Distracted by Worry and Fear

Fear Robs Faith and Distracts from Joy

For regular humans, air travel requires faith. Birds are fully equipped and instinctually sail upward but people are designed to be firmly rooted to the earth. I say “regular” humans because there are some nerdy aerospace types that get the science behind jet engines and are less awe-struck or mystified.

Flying is a liiitttlle scary for me. I don’t have panic attacks or need to be sedated, but I can’t just sit back and enjoy the trip. I grasp and flail every time there’s a dip, bump or unusual noise. (I’ve actually groped the knee of a strange man seated next to me without even realizing it for a full 15 seconds. Awkward.)

To compound the terror, I have a propensity for motion sickness. I really need to see the horizon (which ain’t happenin’ on a commercial plane) or all that moving around makes me awfully queasy. Super!

Needless to say I pray when I fly. A lot.

On a recent visit to Alaska we took a day trip from Juneau to Skagway via ferry with the return on a six-seater plane. I’ve been aboard small planes (even got to take the wheel on a four-seater once), but for some reason this one just felt like a floating metal box. (Which it kinda is!)

I was so torn between abject fear of dropping like a rock and marveling at the majestic terrain. (Wow, that glacier is spectacular…holy crap, we’re going to die!)

Isn’t that how life so often is? There is surprising beauty, abundant love and free-flowing joy all around us but we don’t appreciate it (or even notice) because we are distracted by worry and fear. Thoughts like, What if it’s cancer?… How will I get through this awful thing?… I’m so afraid that my kid will (get hurt, get addicted to drugs, get in trouble, get pregnant)… Will I be able to keep my house if I lose my job?

Those concerns are all valid, but most are not real. At least not yet. Cancer is a great example. My husband’s immediate family are all cancer survivors, so I’ve been down the C road a few times. The natural responses go something like this: What if that spot is cancer?! Then you find out it is and the next is: What if it has spread? After that comes: What if I die? … And on it goes.

Whether the next thing is the outcome you worry about or not, your dread and fearful thinking have not impacted what ends up happening. And worse, so much of your physical, emotional and spiritual energy has been WASTED. You could have been enjoying sunsets, taking walks with loved ones or serving homeless people, but your focus was diverted.

The next time you’re faced with a scary proposition or situation, remember that the choice is yours. You can cower in your seat with your eyes closed, fearing the worst until the journey ends (the “natural” response). Or you can trust the pilot (yeah, it’s Jesus) and enjoy the beauty of life in the moment (the “supernatural” response).

Faith and fear will always be a battleground. Which one wins in your life?

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Authored By Diane Markins