Meet Jill

We're afraid of so many things. Some we can control. Others we can't.

I'm well acquainted with fear. I'm the kid who refused to step too far into the backyard after dark. The one who slept with a nightlight when she was twenty. The woman who still would rather face a rabid bobcat than walk up to a stranger and begin a conversation. Fear has been a really close friend of mine. For too long.

One thing I've learned about fear. Whatever you're afraid of, it's never as bad in real life as it is in imagination. "Yeah," you're saying, "That's very Pollyanna of you. You have no idea what life has handed me." No, I don't. But I know what it's handed me, and I wouldn't wish it on Snooki, let alone someone I liked.

Yet there is God, telling me to live "adventurously expectant." To look at each day and ask, "What's next?" And that enthusiasm isn't supposed to lessen when today's "next" wasn't so great, or when we're terribly afraid tomorrow's will be worse. "Fear not" may be the most common command in the Bible. But fear is also probably the most common human emotion. What's happening here?

I don't want to live life as a grave-tender, so wrapped in fear of what the end might be I lose the time in between. I want to live an adventure for God's kingdom. And I want to do it with you. I want to know who I am, and I want you to know who you are, because of who He is.

So recently, I decided to conquer one of my biggest fears. You can see the picture. Some of you are saying, "This woman has totally lost it, and she wants me to listen to her? She's holding a tarantula, for heaven's sake! What more evidence do I need that she belongs in a psych ward singing about Little Miss Muffet?"

Stay with me. I am terrified of spiders. If you don't believe me, you've never seen me run out of the shower shrieking because there was an eight-legged creature on the wall. Which is a good thing. No one should see me run out of the shower. Ever.

I would hyperventilate if I saw a picture of a spider. But I decided, no more. Time to face it. It can't be as bad in reality as in imagination. Not sure I really believed that, but whatever. The very helpful pet store guy guided me through the traumatic experience. And you know what? It was OK. Did you know tarantulas are soft? And that they really just sit there in your palm? And that though my heart raced like a Lamborghini, God gave me such a calm the whole time I was perfectly all right?

I'm not saying I'm going to go out and get a bird-eating tarantula for a housemate any time soon. But-fear only has the power we give it. And I was tired of giving it. I want to offer others the power that comes from knowing who we are. Join me?