One unsuspecting afternoon, at around the age of 15, I was writing on top of our deep freezer, because I was tired of sitting, and a little red spider suspended down from our ceiling and bit me on the neck. Me, unknowing, slapped my hand to the source of my pain (thinking I killed a mosquito) and was very surprised and “creeped out” to find I had killed a spider with my bare hands. Now, in case you were unaware, there are certain “staple” items/appliances you’ll always find in the Black household, a deep freezer is one. We use our deep freezer as more than just food storage, we use it as: a desk, a table, a “ladder/stool” and sometimes we cover it with a throw and display it as an “unassuming” piece of furniture. Yes, we will rarely be placed in the same sentence as the term unimaginative. To continue, that experience will not reveal it’s lasting scars on my life until much later. While I was never fortunate enough to become a real life Spider woman (which was actually quite disappointing), I did develop a fear of spiders which was the gateway to my fear, of well….nearly everything.
As a child, I recall attending boring church services in which I vowed NEVER to subject myself to once I gained my independence. But, you know what the Word says, “train a child up in the ways they shall go and from those ways they will never depart”, so naturally like most college students learning to cope in the real world alone, I turned to God. The first 2yrs of my college career I wasn’t a very consistent church attendee; it wasn’t until my most difficult year that I linked up with a young believer and began attending church with her. She and I quickly became friends because of her positive spirit, but mostly because she was a friend that stayed on my ass and made sure I not only attended church but participated in fellowship activities with other believers. It was our friendship that helped me to stop running from God’s call on my life and begin to embrace it. In 2008, I went up to the alter in that same church that my aforementioned friend introduced me to and it seems like my fear of spiders escalated into terror.
I’ve found that having a terror is very different from having a fear. Terror basically means that when you encounter the object of your nightmares, it’s about five times larger than it appears and the longer you see it the larger it grows in size. Yes, terror means that you’ll plow over anyone who stands in the way of you and the OPPOSITE direction of what you’re trying to get away from. It means, you become the White girl who dies in the horror films because she stands there and screams her head off for 2min before trying to get away. Yes, that’s the definition of having a horror as it pertains to my life. During one of my late night talks with God, I decided to research what the Bible says about spiders. I figured, even though I personally feel they serve no point in this world but to scare the bejezuz out of me, God might actually feel otherwise.
What I discovered about spiders was more than I bargained for and quite frankly, mildly disappointing. Would you believe that spiders have real value in the Bible? I know, I was shocked too! There are several references in the Bible that describe spiders (more often their webs), but the most prevalent to me was one scripture that referred to having the faith of a spider. A spider spins it’s web in full confidence expecting, every time, that God will provide the location, the means, the pattern, and the substance to sustain it’s natural instincts. A spider is described as having blind faith in it’s Creator (God). The Bible also warns against leaning on the faith of a spider’s web, it’s fragile, easily broken and unstable for anything other than the spider. Of course, these revelations got me to questioning: am I scared of spiders or am I scared to practice blind faith?
If it wasn’t for fear of spiders, I probably would have never been guided to explore my own faith or discover that thing I’m scared of has the very thing I lack. God gives us signs and messages in so many forms, I’ve never been one to shy away from the “elephant in the room” and it’s served me well when it comes to confronting my fears. From childhood through my late 20’s, I cannot recall being scared of too much of anything. I wasn’t reckless, most decisions I made were very calculated but there wasn’t much I wouldn’t tackle. Now, I’m fearful of, not only spiders but: deer, heights, roller coasters, squirrels, rush hour traffic, and the list continues….which, coincidentally also scares me. Ok, maybe I’m not THAT bad but hopefully you get the point! To continue, uncovering one fear led to me working towards a stronger relationship with God and the discovery that our dreams don’t come under attack once we’ve formed them but rather before they have the chance to develop; if we explore our fears we could also uncover our purpose.