Today I'm departing with my church staff for the Orange Conference in Duluth, GA. The last time I flew was in June to the She Speaks Conference, and I wrote this post to expose my intense fear of flying to the world, because apparently I cannot stand to maintain one shred of pride on this blog and had to blab about that weirdness, too. So I'm re-running it here because I think it's relevant and helpful to me (there IS something redeeming in the post) as I prepare to take to the skies today. But I would love your prayers. See ya in a few, and I have a couple of posts for you while I'm gone. PS: Airborne tastes awful.
I just found out that I am afflicted, in the truest sense of that word, with a particular type of anxiety called "hodophobia," [HOE-doe-phobia] which is the "fear of traveling." And Jorge is now so accepting of my condition that he is "lovingly" calling me "Ho-do" for short.
Anyway, do I need to remind you of what I'm doing June 19? Hint: It involves leaving my bedroom.
Hodophobia is different from Pteromerhanophobia, which is not "fear of pterodactyls" but is instead the fear of flying. The diffference is, we hodophobes do not like traveling in any sense.
I'm not in love with flying, mainly because of motion sickness, but that can be fixed with medication, and I promise you, it will be. It will be. (If my seat mate only knew, he would be thanking God right now, because when I flew to Phoenix, I threw up.) But a general fear of traveling, I'm not so sure about that.
I have not been posting in detail about my stress level over this conference because I could just see you going, "O-kaaaaay ...." and X-ing me out forever due to my irrational nuttiness. For instance, in airports, my ears start buzzing and my vision blurs so that I have trouble reading anything, including pertinent information, which is sort of crucial to traveling. I feel paralyzed and dependent on everyone around me to lead me. And I'm making this trip alone.
After returning from Gatlinburg yesterday, I dreamed of the conference all night long. All. Night. Long.
I dreamed I was hanging out the back of a plane, which was not comfortable. (There wasn't room for me.) I dreamed I made the pilot angry. I dreamed I had lied about attending a conference and was sneakily trying to attend two conferences at once (sort of like the Brady Bunch episode where Peter tried to keep a date with two girls.) I dreamed I missed a flight. In short, I dreamed every bad thing you could dream about traveling, because, have I mentioned?, I'm a hodophobe.
Early this morning, Jorge talked me down off the ledge and away from cancelling everything. Here's the deal: Once I get to Charlotte (Thurs. eve.) I have no way to get to the hotel. There is no shuttle that night like there will be for the conference proper. I thought I was going to have to take a taxi. I do not know how to do this. I could not imagine calling, hailing, paying, tipping ... Apparently, I also have taxiphobia, which is not a real name but should be for fear of taxis.
So I started doing research on hodophobia, and I came across a set of 5 minute news videos where two doctors spoke to a news anchor about anxiety. One of the doctor's names, and I am not making this up, is Willy Wiener, which, if you find this unbelievable and want to verify, go here. I did not find Willy Wiener to be that helpful, but I'm sure he is a wonderful man.
However, there is a site called Living with Anxiety that I found somewhat helpful. Here is a prayer I lifted from that site, which I hope is OK since I pointed you there:
Prayer for a Special Need Like Not Wanting to Take a Taxi (OK, I added that last part).
Lord Jesus, You have said, "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart." With confidence in Your loving heart which offers rest to weary souls, I come to You in this my time of special need. In Your unfailing love, read the prayer that is written on my heart, and grant the grace that I ask of You, in accordance with Your holy will. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Simple, but effective for me. When I am in an airport, I may not be able to even utter a prayer, but he can read the prayer that is written on my heart.
Later, I sat through the sermon, which was about living your life as an example to others, among other subtopics. Looking at me in my paralyzation, would anyone want to trust in the God I worship? I felt so ashamed that ultimately my fear revealed a lack of faith. If I believe (to cite one of many examples of God's power) that God parted the Red Sea, do I not believe he can get me from the Charlotte airport to Embassy Suites? Am I afraid He can't read a map? Speak southern? Find me if I get lost? Help me count money for a tip? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???
God has worked out so many details for me to be able to do this conference--you wouldn't believe. I think I am supposed to go; I really do, but I think I'm under spiritual attack, too.
So I headed off to the grocery store. I turned on the radio only to hear Lysa TerKeurst speaking. I had to laugh. ["Ack! I can't get away from 'She Speaks!'"]
All through my grocery trip, I thought of the ordeal, turning it upside down and inside out, over and over. I started feeling so depressed and my self-esteem was plummeting.
When I got home, my husband stopped mowing the lawn to tell me that while I was gone, he arranged for a limo to pick me up at baggage and take me to the hotel. The driver will have a sign with my name on it, so there's no missing me. (I'll be the lady with kaleidescope eyes clutching her suitcase for dear life.) This company specializes in freaked out travelers. The fee and tip are paid in advance. If I cannot use the voucher offered by Proverbs 31 to get back to the airport, he will arrange a ride back. My husband loves me. My God loves me. I don't deserve the love or faithfulness of either, but there you have it.
In fact, I cannot explain people's general goodness toward me, except that God loves me through them. I am so humbled.
So now I've processed, to some degree, what has been eating at me for weeks and weeks and growing almost by the hour--I'm not kidding.
So do not X me out; God isn't through with me yet, as they say.
I can do this trip because with God (and the limo guy) all things are possible!
That's all the news from the land of Hodophobia.