Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia...How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia...Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia? 
Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia? 
Lucy: The fear of everything. 
Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT! 
(From A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charles M Schultz. 1965)

All of us are afraid of something. Fear is a natural response that was wired into us to warn us of danger so we could avoid it. However, as Lucy describes for us above, there are a lot of irrational fears. For most of us, fearing staircases is not a problem. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of people who suffer from hypengyophobia!

I read about one this week that struck me as very odd. Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.  I'm sure there must be someone out there who is afraid of beards, or there would not be a name for this phobia. However, I have never met anyone who suffers from this particular ailment. I wonder if those folks are more afraid of full beards than they are, say, a goatee, mustache,  or a simple "soul patch?"

I imagine life would be difficult with such a phobia. There are many people out there with facial hair. A person with this fear would certainly not be able to go to Walmart! I guess they would be terrified of Santa or ZZTop!

Anyway, to most of us, this, and many other fears, are irrational. However, to those who suffer from them, the fear is real and debilitating. Many times, the fear keeps them from enjoying a great deal of pleasures in life.

God, our creator, never meant for us to live under the weight of fear. While fear in the face of danger makes our adrenaline surge and gives us the instinct to run or fight, fears like the ones listed above are not a part of God's plan for us. Many times in scripture people are told to not fear, but to move ahead with what God has called them to do.

The Bible teaches us to have no fear when it comes to the things of this world. David wrote, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for thou art with me." (Psalm 23:4) We also find David's encouraging words in Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?" The apostle John reassures us that God's love takes away fear, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

Whatever fears you may have, rational or not, talk to God about them. He doesn't want you to live a life of fear and dread. Jesus came that we might have a life filled with joy and hope. Give your fears to Him and rest in the one who is our refuge and strength!

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(1 Timothy 1:7)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dirty Windows

I see my reflection in the window. This window clean inside, dirty on the out.
 (Rock, Hetfield, Ulrich. 2003)

Last week I had my truck washed. Notice that I said I "had" it washed. That means I paid someone to wash it for me. I didn't do the work myself. Why? Because it was too dirty for me to even try. I would've had to wash it more than once to get it clean, and I don't have the patience to do it.

The reason I finally had it washed was not because it looked dirty on the outside. Oddly enough, the white of my truck doesn't show dirt too much. I could have gotten away with not washing it for a while longer. The reason I gave in and had it washed was the windows.

Disclaimer: Not my truck. Mine was not that dirty!!
Most of the time, I could see fine through the windshield. However, when I was driving toward the sun, the glare, through the dirt, was blinding. I couldn’t see much at all. The same was true when driving at night. The oncoming headlights or streetlights reflected off the dirty window and made it tough to see.

I realized the danger in not being able to navigate properly and paid a guy to wash the truck inside and out. Now I can see clearly, and it is much nicer to ride in it. I even let my wife ride with me the other day, without having to clear a spot for her to sit in the passenger seat!

As I was driving the other morning, the sun was shining brightly and I could see quite well. I was praying and thanking God for a beautiful sunrise, when I realized I would not have been able to see it like that a week before. I thought about how our Christian walk is similar.

Most of the time, we don't notice that our view of God is becoming clouded. It is a gradual thing that happens over time. We skip church a few times. We forget to read our Bibles. We may even go for weeks without talking to God.

When we do this, nothing drastic happens. There are no bolts of lightning to shake us and remind us to do those things. Therefore, we simply move on and forget to do them again. Sometimes, it is only when we realize we are far away from Him, and possibly in danger, that we call on Christ. By then, our "windows" are filthy and we cannot clean them ourselves.

The good news is that unlike me having to pay someone to clean my truck, the price has already been paid. Jesus paid the fee for us with His life. He gave His life so that we could be clean. He knew that we would always fail in cleaning our own lives up, so He did it for us.

If your life is a mess and you can't see what's in front of you, turn it over to Jesus. He is an expert at cleaning things and making them like new. Just as I am enjoying driving my clean truck, and am a lot less embarrassed to allow people to see the inside, you will feel brand new. Let Him clean you inside and out!

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)