Sunday, April 25, 2010

Where Fear is Slave

I remember reading a story as a child. I don't quite remember all of it, but it had to do with a sign on a mailbox that read G.I.Ant. Removing the punctuations, the words read "giant," with the punctuations, it could have stood for Geronimo Ignatius Ant, or Geraldine Imelda Ant. However, few people dared find out what it was. They read the words "giant" and immediately feared impending doom. Perhaps, they may have had unpleasant encounters with giants in the past and now were scarred by the experience. If only they cared to knock on the door, a poor little ant whose initials were G.I. would have welcomed them in.

Last week, I had a G.I.Ant moment. I got a salad from Chick-fil-A. I was going to write I got a salad from a fast food place, but God forbid it was some other place...My order was wrong to begin with and there was no silverware in the bag. I took the salad home either way and called to let the manager of the location know. A few bites into my meal, I began to choke on the salad. It was not horrific by any stretch, but it scared me. I managed to have a few bites but I had to give up on the salad eventually.

Later the same evening at a dinner event, I was about to put a piece of salmon in my mouth, when all of a sudden I was gripped by fear. Fear of choking on my food. I got so scared I didn't eat a bite of the food and the food was good...salmon, spring salad, pasta, cremé brulee, key lime pie, and cheese cake. I put a piece of the whipped cream to my lips and the fear paralyzed me. I came home hungry and gave little thought to the fear that now seemed to envelope me.

On Sunday, I didn't eat a bite. I was stricken with fear. Finally with my sister sitting in my room, I managed to eat a cup of yogurt and tea in an hour and half. I was frozen. The days rolled by. Sunday turned into Monday, gave way to the end of Wednesday, all I had eaten was the yogurt, tea, and some fish soup. I looked up choking on the internet and realized that I was becoming prey to a condition called "pseudodysphagia," or irrational fear of choking. This is a psychological disorder where the sufferer fears choking on foods, and adopts a liquid diet because some foods are seen as unsafe and viewed as hazardous.

This may seem light but by yesterday, I had only had one full meal. I had little snacks inbetween, spending perhaps twenty five minutes on two cookies. I prayed with my family and some friends and had to believe God that this torment was a lie devised by the devil. If I could gulp down three glasses of milk, then why was I afraid to eat a piece of chicken. I had to realize that Satan was trying to create fear in my heart. In my despair I reached for scripture after scripture and I found comfort in John 17:15, "...that you protect them from the evil one." This was a direct prayer Jesus prayed to the Father before his crucifixion. It resonated deeply with me that Jesus had taken the time to pray for his sheep before his departure. Reading the entire chapter, I found prayers that addressed almost every challege we could potentially face.

The fear of choking, the fear of heights, of speaking in public, arachnophobia, of death, of poverty, sickness, the fear of G.I.Ant. Fear can take hold if we let it, but God reminds us that he has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. I suffered for a whole week at one time feeling really weak and exhausted. I knew God was present, but I didn't trust him full when I should have. Don't let fear put you in a corner. Be bold and take the plunge trusting that the one who bids you come will not let you fall. Go out on a limb and let God bear the shame if you fail...because you won't. He'll be there to rein you in and will not let go. So today, stare down your fears and remember God's got your back.

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