Scared $#!+less … the dreaded “f” word…

“I’m counting on you.”

That phrase could have been uttered by anyone. Maybe it was said from a boss, maybe it was said by a friend, maybe it was said by a spouse, but this time…

It was me.

Eisoptrophobia is the fear of what could happen. It’s the rehearsal of that conversation that happens in your imagination as you prepare to explain yourself…to you. Literally, it’s “the fear of seeing yourself in the mirror.”

What happens when you reach that point between “I can” and “I can’t”? There’s a combination of excitement and dread as you step across that line realizing that you’ve just passed a point of no return. You’ve just jeopardized everyone’s opinion of you and relinquished the shroud of mystery that keeps people far more optimistic than they should be about your potential and competency. The question is actually safer than the reality.

Atychiphobia

“the fear of failure”

There are two major issues when we talk about atychiphobia.

1) On one hand, we’re talking about how others perceive me. Once I give them the following evidence, I can’t take it back. If I embark into this unknown territory of my capabilities, everyone who sees me will have incontrovertible evidence against me. Because I’m terrified that I will fail them, I fear losing what little respect they have for me (that I’ve micromanaged to the nth degree) and stand on the premise: feeling inferior is unacceptable.

2) On the other hand, I fear the reality that I may have to face when I finally discover my actual limits. What happens when I always thought I could, even boasted about it, only to discover…I can’t? The internal humiliation is almost more than I can bear and it uncovers another one of my deeply rooted fears: atelophobia (the fear of imperfection).

Many people see perfectionism as arrogance… I’m sure you could find some unblemished narcissist that genuinely thinks that way but most perfectionists I know aren’t arrogant: they’re afraid.

Remember, fear is that weird instinctual reflex where my body, mind and emotions react without my permission. We’re afraid and maybe even irrationally, but what makes fear so daunting is the fact that if I could control it, I probably wouldn’t allow myself to feel it.

The issue is: when fear threatens to control us, what do we do? Are we so afraid of failing, of the truth we don’t want to discover, or of disappointing someone else that we fail to even try?

Whether this is a moment of panic: the split second decision of “do it” or “walk way;” or the long drawn out anxiety/dread of choosing a “road less traveled,” there’s still a fundamental need for courage. Remember: courage isn’t easier, but it’s the weapon we have against living as a slave.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.”

Mark Twain

Your vocabulary word for today is:

Phagophobia – fear of swallowing

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Scared $#!+less (part 2)

You know the ABC’s of CPR? Airway Breathing Circulation

You know the directions to give? “Go call 911 tell them we have a ___ who is ___ and THEN COME BACK.”

With all of the training I’ve received from the countless CPR/FA training’s I’ve been through there are only two things that actually freak me out. I’m pretty good in a crisis but if I encountered these two things I seriously don’t know what I’d do. Those two things are: amputations and infant CPR.

I don’t know why these are my triggers (fear’s like that isn’t it…a little irrational). I mean, burns, broken limbs with exposed bone, arteries bursting…there may be (in your opinion) way more terrifying medical emergencies you could imagine. But those two are mine.

What this tells me is that crisis isn’t actually that big a deal for me. In fact, it’s always the anticipation that robs me of sleep, that gets me to mentally rehearse worst case scenarios, and that triggers me to add things frantically to my “To Do List” at odd times. But once it’s here, it’s easier to face somehow.

One of the biggest concerns I have about our generation comes from an observation I’ve made over the last ten years. Little did I know that it actually has a name:

Decidophobia

“fear of making decisions”

Really?! There’s actually a clinical name for the epidemic plaguing our generation!? When I saw this I laughed and shuddered simultaneously (it would have been amusing to observe I assure you).

A few years ago some friends and I went on a Caribbean cruise. It was a blast and we used our lead up time before our departure to delegate out some tasks (navigation, packing special treats, learning the map of the ship, signing us up for meals etc.). It helped spread out the responsibility and made things easier but when all was said and done, it was I who volunteered to take on the task no one wanted: decision maker.

As amusing as it sounds, it actually made the entire trip smoother. Laura had the job of collecting everybody’s preferences and then getting them to me so I could make the decision of what the day’s activities would include, what time we’d meet for lunch, if we’d play shuffleboard or hit the pool, etc.

It’s not that I like making decisions but sometimes they’re unavoidable and the alternative of doing nothing is just as distasteful.

In all seriousness though, it’s disturbing. Look at this:

Teleophobia Gamophobia

“fear of definite plans” “fear of commitment”

There is a physiological response that our bodies, minds and emotions have when confronted with fear. These particular labels, however, describe stimuli that confront us with what we perceive to be a cage.

I talked with someone a few months ago about our generation’s obsession with “the backspace key.” It’s actually anxiety producing for us to consider putting ourselves in a place without escape (Claustrophobia). We’re so afraid not of the good selection we might have made or the positive place we may have ended up, but the sole reality that: there’s no way out.

These kinds of fears paralyze us. We miss opportunities and we actually convince ourselves that they are opportunities worth missing because the associated panic with having no perceived escape is worth avoiding. Do you hear this?! Good things missed because we’re unwilling to place ourselves in a potential place of regret.

That’s the real issue isn’t it? We’re afraid we’ll get something we don’t like. We’re afraid we’ll end up somewhere having rued our decision (ever ordered something at a restaurant that sounded good but was decidedly not?)

Some of you may need freedom from these fears.

Some of you aren’t realizing your destinies because you are entertaining these fears.

Some of you are stuck and THIS IS WHY!

Friends it’s time to get some freedom. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE! And you know what? You also don’t have to live with cherophobia (the fear of being happy). Don’t live in bondage.

Live free and make a decision for goodness sake.

As we go through this series, if something strikes a chord with you and you want help overcoming a fear in your life, leave me a comment and I’ll send you a declaration and prayer to help you dominate the fear in your life rather than be held prisoner by it.

Your vocabulary word for today is:

Omphalophobia – the fear of bellybuttons

Scared $#!+less

That moment when your heart starts beating a little faster…you know, when you can feel it in your ears…

It’s a mixture of horror… of disbelief… of regret…

It’s gone way past a simple adrenaline rush… it’s uncomfortable… maybe even painful… and all you want is for it to stop.

You think in your mind: can I make it stop?  FORCE it to stop… RIGHT. NOW.

Or maybe you think: where’s the nearest exit?  if I walk away now, it’ll all get better in a second.  If I can’t see it, it can’t see me.

Or simply: I don’t know what to do.

The emotion you’ve just experienced could occur for any reason as long as that reason involved a stimulus that invoked a negative emotional response commonly known as: fear.

I’m obsessed with the idea of fear right now.  I see fear running our lives and impacting almost every area of our generation and society.  It’s not a new concept.  In Genesis 3, the first emotion described after God said everything was “very good” was (you guessed it): fear.  Adam was “afraid” and so he hid.

Fear is absolutely always connected with the future.  Whether that future is a millisecond from now or a hundred years, there’s no way to fear the past (that’s called regret).  We always, always fear the future.

I’m doing a study on phobias which are fancy ways to identify the stimuli that we encounter which invoke these anxious or panic responses and motivate us to do one of three things: fight, fly, or freeze.

We’ll break this down over the next several posts, but I wanted to start off with the number one fear in our society today.  This one beat clowns, spiders and even death itself: public speaking.

Glossophobia

“fear of speaking in public”

Can we be honest for a second?  Picturing an audience in their underwear is the most unhelpful advice ever given to anyone ever.  It’s not funny and doesn’t actually defray my own anxiety about standing in front of people and making a presentation.

In my work with missions training, there is nothing more panic inducing than the revelation that all good missionaries will, at some point in their experience, preach a sermon.

Cold sweats, nausea and that general feeling in the pit of one’s stomach…yep it’s like clockwork.  Even the mere idea that preaching might happen motivates people not to learn and give a new experience a shot, but inspires them to mentally formulate innovative scenarios which often include self-administered injuries at critical points in time (ie. just before a church service) that will disqualify them from the assignment of delivering a message of truth to a waiting crowd.

We’re going to dive into this over the next few conversations, but honestly: what’s the big deal?

Many fears and phobias involve legitimately dangerous activities, such as:

Hoplophobia fear of guns                           Traumatophobiafear of getting hurt

Aichmophobia fear of sharp objects               Arachnophobiafear of spiders

Ophidiophobiafear of snakes               Selachophobiafear of sharks

Public speaking just isn’t one of those dangerous activities.  So what’s the problem?!  That question is not an indictment; it’s a curiosity.  I’ve seen people pass out, throw up, hyperventilate and even start sweating when they are about to take the stage.

There is something inside us that reacts involuntarily.  It controls us and tells us what we can and cannot do.  I want to figure out what it is.  Because I believe if we can conquer our fears, we can change the world.  There are messages that need to be spoken and I say:

THIS WON’T BE THE OBSTACLE THAT STOPS US!

As we go through this series, if something strikes a chord with you and you want help overcoming a fear in your life, leave me a comment and I’ll send you a declaration and prayer to help you dominate the fear in your life rather than be held prisoner by it. 

Just because it amuses me, here’s your vocabulary word for today:

Arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth