“FOR AS HE THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE,” AND WHAT DOES A HEART FULL OF FEAR REALLY THINK ABOUT?
I started to be a frequent flyer during my early 20's. Work required that we be up 35,000 feet for hours over the Pacific Ocean many times in one year. And because long haul flights meant staying in the same cabin for no less than 12 hours, I began to enjoy it as though it was an extension of my own home.
I loved sleeping or reading or watching films in those flights which promised whole days of no interruption. Before the time of inflight wifi connections, there was absolutely no way for anyone to connect with someone on board any flight. So it was always something I would look forward to — my precious 12 hours of introversion! (Introverts say AMEN!!!)
Yet come 2014, I began to dread all flights. As in all flights — short or long! Whether I was going to Cebu or Dubai or America, every flight brought so much anxiety. To this day, I cannot relax in a plane ride until perhaps around the 3rd hour. (So can you imagine one hour flights where I don’t ever get over the fear?)
Because this was so unusual that I began probing, where is this fear coming from? Something must be wrong with me. I prayed and I prayed for God to reveal to me why I suddenly became a nervous-wreck on flights and surprise, surprise, He didn’t show me a deep-seated issue but a “consumption-issue.”
When news of earthquake began to flood my timelines, it robbed me of good sleep in our former condominium unit. I thought I should never sleep too soundly so we can readily escape through our windows out to the balcony, where we must effectively dodge big chunks of concrete that would be falling. Well, that seems like a better plan than being trapped in the fire exit, under a rubble worth 30++ floors, right???
Then airplanes missing, crashing, Sec.Jesse Robredo’s small plane failing and him eventually drowning. Those details were appearing on Facebook and Twitter faster than Tv and radio stations could cover it, right?
Then of course a blow by blow account — of people missing, family members grieving, what could have happened as told by experts and analysts, a tribute, memorial, the sadness, the loss, all inescapably glaring on our timelines every minute.
That’s the thing, it’s how I consume these things that is affecting the way I think about the rest of my life. When TV and radio used to report so limitedly, now the world can replicate and add to the original news faster than ever! And the problem is that I am doing nothing to control it.
My husband always tells me, “Do you know that more people die of car crashes than plane crashes?” But while he is stating a fact, my eyes are glued to the image of loss on my personal screen. And this isn’t only true for earthquakes and plane crashes but just about everything, including miscarriage and the loss of a baby.
Just recently I received a personal message from a friend who has been crippled with fear since the news of her pregnancy. She confesses that she couldn’t rid herself of the news about my miscarriage and other friends who have lost their babies, as well.
That reminded me of when I was deeply grieving my loss I opened a book about a mother who lost her baby shortly after she was born due to complications. I thought I’d open it to gain insight about what I am going through as of the moment and I wasn’t even past one page when I started to lose it. All sorts of scary things began to enter my mind and I felt like I was going to go ballistic so I stopped right then and there and told myself, “Don’t open that book until you are ready. And if that means you are never ready, then never open that book.”
I am saying this today because as much as I would like to help other women who have experienced loss as I did by sharing my story and stories of others, I also want all the moms out there who are expecting and raising their babies to know that not everything that happens to us will also happen to you. Yes, suffering is very much a part of life but we are not called to suffer all. Some may even breeze through life without a tinge of it! 🙂
So if you are someone who is in a place of fear and doubts right now because of all the things that keep appearing on your timelines, as well as stories from dear friends, here are a few reminders.
Guard your minds.
As a young father, my father in law made a decision to not have television in their house. His reason was because media will not edit the things that are inappropriate for young minds to see. We all know that visuals can be very strong and can stay for quite some time in our memory, so he refused TV to give his children what they, in fact, didn’t need.
In the same way we must also edit the things we consume from TV, radio, and web because the truth is, they won’t edit that for us. Even as adults, things we consume intellectually will affect our over all wellbeing. What is it that Benjamin Franklin said? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Avoid what you can. Don’t listen, watch or read to what doesn’t help you! (Yes! Even if it comes from me, I won’t be offended, promise!)
Think of good things.
I’ve miscarried, a friend had stillbirth, another friend lost 5 babies already, but then I know about 10 more babies about to be born this year and many babies were successfully born in the first half of it. There are many successful pregnancies and deliveries! There are many healthy and thriving children! There are no plane crashes today! Manila didn’t experience a massive earthquake!
Focus on what’s good!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Maybe it will also help you to know that Paul wrote this while he was in prison? 🙂
Like I said earlier, I still get anxious on plane rides. Though I have controlled my media consumption from the web, some of the old images and information stay. But instead of giving in to the fear I choose to be in faith. I ask God to help me by reminding me all the promises in His Word: of good health, long life, protection, joy, fullness of life, peace and much more.
See, God wants us to read His Word and meditate on it. Meditate means to ponder, consider, contemplate. Instead of contemplating, considering and pondering on what they say online, and even what my mind chooses to think, I meditate on the promises, power and Person of Jesus according to the Bible. And before I know it, peace and certainty begins to tell me it is perfectly well with my soul.