What are phobias? Does being afraid of something like spiders mean you have arachnophobia? Well, let’s clear that up. In the dictionary phobia is defined as “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation. Also exaggerated fear of and intolerance or aversion of”.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely have an aversion to a few things. Spiders, snakes, being outside alone in the woods with Freddy Krueger…oh wait…isn’t that a movie? But seriously, are those phobias? Not really. We are all afraid of something and fear is designed to keep us safe. Don’t touch the spider or snake because they might bite you and if you don’t know which ones are safe better to avoid them. Don’t go out alone in the woods at dark because you could get lost.
If you have a phobia it’s characterized as an anxiety disorder. Instead of just feeling some fear over a black widow you might have an irrational fear that spiders are lurking everywhere you go waiting to bite you. It consumes your thoughts, time, and energy. You could actually get physically ill; have dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and panic attacks. Phobias move beyond a natural fear to keep you safe and prevents you from living a normal life.
You might be wondering what God has to say about phobias. In 2 Timothy 1:7 the Bible says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” And Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Does that mean if you are struggling with a phobia that you don’t trust God? Absolutely not. When we become God’s children God does give us all the power we need to follow Him in even the most difficult ways. But as we are people we will still struggle with things like anxiety. And that is exactly what a phobia is. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
If you suspect you have a phobia you should seek help from a trained professional; phobias need medical intervention to manage them. One thing you can do to battle your phobia is to repeat a verse like Philippians 4:6-7 over and over. More than that, don’t just repeat it to yourself, memorize it and others. Google verses about being anxious and memorize them. Hide His Word in your heart and it will burrow its way in your soul. When you are in the midst of a consuming moment of fear your heart will remember the beautiful truths you’ve hidden there, and they will come out to combat your anxiety. The main treatment for phobias includes cognitive behavioral therapy, where you are taught to manage your fearful feelings and modify your thoughts and attitudes, which your mental health professional can direct you through.
I know that phobias can take over your life and as such they often feel overwhelming. But there is hope. Hide God’s word in your heart, go through cognitive behavioral therapy with your therapist. If you are feeling like you don’t have the time to go to a therapist or don’t have months to wait to get an appointment, I encourage you to sign up here at CTOD. Download the app from itunes or the google play store and get matched with a licensed therapist today. Start taking control of your life today.