"Guest" Post: Irrational Fear

My sweet husband wanted to write a post to share some of his recent spiritual thoughts.  
(lest we forget he did get a degree in Christian Ministries)

The other day, Rachel and I took her parents and our kids out for dinner to Red Robin. To most of you, Red Robin is famous for great sandwiches and “bottomless” fries. It used to be famous for that to me as well, but not anymore. Today Red Robin is famous to me because it withdrew a manifestation of irrational fear out of my 3 year old son, Christian.

To be fair, the little guy has gone through a lot in the past year and a half. A year and a half ago he was an only child, now he’s 1 of 3. A year ago he was living in Marion, Indiana. Since then he moved 500 miles to Maryland to live for about 11 months, and then moved another 500 miles back to Indiana just a few short weeks ago. In the midst of all this change, he has met new people, made new friends, and now has to start over and make even more new friends.  To say the least, he has been going through many changes that can greatly affect the psyche of a young, impressionable boy such as himself.

The Incident”
While sitting in our oversized booth, some Red Robin associates were preparing the area adjacent to us for a birthday party abounding with cupcakes and helium-filled balloons. While these associates were organizing the area, a balloon became loose and proceeded to “pop” as it hit a warm light in the ceiling. As with any balloon popping, it was initially a little startling. Christian was somewhat concerned that the balloon had popped and asked me, "But why did it pop?”
Mistake #1, I told Christian what happened. Now this wouldn’t seem like a mistake to most, and it didn’t seem like one to me….at the time. Cue the irrational fear: as the meal progressed balloons continued to randomly get loose and float to the ceiling. The moment a balloon hit the ceiling, Christian would let out a shriek. I'm not talking about a little "I'm scared mommy please hold me" type of cry. This was an uncontrollable "there's no way you can comfort me right now" type of cry. It was a scream.  There’s no other way to put it, he had rapidly become extremely fearful of balloons popping on the ceiling. No matter how much I tried to reason with this 3 year old and take him outside for moments of calm away from the deathly balloons, the fear was not subsiding. His brilliant mother finally decided to make him switch sides of the booth where any balloons were barely visible. I probably should have just let her handle it from the start.
In the ensuing days, I began to notice that Christian, and all children I presume, tend to have many irrational fears that can come and go as quickly as beautiful weather in Northwest Indiana. Some days he might be afraid of the lamp at the top of the stairs. Some days his sisters, Selah and Jadah, might be scared to death of their Pappy Henry with his shirt off. (This has happened on multiple occasions.) Some days Christian might be bashful to sing at Awana’s, while other days he will belt it out at the top of his lungs. Whatever the fears may be, they are usually somewhat fleeting and many times totally irrational.

Further introspection brought to light an interesting point. As Christians, we tend to give in to irrational fears much like my son did that night at Red Robin. We hang Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 in our homes, but do we ever stop and realize the meanings of those verses in our lives? If we truly believe that “God has plans to prosper and not harm us” and we can “do all things through Christ that strengthens us,” then why do we still have fear?
Why are we scared when we lose a job or don't like a job? Why are we scared when our house won't sell and we desperately need to sell it? Why are we scared when we don't know God's plan for our entire lives at this moment in time? Why are we scared when our children, younger and older ones, make mistakes? Why are we scared about anything, that when it comes down to it, is outside of our control?
I'll tell you why, it's because we're human! All of these “adult” fears make perfect sense and should be concerns. But time and again I have seen people lose sleep and practically create panic attacks over issues they really have no control over. As the old adage goes, “You have to let go and let God.” I know this is MUCH easier said than done. But imagine what life would be like if you could simply let go of all of your fears and doubts and trust completely that God has things under control! There are a vast number of references in the Bible of God promising to take care of us. Not even a sparrow falls without Him knowing. He knows the number of hairs on your head, don't you think He knows your fears and doubts? And better than all of that, He knows your hopes and dreams.

With that said, may you go with God. May you not worry and not fear the troubles of this world. May you walk with confidence and assurance through the scary streets of your personal memoir. May you see the balloons of life floating toward the hot lights in the ceiling and say. “I know you might pop, but I'm not going to be scared anymore.” May you always know that God does have a plan for you and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.


Team Tonagel said...

Preach it, Simon!

Life in General and Specific said...

Good thoughts Simon! You should write more often. Such great thoughts to remember as we near the birth of our son and the fears and changes that come with parenthood.

Rhonda Potteiger said...

I think you have a gift for writing that I didn't know about: Taking life's ordinary events and helping us see Christ in those places. Great Job. Your Mother-In-Law is impressed!

Beth said...

Good thoughts, Simon. Thanks for sharing.

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