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FEATURE: Overcoming The Fear of Flying

July 28th, 2015 / Stephane

My pants would be seriously on fire if I told you that me writing most of this at 30,000-odd feet in the air is somehow proof that I have conquered the fear that I developed of flying. The truth is, I needed an activity to keep my mind busy and away from the fact that I am trapped in a big ole contraption with no way out for the next three hours, 45 minutes and 20 seconds. Not that I’m counting.

I won’t pretend that I feel great about being in the air and to be totally honest—I am looking forward to praising Jesus and singing Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp (on repeat), as soon as I reach terra firma. I would probably also hug the floor upon landing, if there was any way I could do it without looking like a total lunatic.

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I haven’t always had a fear of flying. In fact, I used to really enjoy it—but a few years ago, one of my ears became damaged—which wreaked havoc with my sense of balance. This meant that I felt dizzy a great deal of the time and that horrible feeling, like you are about to fall off a high skyscraper, followed me everywhere even as I walked around doing the most mundane of activities.

I have avoided flying for two years, but on a particularly happy day, I thought it was a great idea to book a last minute holiday abroad. As soon as I had booked it, I was filled with trepidation. WHAT HAD I DONE?

In preparation, I decided to check out a webinar on the fear of flying. I learned that one of the major stumbling blocks for me was that I had mentally scripted the worst narrative of how any plane journey would go. In turn, I let that play in my mind over and over—as though it were the truth of what would happen.

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When I realised that this was the case, I decided that instead of essentially meditating on disaster, I would meditate on the fact that God is in control and holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), He will not let me become totally overwhelmed (Lamentations 3:22-3) and He is 100% with me (Isaiah 41:10). Also, it was particularly helpful to chew on the truth that ‘as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him’ (Psalm 103:11). So even when at the height I find myself in on this plane—God’s love is even higher and it will keep me.

So that was my starting point, and even though I shed a few tears as I waited in the departure lounge, I decided—and kept on deciding—to place God’s truth over how I felt.

I didn’t magically feel better as I got on the plane—neither on the way there, or on the way back. In fact, as the captain said ‘relax and enjoy the flight’—I wondered how the words ‘relax’, ‘enjoy’ and ‘flight’ could possibly end up in a serious sentence together. But it seemed to be possible, as I looked around and saw people sleeping—and even LAUGHING—on the flight.

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Despite the captain’s advice, I wasn’t relaxed and I didn’t enjoy the flight—but one thing that I learned is that, by God’s mercy and grace—I can get through the flight. This may not be what some of you want to hear—particularly if you hoped I might offer a magic solution. All I know is that it does get easier as you push yourself to fly and be courageous about it. Courage comes about when you press on, despite the presence of fear.

For me, peace has not been the absence of what scares me, but more so the very real assurance of knowing that despite feeling like I’m in the thick of it—God is near, and Him being near and with me is always a reason I have to not give in to fear. Even in my worst moments (whether flying or otherwise) He has kept me.

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What’s more, if God is with me and hasn’t let me go in the most hair-raising moments (such as flying can be), He will continue to be with me in any other challenges that life throws my way.

So to all my fellow flight-haters—I truly feel you, but let us not put our lives on pause and place limitations of what we can do or where we can go.  Whatever the root of your fear is, know that God is with you.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. (2 Thessalonians 3:16; NLT)

Written by Kazstarlet

Tweet me @kazstarlet

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