Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Return to Hodophobia with Willy Wiener

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.


skoots1mom said...

you are going to be down the street from me...yes, i could almost lean out my window and touch the building i bet your conference is going to be in...
i pray you travel unaffected ... no swine things, or bags things needed.
I sent you an email with some more info, if you get a chance to read it b4 you takeoff on the plane.
Know you are being wrapped in prayers, lifted up to wash away the anxiety "youknowwho" loves to throw on you with his pitchfork. Fear is his not our Lord' we're going to deflect it with scripture, prayer and verbal confirmation if you have to for 'him' to GET BEHIND YOU!..for he is not worthy of your have better things to think how great your conference is going to in God's country...where Coke flows in our very veins and when you ask for a soda you're gonna get a Coke first, so don't be expecting a P****...see I can't even type it.
love safe and HAVE FUN!!!

Joyce said...

I will most definitely pray as you travel. My husband says there isn't a form of transportation I haven't managed to be sick on..planes, trains, boats, automobiles, merry go rounds...let's just say I won't be signing up for the space shuttle anytime soon either. Dramamine however is my friend and I don't leave home without it. I cant get it in the UK so I stock up when I'm in the states. Besides the motion thing there is also the anxiety thing.

However I can honestly say that I have come miles (literally and figuratively) in letting go of my need to control everything (including keeping the plane in the air) and in handing over my fears and feelings of anxiety to the One who really is in control. I'm a different person than I was when I moved overseas. God has definitely worked in this area of my life in a huge and visible way, and moved me to England I think to make His point. I actually love to travel now. I pray fervently, take my dramamine and enjoy the adventure.

Have a wonderful trip...I will be thinking of you. Sorry for the long comment...this is a topic I am very famiiar with!

ByTheSea said...

This is my first time to your blog and I laughed so hard when I read your post..(I'm sorry) but I too am terrified to fly.. I just took a plane for the first time in 15 years. I cant wait to come back and read more of your posts. I know your trip will go smoothly.

Mocha with Linda said...

Hope you have a great trip. Wish you were coming to Texas.

lailani said...

Have a safe flight! So close- if I was not working, I would have to make the 3 hour trip and meet you for coffee!

Have fun!

Darla said...

i absolutely love to hear that other people have insecurities too, lol.. and i absolutely love that picture of you in the airplane! hehe.

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Praying that you and the whole staff group have a safe and productive trip.

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

Remember that it's ESPECIALLY through our weakness and utter dependence that the Glory of God can be seen. I am praying for God's perfect peace for you. You are especially blessed to have utterly romantic! Sigh.....

Jenny said...

Hope you have a good trip Linda. Praying that the flight there and back goes smoothly.

Sitesx6 said...

I share your phobia sister.

You can do it....I just get on planes and close my eyes and repeat one billion times:

He keeps me in perfect peace whose mind is set on Him!

Over and over and over....then I order me up a Diet Coke and enjoy the ride.

Safe travels
Kelly in Michigan

Tammy said...

Hope you have a wonderful trip. And this girl doesn't like to fly either!

Angela said...

I will pray for you my friend...I have some phobias of my own...but when I express them, I'm pretty sure I sound completely nutty. You're so funny, it works for ya. :-) I loved the prayer and the special insights.

MelanieNewYork said...

Have fun! I think I just discovered what's wrong with me.

Scarlett said...

I keep identifying with your posts over and over- fighting for the cherries in the fruit cocktail as a kid and this flying phobia- I hear ya. I like the part about the limo arrangement- score big points for the husband. Thank you for commenting on my premiere post. I inhaled sharply and audibly with excitement when I saw that you not only read what I wrote, but left my first comment- how thrilling! Is that weird? I hope you'll have time to give me those tips you mentioned- maybe when you get back...
Safe travels! (I pray a lot on airplanes)
Scarlett in Michigan

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

So THAT is what I am!!! a "Hodophobian"!!!

Yes, I am the very same way when it comes to "traveling"...I do not do bridges, boats, airplanes, buses (and some vans)..simply because of the anxiety it throwing up...never had that...

Give you a very small example. Went to the Quail Hollow Championship practice round this past Monday here in Charlotte...had to take a shuttle to the golf course...that shuttle was a bus!! Was okay at the very beginning but at a point leaving out of the parking area, there was an "incline" sort of like a bridge and then the driver had to cut sharply very abruptly, which of course, makes you feel you are going to flip over!!! I immediately began "leaning in" feeling the anxiety welling up in me!! And we had not even left the parking area yet!!!

So I "feel your pain" as the old saying goes....

We both will just have to pray that much harder, amen?! (Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world).

Hope the conference is great!


Joanna said...

I like you all the more for your nuttiness.

Hope you have a great time!

cgivans said...

I HATE FLYING TOOOOOOO!!! The last time I went flying I was pregnant and was certian I was going to go into labor at six months because I was freaking out sooo bad....and of course there had to be really bad turbulance...have fun at the conference though when your feet are on the ground!!!

marina said...

oh I love these cute picture of you ") may
God bless you and keep you safe in his arms,marina