Navigating our fears

March 24, 2017


I have mazeophobia. Or at least, I think I do. I googled my ‘condition’ and that was one word that came up to describe it.


It’s the fear of getting lost, particularly when driving. In the days before GPS (global positioning system), the prospect of having to drive somewhere unknown, especially at night, used to make my heart pound, my hands shaking as I found the address in the street directory.


Yes, younger generation: street directory. A book of horrid little maps that you were supposed to be able to use navigate around suburbia, one eye on the road, one eye trying to follow the labyrinth of lines that apparently took you to your destination.


I can recall (on many occasions) sitting in my car crying, the Melway (the Melbourne street directory) open uselessly beside me on the passenger seat. I could see the street on the  map.


I could see the corresponding street sign on the lamp post in front of me. I could see where I needed to go—but I just couldn’t work out how to get there. Did I have the book upside down? Should it go sideways? Where did that road go after it disappeared off the page anyway?


Once on my way to the office, I turned down the wrong road and got lost in a warren of side streets. And that was after I’d been working there for two years.


Most of us have fears of some sort. Some we seem born with, some are the result of  experiences.


I know someone who now has a fear of spiders after she put her foot into a shoe and a huntsman ran up her leg. Someone else I know suffered from aviophobia (fear of flying), which intensified as time went on. As this person had to fly overseas several times a year, it became a real problem, to the extent that she took a course to overcome it.


The list of phobias we can have is huge and makes for interesting reading. Who would have thought you could have phobias such as nelophobia (fear of glass), optophobia (fear of opening your eyes), papyrophobia (fear of paper), somniphobia, (fear of sleep) or vestiphobia (fear of clothing)?


It’s all sounds a bit inconvenient, doesn’t  it?


There are fears that can make us shudder or feel sick in the pit of our stomach. We can have flashes of fear at the thought of having to do something out of our comfort zone. And there are debilitating fears that can diminish our quality of life.


When we are afraid, we often feel isolated in our vacuum of fear, but the Bible assures us that we are not alone.


We can turn to God at any time for reassurance, comfort— and maybe a shot of courage—just as the writer of Psalms did  in the Bible (Psalm 53, verse 6), when he wrote to God: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”


Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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