Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fear of Stairs

Fear. We all feel it. Babies are born with two fears-falling and loud noises. I suppose we "un-learn" the loud noises one. I'm not actually afraid of loud noises; they just startle me at this point. But I do have this weird fear of falling. I say "weird" because at times, I actually feel this strange fear that I'm going to fall down my basement stairs and break my neck when I'm alone, and no one will find me for awhile. Of course, I could fall down when Brian is home and still break my neck and I'd probably still die. I guess there must be another hidden fear of dying alone or something. But really, we all die alone...sorry, I'm going off on a rabbit trail point is, it's an irrational fear.

We learn fear as we grow. We all have irrational fears of some kind, like my falling down the basement stairs. I don't fear stairs in general. Some people fear spiders, or public speaking. Some fears turn into phobias---a persistent fear which the person goes to great lengths to avoid. Clowns, mice, snakes, going out in public, flying. 

I came across a list of phobias on the internet (see link below) and found some really unusual phobias. I've listed some that I found amusing: 

Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks
Walloonphobia- Fear of the Walloons
Aurophobia- Fear of gold (I've never suffered from this one)
Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers (no comment)
Geniophobia- Fear of chins (it's a good thing I don't have Catoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors, or I'd run away from myself every time I saw my multiple chins)
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words
Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons.
Pteronophobia- Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Linonophobia- Fear of string.
   and finally, my favorite:
Phobophobia- Fear of phobias

Of course, this is all in fun, but these are real phobias, and sadly, real people suffer from them. What is even more sad are these:

Athazagoraphobia- Fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting
Gelotophobia- Fear of being laughed at.
Atelophobia- Fear of imperfection.
Catagelophobia- Fear of being ridiculed
Thanatophobia or Thantophobia- Fear of death or dying

Why are these phobias more sad? Because they are more realistic. I'll bet you read that short list and could identify with one or more of them. Because we've all felt that at some point in our lives. We've all been afraid of being rejected, ridiculed, laughed at, ignored, forgotten, and abandoned. We've all stepped out in fear and failed. 

The good news is that we no longer have to be afraid...of failure, rejection, ridicule, spiders, clowns or stairs. Or death. The God who overcame the grave, the One whose resurrection we just celebrated, the One who conquered death, sin and fear offers us new life, and that new life includes giving all our fears to Him. Letting Him, who has already taken on that fear take care of us. I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth (Ps 121:1-2). Interestingly, this Psalm is called a "Song of Ascents...something that implies moving up, not falling down (stairs). When we move up, we move closer to the loving arms of Jesus--arms that are always spread wide for us to fall into.

I realize that there are many fears and phobias that are so great that it takes time and work, maybe work with a health professional to deal with them. However, I also know that my God can work miracles and He can help us to overcome those fears.

We just need to take the first step. 

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
Always (Kristian Stanfill)
For your reading pleasure: Phobia list

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