Fear of Flying

I don’t even remember the first time I got on an airplane. I just know that it was before I was deductive enough to ponder (and be terrified of) the concept: a very large and heavy metal object takes off into the sky and then an hour or so later lands hundreds of miles away. Because you have to admit, it is a very strange concept.

But since I had flown successfully for as long as I could remember, I never was afraid of flying.

Until 9/11. Something about the images of the planes crashing into buildings made me afraid – afraid of the concept, afraid of putting my life in someone else’s hands, and afraid of what could happen if things went wrong.

But life goes on. Obligations forced me to suck it up, face my fears, and fly. But there was always this nervousness.

And so each time I boarded a plan, I began to have a conversation with myself.

I can do this. I can get on this plane. And if something goes wrong and we crash. I can trust in this:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Check. Check. I have a “life insurance” policy.

And eventually the fear subsided. As I flew more I forgot to be afraid. Until last week when the news became filled with more talk of terrorists taking over planes. Fear crept in. And so I started talking to myself again. But this time the conversation was different.

I can do this. I know that God has a plan for me. I trust in his plan. And whatever happens, the destination is home.

I might still be afraid of flying…but at least I am making progress in trusting in God’s plan.

What gets you past your fears?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

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  • God or Stephen in Acts 7
    It is very interesting to see that at the end of his speech he was breathing fire to all and was condemning them and then at the end of his life asked for their forgiveness of what they were doing (killing him). I have a lot of fear towards where God is leading me, and then I read about Stephen and his passion and courage to not only say what God has given him to say but also love like God has called him to love.

    Fear grips me in so many ways that I often just stay put. I am trying to lean into what God is calling me to do and not what others are calling me to be afraid of.
    My recent post January is National Mentor Month

  • God or Stephen in Acts 7
    It is very interesting to see that at the end of his speech he was breathing fire to all and was condemning them and then at the end of his life asked for their forgiveness of what they were doing (killing him). I have a lot of fear towards where God is leading me, and then I read about Stephen and his passion and courage to not only say what God has given him to say but also love like God has called him to love.

    Fear grips me in so many ways that I often just stay put. I am trying to lean into what God is calling me to do and not what others are calling me to be afraid of.
    My recent post January is National Mentor Month

  • Gina M.

    I am afraid to fly…have always a been. When I worked I had to fly a lot for business and have also been overseas. It has never become easier to fly but a physician friend prescribed Xanax for me to fly and I was cured. That stuff is amazing and I am by no means fond of drugs. I never take Motrin or even antibiotics.
    Then my cousin died on 9/11 ( she was on the first plane that hit the WTC seated in first class next to the terrorists…no I am not kidding she worked for an airlines and was headed to LA for a business meeting and always flew first class). I cannot tell you how that whole thing has impacted me because there are so many layers of fear and sadness tied into that one day. I have not flown since ( I probably will eventually after a half a bottle of Xanax) but I can tell you I have, in the last several years have actively sought after the Lord and prayed and got to know Him better (hello run on sentence). I am a real believer in Christ and try to honor Him all day every day and for sure He helps me put one foot in front of the other and face my fears. It's the only thing that I know I can count on for sure.

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  • Rachel Hauck

    My first job out of college required travel — 75% of my time. I couldn't wait to "see the world." Then I got hit with out-of-the-blue panic. I felt claustrophobic on the plane and when they shut the door… I wanted to run.

    But I knew it was fear and refused to give into it. I had Jesus, who's perfect love cast out all fear. 1 John 4:18. It was a battle. But I overcame. The peace of Jesus continually guards my heart and mind.

    I overcame by the testimony of Jesus! His Word works. 🙂

    Rachel

  • I used to fly small planes. You know, those 2/4/6 seaters that always seem to make headlines when they land inside somebody's house? I actually had no fear of flying those planes, but then again, I was in control and flying the plane.

    I do have a fear of flying, but it comes on large planes where I'm not in control. I think that's the root cause of my fear or flying, and probably a lot of my other fears too. I like to be in control, and relinquishing that makes me very nervous. It's not exactly Godly, but the truth.

    So to talk myself through it, I have to remind myself that the chances of the plane crashing or being part of a terrorist act are much, much higher than getting struck by lightning. Also, I remind myself that God is in control of my life, and if it's time for me to check out, it doesn't matter what I'm doing, I won't have a choice 🙂

    PS: Flying small planes is a blast, and showing someone how I can make stuff float off the dash is really cool.

  • My wife is terrified of flying. I don't know why, as she is much more traveled than I am – even flying to Taiwan. Yeah, it bothers me a little, but I'm not white-knuckling the seat the whole time.

    I'd disagree with the last commentor though. Small planes are much scarier than commercial planes.

  • LOVE this! Love that you said, "no matter what happens, the destination is home." Makes a huge difference, doesn't it. I was thinking similarly in the Canyon!
    My recent post Rabbit Trails: Reflections on 2009 – Part 2

  • My coping strategy for flying is a lot less spiritual and a lot more probability-based.

    First, if it's a long flight, I take a Benadryl to help me sleep.

    Second, I close my eyes and imagine those flight path maps they show on the weather channel every now and then, and think to myself – with all those planes in the air every single day, what are my chances.?

    Third, I repeat this to myself several times: "I have a higher chance of being killed by a donkey than dying in a plane crash."

    Fourth, I repeat this to myself several times: "Statistically, it's more dangerous to drive."

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  • As lame as this sounds…the stubborness I inherited from my father and grandfather gets me past it most times. 🙂
    My recent post 2010: A New Year's Revolution

  • Christy

    I don't comment often but I always read your posts. I just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoy your blog and your insights. You are often challenging and make me think. And you are fun too 🙂 (plus your post on Singleness is starred in my reader and will be for a long time! It spoke to me where I was at and I am glad I am not the only one who feels that way!!)

    Happy New Year. I hope 2010 is your most wonderful year yet!
    My recent post 2010 :: The Year of Hope

  • (This reminds me of the first 15 minutes of the movie French Kiss. You seen it? Meg Ryan? It's a riot.)

    Fear. Yep, I know that one. After a tragic crash a few years ago here locally, and after a scary experience just three weeks later on the same airline when someone behind me had a seizure during taxi to takeoff and everyone started screaming … I have a little bit of anxiety until we're in the air and on a straight, confident-feeling trajectory. Here's what I do: Deep breaths, a prayer, then either will myself to sleep before we're on the runway, or distract myself with the flight magazine crossword puzzle.

    General fear? I'm still working on that. Trying to deliberately choose love over fear this year when given the choice, and remember the promises of jeremiah 29:11.

    • Let me clarify, lest anyone think I survived a crash (not the case). I was flying out on the same airline at the same time of morning 3 weeks later when the medical incident I described happened.

  • lindzshaw

    Can I just thank you for sharing this??? I am terrified to fly, yet I really want to in March. And by terrified, I mean that I have weighed the pros and cons of driving 24 hours from NC to AZ… Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing; I love reading your blog and your insights!!