"I'm Scaring Myself!"

In a recent episode of Wheel of Fortune, a curious comment was made about fear. On this occasion, the contestant in control of “the wheel” had landed on the “express train” wedge. This high energy moment doesn’t require any further spinning. Pat Sajak, the host, always begins with the question, “Do you want to do this?” and with an affirmative response, the action begins!

Credit: Dawin Rizzo, unspash.com

We all watched with anticipation as the excited contestant began to carefully choose one consonant after another in his methodical effort to complete the puzzle. It became obvious that the man had purposefully slowed his rate of selection to avoid any mistakes, but his deliberate and painful pace had everyone else on an emotional edge!

Finally, after what seemed to be several tortuous moments punctuated with thoughtful pauses, the prize puzzle was solved. The board was complete with the words “sea urchins and exotic fish.” This lucky man had won a trip to a Caribbean destination! A lady contestant, standing next to him, could be heard spontaneously exclaiming, “You scared me!” And the thrilled prize winner responded with an honest and insightful admission, “I needed to be sure I was spot on! I was scaring myself!” Laughter could be heard throughout the studio audience!

There have been times in my life when I’ve made a similar admission that “I’m scaring myself!”   When I was in first grade, I remember one day having a frightening experience when a clown came into my class. I was so distraught that I panicked and hid under my teacher’s desk! Today, I am still a little uneasy around clowns who participate in parades and circus events!

During my college years, I stayed in a boarding house with an older woman who collected porcelain dolls. Every day, I had to confront another one of my other phobias in my coming and going down the hallway past Mrs. Williams' bedroom. I was sure that the eyes of those “creepy dolls” in fancy dresses and sitting atop the bed comforter had their eyes fixed on me and following my every movement! I blame this fear on too many Alfred Hitchcock movies growing up! 😧

We all have our fears! It may be that we are afraid that we will receive bad news from our health care providers. It could be a fear of weather events during the stormy spring season. We are fearful for our grown children and the challenges they face with parenting, work, and managing their home life. We are concerned for our friends and the issues that frighten them. The economy, divisiveness, and direction of our country frightens us.

Our prayer list reveals worries and concerns about the “what if’s” as we see a flagging spirituality everywhere, a need for revival, and take note of the number of loved ones who are lost and in need of salvation. We cannot seem to help our tendency to react in fear although we know we need to respond with faith. Even a little faith would impact our perspective!

Jesus confronted the disciples one day with these words, “You don’t have enough faith,” and then told them, “ I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20, NLT).

I often wonder how much a little faith would impact our perspective. Gideon saw his army reduced from thousands to a mere three-hundred men that God said would be enough to conquer the enemy. So little, but a great force for God! Jesus fed over 5000, on one occasion, with five loaves and two fishes. So little, but so much in the hands of Jesus! Peter and the other disciples had fished all night without success, but Jesus said, “Cast your nets to the other side!” The catch was overwhelming! Little is much when God is in it!

I don’t want to limit what God may want to do because of my fears. Do you? The next time you confess, “I’m scaring myself,” learn to focus on God instead of the circumstances. Join the Psalmist in declaring, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1).

Let’s offer up praises to a great God, have faith in Him, and surrender our little worries and fears to Him. He just may have some great things He wants to do in our lives today!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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