Dealing with my own irrational fear!

Well, here it is, only the second Friday of the new year, and already it’s Friday the 13th.  I’m amazed that this still proves problematic for some people, even people who believe in God.  But I’d better not point fingers at anybody but myself.  Let me tell you why.

There were two particularly unfortunate incidents that occurred for me in 2016:  I had a gallbladder attack, and we were hauled in for a minor interrogation at the US border.  Thankfully, these did not both occur on the same day.

However, they had one thing in common:  on neither of those days did I shave my neck.  Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?  I mean, any guy who wears a beard will have occasional days (maybe more than occasional days) when he doesn’t shave his neck.  But I will admit, to my shame, that I have not failed to shave my neck once since the second of those two events occurred.  Not.  Once.

And I completely understand the irrationality of that…let’s name it for what it is…fear.

I’m no better than the person who wears the same sweater every time his favourite hockey team plays, or the person who refuses to walk under a ladder…or who is hung up on Friday the 13th.

Maybe, just this once, writing Encouragement From the Word will be therapeutic for me, because by admitting it for everyone to see, I know I need to break the trend.  One day of an unshaven neck is not that uncomfortable – though perhaps there is something in my genes, for I have never in my life seen my father unshaven!  (Of course, that didn’t keep me from growing a beard as soon as my hormones would allow!)

I can’t do it tomorrow, because I have a visit to make; I can’t do it Sunday, because it’s Sunday; but maybe on Monday, I will let the razor take a rest…just to prove the irrationality of this fear.

Why is it so irrational?  Because we serve the God of the universe, the one who flung stars into space and gave Bach the inspiration to write the Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major.  This God we serve is sovereign; it’s the only way he can be God.  And this God has told us, flat out, in his Word:  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1.7, NLT).

If you see me next week, hold me to account.  I need to practise what I preach.  Hopefully, you will, too!

Encouragement From The Word

Do you suffer from tridecaphobia?

Do you suffer from tridecaphobia?

That’s the irrational fear of the number 13.  It doesn’t get much press, except on days like today:  Friday the 13th.  Motorcycle enthusiasts in southern Ontario love Friday the 13th, because it gives them an excuse for a road trip.  (Many motorcycle enthusiasts meet on Friday the 13th in Port Dover, Ontario, for a rally.)

Some folks, though, get a bit tied up about the number 13, to the point that they won’t stay in a hotel room with that number, or buy a house with that number, or put a 13th floor in a building.  It’s a bit of an odd phobia, if you ask me.

The word phobia just means ‘fear’.  And in theological terms, ‘fear’ has two opposites:  ‘faith’…and ‘love’.  As Scripture says, “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, NIV).

Followers of Jesus have no reason to fear anything, but especially something like the number 13.   So what makes us afraid of things?

We live in a sinful world, in which seeds of fear and doubt have been sown in abundance.  Jesus came, and lived and died and rose again, because God loved the world just that much.  His purpose was to redeem us from the sin to which we are enslaved, which includes our fears.

The antidote to fear is faith.  Trust the Lord, and give him your fears…even your fears of Friday the 13th.