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Overcoming Fear

by Stephen Kimball  
6/14/2019 / Christian Living

Cozumel, Mexico. On the first day of our trip, after our first dive, the buzz on the boat was all about the shark that had been lurking in the water amongst us. Somehow I failed to see him but, believe me, from that moment on I was extremely alert to the possibility. After seeing JAWS, swimming with the sharks had dropped off my “to do” list. Still, my fear of coming face to face with one of these frightening creatures was less intense during the day because the clarity of the water in Cozumel is amazing and I could see all around me, way off in the distance. And if I can see it coming, I can swim away or, worse case scenario, beat if off with my snorkel. The prospect of the upcoming night dive, though, was a different story altogether. The mere thought of it threw my imagination into overdrive. I envisioned myself drifting through the blackness of the ocean, hopelessly lost, armed with nothing but a small head lamp, surrounded by very big and very hungry creatures that I could neither see or hear. I was psyching myself out in a big way. But I knew that if I couldn’t face my fear on this day, odds were I would never muster up enough courage and I would regret it forever. As frightening as it seemed, I knew I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

So when the time came, with much prayer, I forced myself to jump over the side of the boat into that deep, dark, endless ocean. Honestly, I did feel very vulnerable in the water but I am happy to relate that I came through the experience unscathed. In fact, I found the ocean to be very different at night, alive with activity that I would never see during a daytime dive - really very beautiful. The hour spent on that dive was an hour of my life that I will never forget. I am thankful that I did not let my fears get the best of me, preventing me from seeing first hand God’s unique and wonderful underwater creation at night.

Having a certain degree of fear is normal and even healthy. But there is a tremendous difference between having fear and fear having you. Fear can be a crippling emotion that binds people up and paralyzes them. And like a termite infestation in a wooden house, it can do a lot of long-term damage if the problem is not recognized and eliminated at an early stage. So, beware the warning signs and don’t allow fear and timidity to sink their ugly fangs into you. Remember, without risk there is no reward, so identify your fears then make a decision to confront them head on - action is the only thing that eliminates fear. What is it in your life that you fear the most? Whatever it is, don’t be so afraid of defeat that you avoid trying. Just jump in and do your best – there is no shame in that. Nobody is perfect all the time, so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. You get up and dust yourself off and try again. That is how we grow. So I challenge you to take on that very thing that frightens you the most and, with much courage, throw yourself over the side of the boat and conquer that fear – you won’t regret it.

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