Spiders, Giraffes, and Airplanes…Oh My!

Before I get into this article I want to show you something. It’s four VERY important pieces of artwork that I have hanging in my house. They were given to me by one of my three precious little 7-year-old nieces!

collage_20141127072503191This girl LOVES to draw me pictures of giraffes! Notice that she even gives some of the giraffes chullets? – Editor’s Note: Chullet = Chin Mullet. It’s the nickname of the long goatee that adorns Eric’s face!

Why does she love drawing me giraffes? Because she knows that I actually HATE giraffes! Actually, she knows that I am scared of them. She has determined that she, alone, can cause me to love giraffes like she does.

So at this point you’re probably asking yourself, “Why are you scared of giraffes?”

It all started when I was a little kid. We didn’t grow up with animals around the house. Some people are dog people. Some are cat people. My Dad was neither, so we didn’t have any animals, whatsoever.

I got invited to go to the Cincinnati Zoo with my cousin and his church. I was probably about 7 or 8 years old at the time. I had never been to a zoo before and, honestly, was very excited about going!

73 Volkswagen BeetleWe walked through the gates and the very first thing I saw was this very large head. When I say large head, I’m talking it was the size of a Volkswagen! This thing was HUGE!

The animal, itself, was down in a pit. At the top of the pit was a concrete retaining wall. Then on our side of the retaining wall was a line of shrubs. This gigantic monster that was down in this pit was able to reach up over the retaining wall and eat from the shrubs. It totally freaked me out! Not only was I not used to animals, but I was not used to seeing HUGE animals! I was absolutely terrified!

Needless to say that was my first and only encounter with a giraffe!

The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The spirit of fear is a very real spirit, and it has only one job: Fear prophesies to you what’s going to happen. It likes to tell you what’s around the next corner. And the thing is it doesn’t even know! It doesn’t even care if its prophecies come true. It’s a false prophet in the truest sense. All it wants is for you to attach your faith to its word instead of the Word of God. It lusts after your faith. If it can get you to put your faith into its words then it can control you.

One day I was sitting around thinking about this. “Why would the spirit of fear want to control me? Why is it trying to make me scared of certain things? It has a purpose! It has a mission! These fears of mine aren’t random! If the spirit of fear is my enemy, then these fears that it tries to put on me are calculated! The spirit of fear has been sent to stop me from doing what God’s called me to do!”

So, I started listing my top three fears:

  1. Spiders
  2. Airplanes
  3. Giraffes

I got to thinking about these three fears.

  • Why do I have them?
  • What is it that they all have in common?
  • What is it that the devil is trying to stop me from doing?

Then it hit me: Africa! What if God’s calling me to Africa?

Roasted SpiderSeriously! Think about it: Giraffes are native to Africa. Africa is home to some of the largest and most deadly spiders in the world! (There’s some tribes that actually even eat them there!) And, of course, you have to fly on a plane to get there!

I determined that day that no matter what, I wasn’t going to let the spirit of fear keep me from doing anything that the Lord wanted me to do! So immediately I started working to get over my fear of spiders.

It wasn’t easy! It took me a couple of years. But now I’m to the point where I can actually smash small spiders with my thumb if I have to! I still get the heebee jeebees, or however you spell it. But I can do it!

Back in 2010, I got over my fear of flying. I flew solo from Columbus, Ohio out to Portland, Oregon to stay for a week with my best friend from high school. What an amazing trip! I’m so glad that I went! Not only did I see some of the most breathtaking beauty that I have ever seen in my life, but I conquered fear on that trip. I am no longer scared of flying. Now, I just hate it!

Checked-OffAs far as my “fear of giraffes” go, honestly, I think if you took me to a zoo today that I would be okay. It isn’t that bad! Actually, one of the things I really want to do in 2015 is let my little niece take me to the zoo so she can help me face my “fear” of giraffes. It would give her a major sense of accomplishment, and it would allow me to officially cross out the word “giraffe” on my list of fears.

So, let me ask you some questions…

What are some of your fears? Is there a pattern there? Are they keeping you from doing something great for God? If so, what could it be?

For me, it was Africa. Honestly, it wasn’t just Africa, but overseas missions in general. For you it may be something else. What could it be?

Please, take a moment and leave a comment below! Let’s be brave—bring these things out of the darkness and into the light!

Eric Johnson
Comments 1
  1. 1.Snakes!! ( i cant even look at a pic with out getting panic feeling)
    2. Bigfoot( stems from 4th grade when i had to do a book report…and that is the book i chose…ever since then…it totally freaks me out to be in a wooded area at dark. Honestly it doesnt have to be dark..lol i like the look of nature…but i feel i dont need to be all up in it ..
    3. Losing a close family member to death. ( this in of course is a serious on…seen so my loved ones very close to me die from cancer…and seen my own husband battle with it..and almost die in front of me. I constantly am texting my son when it gets dark..”where you at? Who…what…why..” he is almost 20…i just am constantly making sure he is ok. I am overly protective of my mom. I want to help her out as much as i can. Both her parents are gone…i couldnt imagine loosing her! But having gma & gpa passing away made the reality more evident that my mom is considered the “older generation” and i am next to be in my moms position one day…as she was with her parents…sometimes i have dreams of family passing away…and it terrifies me…) <— hope that makes sense.
    I have other fears…but those are my top 3. 🙂

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