I am fully reclined in a faded blue woven wool seat inside of an American Airline 747 with all the other guys in MIKESCHAIR flying to Tulsa, OK for the first of many stops during our CD release week. The pilot announces over the intercom system that we are 33,000 feet off the ground, above the clouds and my heart starts to pound. I try taking out my headphones and listening to music, I try closing my eyes and falling asleep, I even try to humor the idea of purchasing a bug vacuum off of the sky mall magazine that they so cleverly placed in the seat pocket in front of me for my leisurely reading. Every time I feel like I am almost fully distracted enough to bypass the anxiety, we slam into some turbulence and I am abruptly confronted with the situation I am in.
It’s funny to me that something as small as me being a wimp on a flight can remind me of a much broader human tendency to fill our lives with distractions. Things that we know aren’t really going to get us through whatever conflict we are facing, but are rather temporary fixes to a much deeper wound. We can get lost in our distractions, but as soon as that “real life” turbulence hits us hard enough we wake up, look around and still feel helpless in the situation we are presently in. We all have our own means of worldly escape. Maybe it’s social networking that lets you vicariously live through someone else’s life that takes your mind off the problems of your own, or fantastical movies that transport you to another place, or even something as simple as your favorite “feel good” song on your iPod. We fill our lives with meaningless noise, distractions and deterrents to put off facing our every day problems and fears.
Honestly, the very last thing I thought to do in an effort to get rid of the feeling was to close my eyes and pray. I prayed for safety, I prayed that God would continue to let me live to be used by Him, I prayed for forgiveness of my sinful nature, I just sat there and prayed for the entire remainder of the flight. I told God all about my fears, my lack of faith and my desire to fully trust Him and Him alone for my safety.
I opened my eyes and immediately realized that I didn’t need a bug vacuum, didn’t need the calming music on my iPod, and I didn’t need to pass out asleep to get through this ridiculous fear of flying. I just needed to trust that God had all of it under His control even when my own understanding and brain told me something different.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I pray that all of our lives can continually grow in trusting the tender hands of God more and leaning on our own feeble minds less.
In God’s Love,