Sunday, February 14, 2010

Air Sick

By Elisa Morgan

My husband and I had been talking about taking a trip. The kind where you fly over a LARGE body of water. Not for work nor for ministry but rather for fun.

We talked about the idea one Saturday morning before I left on some errands and when I returned, he’d booked the flight using our free air miles. You’d have thought I’d have been grateful. After all, he took the initiative, sat on the phone with electronic India and even got me an aisle seat.

But nope. Know what my first reaction was? Fear. Honest. I noticed this weird knot forming in my gut as I screwed my face into a “Let’s pretend I’m a really grateful wife thinking you’re an awesome husband” impersonation.

Why fear? I pushed past the “I’m leaving the continent where my kids live.” They are in their mid-twenties. It wasn’t that. Next came the dogs. Mercy…They would be fine. Then I hit the “Will email work there?” Of course it will - it’s not like I was going to the top of Mt. Everest. I liked my husband and looked forward to spending time alone with him, so that wasn’t it either.

What was the matter with me? So what was I afraid of?

Scratching just below the surface I discovered the obvious all-too-familiar answer: lack of control. Flying over a body of water – not just land – but a GIANT body of water with nowhere to land, brings up control issues for me. And just after the control issues appear, next comes a messy and undeniable fear. It’s not that I’m some kind of control junkie. I’ve WAY recovered from that addiction. It’s just that I have a hard time entering unfamiliar zones – especially for fun. (You see, when I’m leading, I’m in control so that’s much easier. It’s when I’m not in control that the fun begins. Do you like that play on words?)

About this time I was reading in Luke 8, the story of Jesus casting demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. (By the way - why is it that the Word of God can be so well-timed when you’re not looking for it and then pretty much silent when you’re begging God to speak?) So the people are all amazed at Jesus and how he healed the man, when - WHAM! A line in 8:37 slammed into my thinking, “Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.”

They were impressed with the miracle and the healing but they were also freaked out that Jesus was sending their livelihood (the herd of pigs) off a cliff. Good stuff was happening – but at what price? A price they didn’t want to pay. They were overcome with fear and their reaction was to ask Jesus to leave.

Fear pushes Jesus away. My fear pushes Jesus away.

I take in what’s going on around me - sometimes not so good, sometimes quite lovely – and queasy-stomached with fear, I push Jesus away. I ask him to leave, to get into the boat without me.

Boat. Plane. Whatever. Each is a vehicle that moves us from one place to another. From familiar to unfamiliar. From known to unknown. We can go with or without Jesus.

Today I’m planning my trip. And I’m asking myself quite honestly: what really makes me the most afraid? Venturing into the unknown sky grasping my pretend joy stick of control or flying off into the wild blue yonder in one direction while “sending Jesus off” in another one?


  1. I just recently read the story of when Jesus walks on the water in Matthew 14. I had always focused on when Peter came out on to the water. This past week I couldn't get my eyes off the part when Jesus got into the boat and the storm stopped. All that week I kept praying for Jesus to come into MY boat and calm the storms of whatever circumstance was creating fear in me. Thank you for this post. It was a great reminder and encouragement. Blessings, Hope

  2. I just love God's timing! I am feeling led into a certain area of ministry and see God's hand moving in my life. I am meeting with the Women's Ministry leader of our church tomorrow, while I am very excited because I know God has a plan, I am also afraid. Afraid because my story is not one of Lillies and Marigolds. It is full of thorns. God has pruned me and nutured me, I am now seeing a bloom. The passion God has placed within me has not gone away, it has intensified with my healing. While I still struggles, as Paul writes about in 2 Corintians, "the thorn in my side", I have found freedom in Christ. Your story was a reminder of not having fear in the unknown but having confidence that He will be by my side.To not have fear of having no control, but confidence that He is in control.

  3. Thank you soo much. I constantly remind myself that Fear doesn't lie in God. God is freedom. We limit ourselves by the unknown. How can we ever try to compute what God has in plan.God has blessed me with many gifts and talents but I continue to hold them back due to fear. I struggle everyday to move forward and let go and let God. Its hard but oh so worth it! Our confidence should be in God not ourselves.

  4. Thank you for your sharing. I like the sentence: "It’s when I’m not in control that the fun begins." :)
    I'm learning to lean on Him and go at His pace, saying no when I have to.