I have a confession to make. Fear has been my friend many times but now I have decided that it needs to be saved for those heart-stopping moments of real life endangering action.
Let me clarify something – fear is good. That is, fear that is for a purpose. Fear that gives us an edge when we are performing. Fear that stops us from doing something really dangerous that could cost us our life. Fear that keeps us away from danger, that keeps us safe.
Fear becomes bad when it robs us of the opportunity for normal engagement with life. Normal being able to do all the things that someone who does not have fear or hang-ups can do.
Being a carer for a family of people with anxiety, and I mean five out of six of us, I see how fear can keep a person in a very low space every day. It is like a noose around their necks, tightening whenever they try to move forward.
This is no way to live life and I am so grateful that I made some pretty big choices early in my life to live a life where fear is harnessed, despite some really terrible things happening when I harnessed my fear and gave something a try despite the fear.
I share one of these stories in my book, Fat Girls Can Dance, where I overcame a particular fear and then was ambushed by a friend. That particular betrayal was a difficult one to get past and I felt deeply wounded by what happened that day. I won’t go into details, as I don’t want to spoil the book, but suffice to say that I had to overcome my own fear so I could be able to take back my life.
One reason why I have been able to conquer fear is that I have made my peace with God. I know that if I die I am good, so I don’t fear my end like a lot of people do.
I remember when we had been attacked by a neighbour and everyone was shut up in our house, not leaving anything unlocked, living in fear. I couldn’t stand it because that is not how I live my life. So the next morning I made the decision to front my neighbour. After all, I had personally done nothing wrong and I had helped him and his family many times, putting myself out to be of service.
Before I went I had a conversation with God. It went something like, “Are we good God?” He told me, “Yes.” And I said, “That’s good because I might meet you face-to-face today.”
Then off I went. I fronted him, giving him a not too quiet lecture about how unacceptable his behaviour had been, after all he knocked out my husband who was there to help, kicking him while he was unconscious and then vandalised my car, slashing tyres, cutting engine wires and bashing in panels and put long scratches across the bonnet and side panels.
I am so glad that I took action. I asked him if my children and I were safe in our home, which he said we were. My husband might not be, but we were. So I accepted him at face value and I went home and I deliberately left the doors unlocked because I didn’t want to give fear any room in my life.
If I didn’t have faith in God I would never have done this. I would have been too worried about the consequences and I am not advocating that anyone should do what I did. It was right for me. It could have ended very badly for me and that was an outcome I was willing to face should it happen. Fortunately for me, it didn’t.
But I walked away taller from that encounter. I had faced fear head on and firmly evicted it from my life.
There have been several events since then that have challenged me but I have been able to feel the heat rush of adrenalin down my neck, to breath and to then stand my ground and calmly flip the situation.
So it is now my motto that where fear leads I do not want to follow.
The Bible has this very cool verse. It says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” So whenever I start to feel fear I remind myself of that verse and I say to myself, “Hayley, this is an opportunity to demonstrate perfet love.” It works for me!