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)

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