My mom just gave me a heart attack. I’m in my room, sitting on my bed, typing on my laptop and she comes in and begins to ask, “Do you think I should…..” as she places her closed hand on mine. Between her fingers I see a shape. I see black. I see legs.

SPIDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I jump nearly off the bed, gasp and yank my hand away. Mom looks stunned and then busts out laughing. The stupid thing was plastic. She had been coming in to ask if she should go put it on my brother’s pillow for him to wake up to and instead managed to scare me half to death. Which she found highly amusing. My mom, the 10-year-old boy at heart. šŸ˜‰

I don’t know when this fear of spiders started or how. I don’t remember a specific incident that would have triggered these reactions. All I know is that I am now so scared of them that I can’t even look at a picture of them without freaking out. Or, apparently, live with fake plastic ones in the house.

Even after I knew it was fake, it still freaked me out. I wouldn’t let her put it on my hand and when she walked out with it, I breathed a sigh of relief over it’s departure. A stupid plastic spider the size of a dime.

It’s stupid, really. This fear. I’m soooo much bigger than the darn things. All it takes is my shoe or even a piece of kleenex and I can wipe out their little spider existence. And yet, if a spider is on the wall of my bathroom by the blowdryer, I will go with wet hair before I get close to that bitty bug.

My poor brother has had to rescue me more times than I care to remember. He’s found me standing on the bathroom counter when there was a spider on the floor and under a table if it was on the ceiling. And these aren’t tarantulas I’m talking about. Little ones. Daddy longlegs, even.

I know that it’s irrational. I know that it’s dumb. And yet, I see a spider and I freeze. Doesn’t matter how much common sense you throw at me. In that moment of blind panic, it doesn’t matter that I’m a bagillion times bigger than it. It doesn’t matter that it’s probably not posionous. It doesn’t matter that it’s probably more scared of me than I am of it.

Why do we let things like this get to us? What is it that trains us to react to things like we do? I wonder if there’s ever been a single person (other than Jesus) who didn’t have some stupid, irrational fear? Why do we let fear be such a big part of our lives? Choices I have made have been based on the presence of a spider at times. Not big ones, obviously. But every choice has an effect. My choice not to dry my hair because a spider was near the blowdryer may have led to me getting sick. My choice not to go rock climbing because I’m afraid of heights could have caused me to miss out on fun and seeing a beautiful view. My choice not to talk to those guys because I fear and don’t trust men may have hindered my chance at having interesting friends or maybe even dating.

Fear shouldn’t be a motivating factor in our decisions. It can lead to making stupid choices. It can lead to you missing out on some of life’s greatest pleasures and moments. And if you start to let those fears run your life, then you aren’t really living.

I want to live.

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