When We Zoom In On Fear

Posted on: September 9, 2016 Posted by: Rich Comments: 0

When We Zoom In On Fear

I snapped this photo near the end of my ride yesterday.


I climb this small hill a couple of miles from home whenever I ride the bike trails. For an old guy who cranks with his arms it’s still a bit of a challenge, especially at the end of a long ride.

When I first started handcycling (17 years ago!) I didn’t ride the amazing trail system for a long time. Why? As silly as it sounds, I was afraid of this hill. For months I rode to the top and turned around, convinced that if I ventured down–and managed somehow not to crash–I’d never make it back up.


Here’s the elevation profile of yesterday’s ride. The green arrow highlights the hill in the photo. You can see that it’s steep, but in the context of the entire ride it’s a tiny blip. How sad would it be to miss the fun and beauty of a 30-mile ride out of fear of a relatively short struggle?

9-8-16-ride-2Here’s another shot of the same hill…isolated, zoomed in, blown up, out of context. Looks a lot scarier, doesn’t it? But that’s often what we do with our fear.

We don’t have to face fear without context.

I know I can climb that hill because I’m climbed other hills. That’s the power of hope, moving forward confidently based on faith. Faith looks back, sees promises kept and goals achieved. Hope lets you project forward based on a sure foundation.

We don’t have to face fear alone.

I learned to climb hills because I was surrounded by friends who encouraged me and refused to let me quit.

Dustin and Rustin overcame injury and loss together by discovering their shared passion. Now they’re creating an entire community around them by stepping out of their comfort zones and writing a great story.

Mark McIntosh uses A Stronger Cord to bring men battling addiction together in a story of love and community service.

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It’s tempting to zoom in on that thing we fear–the hill, the loss, the illness, the different idea, the skin color–until it becomes an out-of-control boogieman. As we amplify the object, we amplify the perceived need for an immediate reaction. We have to panic. If we don’t do something, right now, the monster’s gonna get us!

In panic mode we do “whatever it takes,” even if that means tossing aside our principles.

Long-term thinking reminds us the monster’s almost never real.

I enjoy telling folks our FREEDOM TOUR team climbed 14,000 feet. Non-cyclists, and folks who think short-term, get freaked out by those kinds of numbers. “Wow, I could never  do that!”

But those 14,000 feet are spread over 500 miles. Still impressive, but not quite like cycling up the side of a 14,000-foot mountain. Long-term thinking, putting the number in context, tames the monster.

What fears have YOU zoomed in on? Where might you benefit from taking God’s view—the long view?