Friday, March 14, 2014

Reducing Your Personal Fear Factor

Several of the boys recently took a field trip to the Kings Mountain battlefield near us in Charlotte. It was the site of an under-appreciated battle during the Revolutionary War.

It's a nice spot with a pleasant little hike up to the monument which crowns the mountain.

Boy #4 make the hike and decided he was lord of all he surveyed. His mom glanced away for just a second and he made a break for it.

No fear.

(I still think it's funny she took a moment to capture the picture as he careened towards disaster!)

Boy #2 was the same way as a toddler. At the beach, he would be out with the dolphins in under thirty seconds, terrifying all of the adults on shore.

I'm not that way. I tend to see the glass half-full, tend to be anxious, tend to imagine worst-case scenarios.

It's quite a character flaw.

But I'm not content to stay that way. I want to have no fear. 

And there's good reason to desire that.

Jesus said once that "There is no fear in love, because perfect love casts off fear".

When I am afraid, it is because I have a failure of imagination when it comes to seeing and receiving love. Imagine life free of fear - the adventures you'd have, the stories you'd be able to tell.

So, how do you reduce your personal fear factor? Three ideas...

Choose to see life as an adventure, not an ordeal.
That's simply a matter of resolve and conviction. Whatever comes your way will - more than likely - not kill you. Even if it does, there's adventure there. Some of the bravest, hardiest, most adventuresome people I have ever known have been those staring down terminal diagnoses.

Don't be afraid to leave things behind.
There are sacred things we must stick to, no matter the cost. 

There are very few of these. 

If it's a job, a house, a town, a church, a sick relationship - and it's sucking the life out of you - leave it behind. It doesn't need you. You don't need it.

A good and bracing question is "What can I leave behind?" 

A soul-killing question is "What do I have to hold on to?"

Know that you are loved.
Jesus spoke with precision. It's not bravery that casts out fear. Or guts. Or ignorance. There are some things to be fearful of.

But love - perfect love - eliminates fear.

If I can hold on tightly to the fact that I am loved - that nothing can ever eliminate, mitigate, relativize, or minimize that love - I have the resources I need to scamper across mountainous monuments and swim with dolphins.

You don't have to be afraid.

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