Picture this…You’re sitting on the balcony of your ocean side villa and you decide it would be a perfect evening to go for a dip in the ocean. The ocean is beautiful, calm with gentle waves lapping quietly on the sandy beach. Both the air and water temperature is perfect. You head out to the ocean, favorite flotation device in hand, ready to relax and enjoy this beautiful evening in the ocean. You are about 100 yards from shore, when you notice 20 yards from you, the imposing dorsal fin of an 18 foot, great white shark; and it’s heading your direction. And you feel a fear that paralyzes you so deeply; one that maybe you’ve never felt in your life. This describes our fourth obstacle in the River of Resistance Series, the SHARK. All the obstacles in our River of Resistance are worthy opponents, but the shark, representing fear, has to be one of the most challenging.
Think of an engine in a car or truck. The cylinders move up and down efficiently because they are bathed in lubricants that allow them to move many times without heating up. If for some reason the oil gets low, friction starts to build up in the cylinder, and this friction can completely stop all the positive energy that comes from the engine. This is exactly what fear does to us. When we feel fear, for whatever reason, we feel some friction. As the fear intensifies, the friction builds up, until it completely freezes us. Fear can be completely disabling, and we all have experienced this more than once in our lifetimes.
Right now, you are probably saying that you understand what I am saying. You have felt the friction of fear many times. You can also remember times when fear and it’s accompanying friction, froze you up and kept you from accomplishing what it was that you wanted to accomplish.
So, what is the answer? How can we stop this from happening? The answer is to build what I like to call your “courage muscles”. When you use a muscle it gets stronger. When you don’t use a muscle, it gets weaker. Every time you feel the friction of fear, you have a choice. To go into the fear… attack it… and build your courage muscles. Or, you can back away, disengage and consequently, weaken or even “atrophy” your courage muscles. It’s vitally important to remember that courage is NOT the lack of fear. Courage is taking action in light of what you fear. When you feel the friction of fear, it is in no way saying that you don’t have courage. It’s what you do when you feel the friction of fear that determines if you have courage. If you have courage, your chances of crossing the River of Resistance to your “Unlived Life” are greatly enhanced. Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid – but he who conquers fear.” I’ve felt fear myself more times that I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. Be bold my friends; find the willingness to be courageous.