Fear Is Not Real

Erik Cooper —  January 16, 2013 — 1 Comment

I still carry a vivid memory of a disturbing nightmare I had as a child. I was chased by a werewolf (who, sorry ladies, looked nothing like Taylor Lautner) from the upstairs bathroom on the north end of the education wing at our church.

As I frantically dashed down the red-shag carpeted stairs (it was a 70s nightmare) he leaped over the railing to block my main floor escape. I don’t really remember what happened from there (probably because it involved waking up and changing my underpants), but I do recall avoiding that staircase like the plague until the cute girls started hanging out there after church in Junior High.

I’d like to tell you I’m over it, but I (might) still catch myself looking over my shoulder into the darkness some nights as I head upstairs to bed. I guess fear can cast a 30 year shadow.


Like many people, I seem to have an on-again-off-again relationship with fear. It’s morphed from werewolves to financial concerns, nightmares to parenting worries, dark rooms to self-doubts. Fear lodges deep in our spirits and can ignite an over-active imagination with one passing image or phrase.

That’s why my ears perked up when I saw a preview for the latest Will & Jaden Smith sci-fi thriller, After Earth, scheduled for summer release. (I play the Wii with my son, I guess the Smith family makes movies together).

After crash landing on a post-apocalyptic earth, the Smith boys have to find a way to survive on a planet where plants and animals have all evolved into human-killers (I think it’s a Scientology thing). The premise seemed silly, but then the voice over caught my attention with a powerful, werewolf-slaying statement:

“You have to remember, fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Don’t misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”

Cut! Print! That’s a wrap!

Fear is not real. Fear is not real. (Say it with me) Fear is not real! So why do we allow it to drive so much of our everyday lives? Why do we bow to its counterfeit projections? Why are we manipulated by its bellowing hot air?

Because we choose to be.

Are any of you being chased by werewolves? It’s time to stop letting our imaginations betray us. Danger is real. Fear is a choice. Let’s use our minds to create beauty today.

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