afraid made me take two dramamine and one Ativan every time I boarded. And although it may have been entertaining for the other passengers (think of the scene in Bridesmaids where she is drunk and drugged), it was a big problem for me.

Here is the thing… just about the time I started freaking out on planes, God promoted me to a position in my business where I’d be expected to get on a plane several times a year. What is that about?

I’ll tell you what it’s about! JUST when you start to fly, the enemy attacks. Just when you start to really gain the chance to do some big things, fear is there to keep you small. And fear waged war on me for about three years of my life.

But God is faithful, and prayer works. Every time I have flied over the past few years, I have prayed that God keeps us safe and the pilots know what the heck they’re doing. And you guys, I fly in and out of RENO, Nv- one of the WORST airports to fly in and out of when it comes to rough air. This prayer game has been TESTED and it is strong.

I can tell you now, as I sit here getting ready to board, I don’t feel anxious. Do you know why? Because I have faced my fear so many freaking times that I know- and I TRUST- that fear is a liar. Fear controls us and keeps us small. And I’ve got too many dreams to chase and too many rad placed to explore to be kept small and afraid in airports.

And let me drop some perspective on you, because I love to do that so very much, I am SO GRATEFUL that planes exist. Just when I would think about how many hours I would have to be on a plane, I would think about how many hours I would have to alternatively be in a car. And I get pretty dang car sick! So I am grateful that I can cross this country on a plane and not just in a car. And I am so grateful that I have the means and the ability to do that. And I know that so many people on this planet will NEVER have the glorious opportunity to feel themselves take FLIGHT in the way that we get to on a plane. So many people will never have the chance to see the amazing miracle of an enormous jet plane defying gravity. How blessed am I?

How blessed are you?

Am I still afraid to fly? Yes. I don’t love it. But the fear of flying ALMOST stopped me from traveling. There was a point in my life where I was willing to just SKIP things- opportunities in my life- because I was afraid of what it would take to get there- like physically get there. What a devastating travesty that would have been, right?

I just spent an amazing week in the Bahama’s with my two older kids and my husband- thanks to the amazing business I was so afraid to start- and I gained so much perspective. I wouldn’t have gained anything, if I would have stayed grounded. Here’s a taste of what I learned:

  1. My three year old is DESPERATE for our attention. He was so dang well behaved on this trip because he had our full attention. He was like a different kid. If I wouldn’t have taken this trip, I would have just thought he was a crazy three year old who was just a jerk!
  2. The Bahama’s were just hit by a hurricane not more than two weeks ago. I got to see, first hand, some of the devastation. I got to contribute to their recovery financially. I got to show my kids what it looks like in other area’s of the world. I got to help them GAIN PERSPECTIVE- and that is just priceless.
  3. There are some beautiful places on this planet. I found myself in pure AWE several times throughout the week. The white sand, the turquoise ocean, the warm water, the beautiful architecture of the Atlantis hotel… man, I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
  4. I also got to see a grandma, struggling with cancer, spend quality time with her daughter and four grandkids. I got to see a friend of mine, who wanted so desperately to see the world, get her first stamp in her passport. I paid witness to so many mom’s show their kiddos that hard work is worth it. They EARNED this trip for their families. And I watched their families ‘get it.’
  5. I flew into Fort Lauderdale in a terrible windstorm, and the plane was rocking and rolling. I was scared, but I was calm. I prayed and I trusted. And fear turned out to be a liar once again. Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me that I am not in control. And what I know isn’t the whole story. Planes are designed for this. And I don’t have to live in fear.

I had to face fear to get to this point, and I’ll have to face fear through turbulence as we fly out on this windy day again. But it’s worth it. It’s always worth it.

On the other side of fear is amazing faith. Faith is stepping out onto nothing, and landing on something. Don’t be afraid. You’ll land on something. I promise. And you’ll be SO GLAD you stepped out.

So don’t be afraid. You might stop yourself from flying…

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