People who know me very well know I do not like to fly! Airports and airplanes have always given me a “gut war”. If you were a stranger seated next to me on the plane, you would know me very well by the time we landed. LOL!
Butterflies, nerves, anxiety, fear, or whatever you want to label it, is what I experience. It has been an ongoing battle I have been fighting for years. When there are unusual noises or turbulence, my natural reaction is to grab the person sitting close by, clench their arm and bury my head in their shoulder. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. Just a few years ago I discovered that now my children argue over who has to sit next to me when we are flying as a family. Even Bill is in the mix of letting the children share the burden of baby sitting their mother on the plane.
I have spent time in prayer and have carried my Bible on the plane and read Scripture to try and help calm my nerves. I don’t sleep well the night before a plane flight, and, if we are going on a great vacation I cannot even look forward to it until we land at our destination and get off the plane. I have found very little victory over this ongoing problem until the last few years.
I can vividly pinpoint a flight where God began to give me victory. I was heading to a golf tournament and God placed a traveling pilot, who was off duty, right beside me. Take off was uneventful for me but about 45 minutes into the flight we experienced major turbulence. I felt as if I were free falling as the plane bounced in the sky. You can just imagine, here is this seasoned pilot sitting right beside me, drinking his coffee and enjoying the paper when all of a sudden I grab his arm for “dear life!”
I never bothered to ask him his first impression of me, but I can tell you that he was an angel in my life. What I didn’t know was that I was lacking knowledge and understanding!
Proverbs 24:5-6 says “A wise man has great power and a man of knowledge increases strength. For waging a war you need guidance and for victory many advisors”. I was fearful of something I didn’t understand and I was in a war with my fears. God used that pilot (a stranger, but what I now call an advisor) for the next 2 hours to walk me through my unjustified and over-the-top fears. This pilot was gracious, patient, and understanding and, not to mention, knowledgeable on how to deal with people like me. He explained, in simple terms, air pockets, weather, air streams, required safeguards, and all the measures that are taken to ensure safety. The more he shared, the more understanding I gained and all the while experiencing a release of the chains of fear that had gripped me for so long. I still have the habit of grabbing someone by the arm when bumps come during flights, but I don’t have the same fear in airports or the sleepless night before the trip that I once experienced. God is so gracious to bring us along and calm our fears and answer our prayers.
A huge lesson and take away for me was how to face the fear of the unknown in a given situation. I now seek wise counsel from someone who has more knowledge than me on the situation. It definitely increases my strength and power, and, many times allows me to win the mini wars and sometimes major wars of life!