People who knew me in my partying days have asked me why I am so “religious”  now (for the record, I’m not into religion. I’m into Jesus). Why did I trade smoking, drinking and Smashing Pumpkin concerts for a Bible, Jesus fish and seminary?  The main reason is my inner Charlie Brown.

In “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Lucy tries to help Charlie identify his fears. She tells him fear of the ocean is called thalassophobia and fear of crossing bridges is gephyrobia. A fear of cats is called ailurophobia and a fear of staircases is climacophobia. She finally concludes Charlie suffers from pantophobia, the fear of everything.

I am afraid of the ocean, bridges and (mean) cats. I fear earthquakes, tsunamis, movie theater shooters, dogs, heights, being underground, birds and driving in the snow. I don’t like flying, being in boats, hotels or being away from home in general. And although God, by His grace, has freed me from many phobias I still tend to gravitate first to fear.

So when my brother asked if I wanted to join him, my older brother and my mom on a trip to Japan to see where our mom grew up, met my dad and got married, my inner Charlie Brown said absolutely not.  Fifteen hours on a plane to a city where I’ll be over or under the ground continuously because it is so crowded? Go to an island that just had a tsunami, where I don’t speak the language and have to ride on a bullet train? I wish I could remember when I went with my mom and brother when I was two so I’d feel better about declining going this time.

But there was one problem: I don’t have a bucket list. I have a bucket item. I have always wanted to go with my mom to her homeland. I knew I’d never go because of all my fears, but when this came up, I prayed and told God what He already knew. I wanted to go on this trip.  And not just go on the trip without being afraid, but to be over-the-moon excited about it. So that is what I prayed.

Why am I a Jesus girl?  Because when it comes to fears, struggles and disappointments…I need. I need peace and courage to go on the trip of a lifetime. I need hope when parenting is hard. I need joy when all I want to do is cry. I need to know that Jesus matters when I really need Him. I am a Jesus girl because Jesus works.
I leave next week and not only am I unafraid of terrorists, a spontaneous midflight hole in the roof of the plane and other things I’ve read about lately, just as I asked for, I am thoroughly and completely excited. If you are not a professional pantophobic, you don’t get this, but maybe you get it in another area of life.  Maybe nothing has helped with your anger, jealousy, unhappiness or inability to be content. God doesn’t always work just like I ask Him when I ask Him to, but He consistently (usually gradually), frees me from the things that rob me of living life to the fullest. And I am old enough to know life is incredibly too short to live any other way.

#myfirstpassport #phil467 #thankuJesususetmefree