I have so many different quotes I want to use to start this entry off, but I have to choose only one…
“The world is big. It’s scary, it’s dangerous, and it’s risky. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay home.”
Yesterday afternoon, I was taking Erica to the airport for a work trip and as she made a pit stop at the bank, I frantically scribbled these words in the notebook I had in my car. It sounded to me like the beginning of a children’s book, but maybe that’s because I have a child’s fear.
In all of literature and film history, I have several characters I relate to, but I especially (today anyway) relate to L. Frank Baum’s Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. He was less generally afraid and more afraid of anything he didn’t know – anything he hadn’t seen before. When he encountered something familiar, he lashed out in the primal way scared animals do – an angry fear.
I feel that way sometimes.
When Erica has to travel for work (or even for pleasure) I comment on how stupid I think airports are. Are they? No. Of course not. But I don’t understand them, and to be entirely honest, I am deathly afraid of them. Afraid I’ll go to the wrong desk, afraid I’ll leave out some detail that will leave my luggage in another city, afraid I’ll miss a connector flight, afraid because I’ve never flown and I just don’t know the processes and procedures. And the last thing I need is for someone to tell me it’s not so bad. You know what I need? I need to just do it.
I don’t know if this is some sort of curse of being the youngest child (growing up it felt like everyone did everything for me, so it’s almost like when I had to do things for myself, I didn’t know how to) but I’m just afraid of doing things for myself. Booking a hotel? Scary. Calling to follow up on a job application? Scary. Travelling? Scary. Going to a concert in a city I’ve never been in before? Mortifying.
I live in a little bubble sometimes, I fear. I know what’s safe, I know what’s comfortable, and I know what’s familiar. I am at my job – even though it doesn’t make me a lot of money – because it was practically handed to me, I didn’t have to interview or even go through the application process. It’s easy. It’s safe. I don’t travel because I don’t have money, and even if I did, then I would have to deal either with an airport or a train station (neither of which I have before) or get my car fixed, which means I’d have to deal with a big, scary mechanic.
Isn’t that ridiculous?
I can’t help but think that I wasn’t meant to live in this kind of fear. I know that, when Jesus said what He said in John 10:10, He wasn’t necessarily talking about money and material stuff. But at the same time, a lot of my fears inhibit my ability to travel, and I think that God is reasonably pro-travel. He’s not travel-obsessive (He’s not sitting there commanding people to travel all of the time, but at the same time, Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations.) I think God is interested in having a people not bound by fear, a people interested in all of the world He’s made and all of the people He loves. I’ve heard it said that travel is good for your spirit because it helps you see the enormity of the world and how small you really are, and it helps break our fantasy that this is the only place there is – the crazy idea that sinful men and women aren’t in the glamorous places in the world.
All this is to say that yet again, by the grace of God, He’s pointed out something that needs to die in me. I’m too afraid all of the time. Too afraid of things I’m not used to. Too afraid of things I don’t know. So I don’t know what it’ll look like, but I intend to meet those fears head on and get out of this bubble I’m living in.