During one stage of my counseling, I had to address my lifelong problem of extreme arachnophobia. My fear was so irrational at times that I would imagine that spiders were crawling all over my body, and I could even feel them, although they were not really there. Those episodes were very stressful and I honestly was not sure sometimes that I would survive those spider onslaughts. For weeks, my counselor and I dialogued about my fear of spiders and what—if anything—it might mean. I would leave my counseling sessions wondering what connection there could be between my arachnophobia and my incident of sexual abuse as a child, but my counselor was certain that I would not be able to move on toward recovery and healing until I dealt with that fear.
So I persevered until I could say (with reservation, of course), “I’m not afraid of spiders.” When I first said those words to my daughter, she was speechless. Unfortunately, I had passed on my arachnophobia to my children, and they were all well aware of my history of extreme reaction to spiders. But I was determined to say those words, “I am not afraid of spiders,” with gusto and to really believe that it was true.
Eventually, when my counselor asked me to gauge the truth value of that statement, I became very excited because I knew in my heart and mind and soul that I finally could say, “I am not afraid of spiders,” and truly, truly mean it. I was elated! I was actually eager to encounter my next spider so that I myself could stomp on it or sweep it up or otherwise deal with it without needing the help of others.
The real truth of my statement became apparent as my counseling session progressed. As I addressed memories of molestation, I imagined—as I had often before—that a spider was crawling across my face. Before, I would have jumped out of my chair, deathly afraid. But now I was able to sit calmly and say, “I feel a spider crawling on my face and I am not afraid.” I was amazed by the change. O God, how in the world had this happened? How did this life-long fear leave me?
God brought to my mind the lyrics of a B. J. Thomas song entitled “The Faith of a Little Child,” based on Luke 10:19 and Matthew 17:20. The song talks about the power that one has to tread upon the “serpents, scorpions,” or spiders that the enemy wants to throw our way to harm us. I must remember that God will never leave me or forsake me and that for me personally I could ask for that mountain of spiders to “be cast into the sea.” The tiny faith of a mustard seed is all it takes to accomplish this feat — “the faith of a little child.”
You see, it was not anything that I had done to rid myself of my fear, but it was God’s power helping me to overcome it.
The little girl inside of me had no idea that she could embody that kind of power. She did not know, as I now know, that God Himself was with us then and that He would never desert us. Every time the little girl saw a spider, she was reminded of the terrible thing that had happened to her so long ago. I still do not understand the wondrous workings of the human brain and what it can do to protect us. But I do know that today the little girl and I, with the help of God’s amazing power and the help of a godly counselor, can truthfully say, “We are not afraid of spiders.”
What a marvelous thought, that with just a little faith, a little faith that is handed to God, we are able to overcome our fears and hurts. We can throw our foul memories and feelings into the sea and loosen their hold on our lives. You, too, can have that freedom. You must believe that God never has and never will desert you. The King loves you so much and He wants you to walk alongside Him and live a life of freedom. You must read God’s Word, searching out His promises of love and care. Then you must have the faith of a little child to believe that He can and will do everything that He has promised.
Blessings – Lisa