By Ariane Williams
My mom showed me how to pack light, but my luggage still felt heavy. Heart racing. Palms sweaty. Panic attacks. I was afraid to get into an airplane to fly. I have flown numerous times. I feel this way every single time. Images of fear started to play like a film in my mind. It gripped my spirit. Tears began to flow as I walked into the airport. I checked in my bag. I claimed my ticket. I proceeded to the security checkpoint. Aerophobia is what they call it. I call it the turbulence of life and fear.
Three years ago, I did not have the opportunity to complete my last residency for my doctoral degree. Life happened, and it paused me, and I accepted the pause. From the airport strangers to the professors to my classmates, I learned lessons in every moment. I was willing to press “stop” on a passion because I did not want to get into an airplane. I was willing to walk away from an open door because I was scared to walk in it. I was not afraid of flying is what my spiritual mother told me; I was afraid of success. Go back and hit play so that you can move forward.
We all walk around with some type of fear. What is your plane? What do you do when you cannot see the pilot that is flying your plane? You sit back. Tighten up your seatbelt. Plug your headphones into the Word and enjoy the flight with faith. The journey can sometimes become turbulent. Turbulence is absolutely normal. I had to remind myself that pilots are trained to “adjust flight instruments accordingly to prevent or lessen the effects of turbulence.” I realized that I felt safe on the ground because I could feel it. I could control a stumble or a fall. I felt unsafe in the air because I could not always feel it; I could not control it. God is more than trained; He is able to adjust the instruments in your life that are causing turbulence throughout your journey. He can show you how to pack light when your luggage feels heavy. You see, I did not have the opportunity to ask the pilot about his qualifications; I had to trust him with my journey. Just know that God is more than qualified, and your plane will land on solid ground, and you will walk off of it boldly. His blood on the cross qualifies Him as your pilot.
Arrival. I forgot to tell you that my plane landed just fine after a delay. On the last day of class, a classmate drove me to the airport. As she told me goodbye and hugged me, she said, “This is only the beginning of what God has for you.” My journey changed me. I observe the world differently because of that journey. I want to tell you that “only you can do this thing that God wants you to do.” I speak conquer over your fear. You are already good; your journey is only making you better. As I walked into my house, things may have looked the same, but I was different. As you continue to walk into your job, church, school, store, do not be deceived by the external physical layout. I pray that you observe it differently based on your internal layout and change. You are going to become a better mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, or son: a better person.
I challenge you this week to print out a picture of an airplane. Write your fear in the center of that airplane. At the front of the airplane, write the words “My Pilot is God.” Isaiah 40:31 states, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Write the scripture on the bottom of your picture. Another delay and it is time to go home? I might miss my connecting flight. I made the flight. Delays did not stop me. It made me trust my pilot even more.
Ariane Williams is a teacher, minister, published author and liturgical dancer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.