How does one overcome fear? Conquer the deepseated fear of danger? The reality is this, some fear is natural. Fear of fire, fear of wild animals, natural disasters, natural danger. But fear of the unknown, fear of loving, fear of openness, fear of being alone is not natural. It is learned. It is deep seated in our insecurities. At least this is true for me. Fear can be crippling. Back in 2013 when Natalia (aged 10) and I traveled around the US camping alone, I had overcome fear halfway through the journey. I had realized Fear and faith do not go hand in hand. But now? After 5 years of living a relatively sedentary life, I have had fear take up residence again. I hadn’t challenged nor stayed alert to the fear factor. So now, in preparing for the camping trip this past May, I had to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I had to say hello to the enemy of adventure and seeking. Hello Fear. I see you’ve taken up residence with me. Stifled me, crippled me and lied to me about possibilities. Acknowledging its presence gave me room to breathe. So I packed. I overpacked, overplanned, overstrategized. I hugged my dog tight each night because I couldn’t take her and she had traveled with us last time. I plotted ways of getting around the National Park restrictions. Charlie had been our warning system, our snake alarm, our bear alarm. And now, there would only be me and silence. No alarm, no bear bait, no defender of the path. I was feeling anxiety every night as I tried to assure myself, God’s got this.
One thing we had learned in the past, was this; that we ALWAYS think we are doing the protecting. With our deadbolts, ADT alarm systems, our big barking attack dogs, our fences, gates, and locks. But at the end of the day, we ultimately realized it is God who allows, who protects, who guards us. Yes, bad things do happen. I accept that. I do my due diligence and then I let go of the outcome. Because I am not in control. So what does due diligence look like when solo camping as a female and hiking miles at a time, sometimes as the only “known” person on the trail? I purchased legit Bear Spray (one that sprayed a very wide swath and could take down a grizzly or man). I also purchased a Taser. I walked with it at night with the flash light on in my hand. I was as ready as I could be and still aware that I could lose in the end. But in fact we all could. Driving our very safe Volvos, Suburus, highly rated safe cars, with our seatbelts on etc. We simply cannot control the other cars, we can’t control the tire blowouts, the idiot who’s texting and driving. Things happen. But still every single day, we get in our cars and go about our business. I want to live my life that way as well. I don’t want to be limited in my access to the world because of perceived and even actual dangers out there. I will “walk the walls of Jericho” and God will deliver the outcome. It’s that simple for me. I will continue to venture out in the world and accept the exciting possibilities as well as acknowledge fear as it comes knocking on my door. Each and every time. Feel the fear people and do it anyway!