Anyone who has ever had a worst fear can relate to this post. I had a little issue last night, but this actually goes back a bit farther than sixteen hours ago. I need to preface the point with an explanation. This is probably the grossest story you'll ever hear. Ready?
When I was fifteen, there was one evening I was in bed, lights off, talking on the phone with a friend. I really don't know how it happened, but the worst possible thing occurred: a live spider crawled into my mouth while I was awake and talking. I kid you not, I threw the phone across the room, starting spewing and spitting and yelling (somehow all together), and practically fell out of bed. I couldn't find it on me or the floor, so I glanced around hurridly, ignoring my friend's questions and exclamations from the dropped phone, and searched for the bug. Nothing materialized. Needless to say, I didn't get back into bed for a good hour and practically tore my room apart until I found the thing. And then Dad killed it.
More of this drama took place a few months ago. I was getting ready to take a shower and a big, black one crawled out of the drain before I even had a chance to get in. No one else was home, so there I stood, with a hairbrush in hand and wrapped in a towel, eyeing the spider and taunting it with my weapon. But I couldn't even bring myself to kill it. I didn't want to leave the room for fear it would crawl out of the tub unseen and haunt me in some other portion of the house. So there I stood, trapped in the bathroom and owned by a spider the size of a quarter. This is tragic, I know.
Last night, while in bed, I felt the sensation of a bug on my leg. I flew out of bed, whipped the covers back, and searched my sheets. Nothing. A corner of my mind became a bit seized with the thought of crawling back into bed with a spider, and I was tempted to camp out with a fly swatter in the middle of the floor instead. But then a little thought intervened.
I've been reading the book When People Are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch. The section that popped into my head was from Chapter 3:
"What is the result of this people-idolatry? As in all idolatry, the idol we choose to worship soon owns us. The object we fear overcomes us. Although insignificant in itself, the idol becomes huge and rules us. It tells us how to think, what to feel, and how to act."
I realized right then that while I wasn't idolizing spiders, I was allowing the fear of them to control me. The realization actually made me a little angry at myself for being so stupid, so I yanked off the light and climbed back into bed in a huff. "How silly you are Lauren," I thought.
I felt quite empowered and liberated actually. And I think that I am the better now for it - both people-wise and spider-wise. It occurred to me that there's a whole new realm of things you can do if you're fearing only God instead of man and the dark. I hope that if nothing else, my transparency will help you feel like you're not the only one.