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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oh My!

Posted by admin in November 6th, 2008
Published in Uncategorized

There seems to be a lot of fear in the world today. Even among Christians. Fear of losing one’s job; fear of losing one’s retirement; fear of our political leaders; fear of natural disasters and fear of the future. Fear is such a funny thing because I believe God gave us the ability to fear things in order to protect us. Like, well, agrizoophobia—the fear of wild animals. (Not to be confused with the fear of zoos which house wild animals. No, that’s another fear). I think it is good to fear wild animals. It can keep us safe by preventing us from trying to cozy up to a rhinoceros or petting a mountain lion. Yeah, some fear is good. Scelerophibia, for example—the fear of bad men or strangers. Don’t we try to teach our children this to protect them in this day and age?

I personally suffer from ophidiophobia—the fear of snakes. I hate them. Even large earth worms bother me. There are so many kinds of fear. Like before I married Daryl I had anuptaphobia—fear of staying single. (Thanks Daryl for helping me out with this). Since gaining weight I have a real battle with catoptrophobia—fear of mirrors AND geniophobia—fear of chins. It seems every day I get another chin. Ugh. Once I travelled all over China with someone I think had ablutophobia—fear of bathing. (You KNOW who you are!). From that I developed bromidrophobia—a fear of body smells. Seriously. Since I broke my ankle I have a new fear: climacophobia—a fear of stairs. My husband has a few fears of his own, like chorophobia—a fear of dancing. Which I am proud to say he faced head-on in order to dance with our daughter at her wedding. He also suffers from lachanophobia—a fear of vegetables which runs in his family. (To this day none of them can watch Veggie Tales—very scary).

Some of my friends are raising kids and they struggle with ephebiphobia—fear of teenagers. Oh my! I hope that all teenagers will suffer from genophobia until they marry. That’s a fear of sex. If you ever go to China I hope you don’t suffer from ophthalmophobia—a fear of being stared at. A big problem there. People stare. A lot. And another fear bad for China travel is consecotaleophobia—fear of chopsticks. I only fear the kind that women wear in their hair. Can you imagine putting a fork or spoon in your hair as decoration?

Some fears are really interesting. Like, tremophobia. This is the fear of trembling. What if you have that fear and it causes you to tremble? Ooh. That would be tough. Then there is counterphobia. That’s the fear of fear! Or my all time favorite is: hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. This is the fear of long words. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it? You’d never be able to tell people what it is you suffer from. Two fears a person would never like to have at the same time: coprastasophobia—fear of constipation and coprophobia—fear of feces. I think in that case one could lead to the other. Hmmmm.

The Church sometimes suffers from ideophobia—fear of ideas. One good fear I learned at church was hadephobia—the fear of hell. That’s what got me saved quite honestly. I was looking for fire insurance. A sad fear is ecclesiophobia—a fear of church. I wonder how many folks suffer from this as result of being mistreated at church? One thing we don’t suffer from around our house is soophobia—the fear of expressing an opinion. Big D probably wishes I had just a touch of that.

But fear can paralyze us. It can render us ineffective for the Kingdom. Sixty-three times in the Bible God tells us “fear not.” Another 42 times He tells us “be not afraid.” Fear is natural. And God knows we struggle with it. That’s why I think He mentions it so often in His Book.

However, we are commanded in Scripture to overcome fear. In fact, perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18) and God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I think the world as a whole is suffering from fear today. Especially with our current economic situation and the wars and unrest that are raging around the globe. But we as followers of Christ are not of this world. There should be something different about us—a peace that passes understanding; a hope; a joy that comes only from our faith in Christ Jesus. Perhaps it is this time that God has called us to be beacons of hope and light in a hurt and fearful world. Perhaps it is our duty as the Church to declare His peace and joy when those around us are facing impossible issues. Aren’t we told in Scripture, “… in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15)? Christ is our anchor. He is an ever-present help in time of trouble. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

Jesus said, “Fear not little flock for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). He understands that we struggle with fear, but He also gives us directions on how to deal with it and commands us to get rid of it. Here let me throw some Scriptures at you:

“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9.

“Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed…for there is one greater with us… With [them] is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles” 2 Chronicles 32:7.

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation” Isaiah 12:2.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” John 14:27.

These difficult times in our nation and in our world present us, as followers of Christ, with the perfect opportunity to be salt and light. This is our time to lovingly, humbly and boldly declare Christ as the only hope for humankind. May our lives show forth His peace and love as a testimony to a world living in fear. May His Spirit break the chains of fear in our own lives so that we may effectively minister to those around us in need. This is my prayer for all of us. Peace.

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31. Lana said,
November 8th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Teri…We read it and LOVE it! Isn’t fear such an interesting thing? Everyone is scared about something. I don’t think any of us can escape from it but how good to know that we can live without fear and trust in the ultimate Peace Giver. I needed to hear this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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32. Carpenter said,
November 9th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Ok, it was me. I suffer from ablutaphobia. But is all goes back to my fear of wasting water, soap, and time. Is that wrong? I’m just doing my part to save the environment. 🙂

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