A stage four cancer diagnosis has taught me to identify two types of fear. There is a good fear, that heightens awareness and energizes emotions. Then there is bad fear, that creates isolation and rips away my sense of purpose. These two fears live in symbiotic relationship within me. One type of fear must destroy the other in order to thrive. I am able to overcome my natural/negative fears, the kind that stop me from moving forward in life, by empowering good fears which come from taking risk, walking in hope, and most importantly, stepping out in faith.
Let’s take a moment to look at the experience of fear. Do you remember with great detail, a first date, the first day of school or a job interview? Why do you remember it so well? Fear. In those moments you are scared of rejection, scared of making mistakes, scared your breath smells bad, and just plain scared. Yet when all is said and done, fear makes the moment better. It gives awareness of every detail. It locks moments into memories with heightened accuracy. It increases our emotions. In essence, fear provides the capacity for our senses to be enlarged. In the right moment, fear can be a gift. This same kind of good fear exists in adventures of every kind. In fact, we pay a lot of money to experience fear. We go to a scary movie, ride a roller coaster, climb up the side of a mountain, and paddle down a river because good fear is exhilarating.
This experience of good fear, makes us feel alive. It drives out every other thought, focusing the mind, and bringing a sense of accomplishment. We love this type of fear and so we search for another ride, another river, another moment to hold onto, but these experiences are fleeting. We cannot truly achieve lasting joy or a heightened sense of life through back-to-back moments that expose us to this good fear. Eventually the ride won’t feel scary and the river will be tame.
There is a way to always experience the effects of good fear: acts of faith. Faith is the act of stepping beyond what you can see. Choosing to believe in something the natural world says is impossible. Placing hope in something beyond yourself, specifically placing our hope in God. Then hope drives us to