I'm Not Good At Dying
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Romans 6:8
"Well, here I go again," I thought to myself as I boarded a tiny eight passenger plane heading home. "I can do this. I'm going to be fine."
I developed a fear of flying a couple of years ago when a plane I was on had to turn around and head back to our departing airport for an emergency landing. The crew prepped the exit row passengers and ensured they knew what to do.
It's a bit unnerving when you hear the flight attendants talking about "a fire in the engine," "inflatable slides," and "fire trucks on scene."
I remember feeling my whole body coil with anxiety as I squeezed the hand of my supervisor who sat beside me. I prayed for protection and favor.
When our tires hit the safety of the hot asphalt, I yelled, "Hallelujah!"
We did not burst into flames. We were safe. I felt God with me. I praised Him.
From that point on, every time I have flown the friendly skies, I feel the same panic from years ago as the plane races down the runway, heading toward the cotton like clouds.
I pray. I read my Bible. I listen to worship music. I pray some more. I ask God to fill me with His presence. I set my watch for the exact time the flight should take and watch the minutes and hours disappear in great relief.
I had a friend once say, "Jennifer, maybe the Lord has a lot of traveling in mind for you, and the enemy knows it. He is trying to make you afraid to to travel so he can steal your destiny."
I remind myself of her encouraging words every time I am on a plane.
On my latest flight, we had a lot of turbulence. The plane shook and bounced--and my nerves followed suit.
I could have sworn my stomach was in my throat at one point. I cranked my worship music up as loud as it would go. I pressed my face against my tiny window to get a better look of what was going on outside. If we were going down, I wanted to know for sure and not sit behind a closed window wondering.
"God, please help me feel your peace. I know you are good. No matter what happens to me, you are good."
I could feel my heart thumping in my chest as blood rushed through my veins in organized chaos. My chest tightened as I struggled to draw in the thick, hot cabin air.
I tried to distract myself by thinking about planes and how they relate so much to our lives. When we first start something new, it can be rough and rocky, like a plane taking off. Then, we sail through the air awhile, hitting a few bumps on the way, before landing, deboarding, gathering our luggage from that particular flight and walking to our next plane.
Gosh, I am tired of carrying the baggage of fear of a crashing plane. My husband says, "Even if your plane crashed, it doesn't mean you will die. If God wants you to live, you'll walk away unharmed. He's that powerful."
I know he's right. I find comfort in his genuine reminder.
So where in the world am I going with all of this?
I had a thought today...If I happened to be better at dying to self, maybe I wouldn't be so fearful of actual death.
It's not so much about being afraid of dying, but it's about leaving my kids behind without a Momma and leaving my husband behind without his wife.
But I know God is good. Always. I know I am to thank him for everything, even the stuff that hurts and breaks and crushes. He is worthy to be praised. His ways are higher than mine. He holds the master plan in his hands. He can see into the future, I cannot. He has gone before me and mapped it all out.
The Bible tells us to die to self every day. If I were better at that, just maybe I wouldn't be shaken by a scary plane ride.
I've been meditating on John 3:30. "He must increase, but I must decrease." I have to get myself out of the way. Every day I pray for God to move me out of the way. I ask Him to help me make everything more about Him and less about me.
If it were more about Him, I wouldn't be so scared.
I must trust Him in all things. I must thank Him for all things--even all of those scary plane rides, because through those rides, we talk a lot. A whole lot. And in the words of Dr. RT Kendall, God enjoys my company and He wants to talk to me.
He wants to talk to you, too. He wants to wrap you up tightly in His arms, whatever your situation, and tell you "I've got this, and I've got you. Though you may not understand, I have a plan. And it's a good plan. Will you trust me? Will you fly with me?"
Father, thank you for always being available to talk to me. Thank you for holding me in your arms when I feel afraid. Thank you for reminding me of your word and sending people along my path to encourage me, pray with me and for me. Help me to decrease every day so that you may increase. Help me to be a light for you everywhere I go. Help me to get better at dying to self. Break any chains of fear and bondage from my life, because I know, in you, I am FREE! In Jesus' name. Amen.