Perhaps it is because I am a writer that I have leanings toward paranoia. And anxiety. And seeing things that aren't really there.
Not all the time, mind you.
For instance, I smacked my head the other day right in the temple area. It swelled up, and got all red and vein-y looking. For about 20 minutes of my life, I actually wondered if I would die that night. (It's not that weird...you hear stories of people smacking their temple and dying all the time.) I wasn't worried about my death; I am assured of an unbelievably awesome life after I cease to live in the flesh here on earth. But I was worried about the books I'd leave unfinished, and the people I wouldn't see again, and the sadness that would be felt by my family and friends.
The whole incident got me thinking a lot about fear, about how irrational it can be, and yet how real.
Example: I'll travel around solo in Bangkok without thinking twice about how many things could happen there. It's a city of 11 million. I'm a girl. I'm alone. I don't speak the language. I'm diabetic. Those things just don't bother me. But ask me to go into an unlit basement that has had confirmed spider sightings, and I'll get dizzy and short of breath. If it's really bad, my thumbs will go numb.
How crazy is that?
And that's just the beginning. I'm scared of mountain lions, losing my teeth, going blind, fire, roller coasters, doctors, surgery, car wrecks, mean dogs, and guns. Oh, and the dark. Bumps in the night can still scare me. I've been known to grab my baseball bat, my cell phone, and a flashlight and search the house on more than one occasion.
I say all this lightheartedly (and with some embarrassment) here, but I so wish I didn't have these fears. I wish some night I could charge into mountain lion country knowing I was going to meet a doctor, have surgery, lose my teeth, and ride a roller coaster through a fire with a mean dog while holding a loaded gun in my hand and not bat an eyelash.
But, I'm kind of a sissy. More than that, though, all these crazy fears show a lack of trust in God. That, I think, is the biggest problem with fear. I can trust God to walk with me through Bangkok but not through the basement? That's sad.
So, we're working on it. Me and God, that is. We're working on this fear/trust issue. As I'm living in a giant ranch house in Montana all alone right now, we've had plenty of learning moments. There's a big basement. And spiders. And lots of curtain-less windows that show me all the darkness outside at night.
The biggest thing I've learned so far is that God fills every single millimeter of night -- and day. He is in everything. He made that spider that made my knees feel like Jell-O. He gave men the knowledge to build basements and roller coasters -- and to be doctors who can fix the body.
That doesn't mean tragedies don't happen. They do. All the time. I'm not going to tackle that issue tonight. What I have been struck with is how many intricate details must take place in me and around me just to sustain life each minute...each second. If God can orchestrate that for more than 6 billion people -- not to mention animals -- I think He's worth my trust.
I can only hope this desire to trust God with things like spiders and teeth will permeate the bigger issues like trusting Him with marriage, housing, cars, and jobs.
In the meantime, please don't send me any Stephen King novels about murderers stalking authors at their remote cabins. I won't read them.