The Boston bombing cast a long shadow of fear across our nation. All of us are more diligent about following the injunction, "If you see something, say something."
It occurred to me that there are terrorists inside us, and we need to be on guard against them. These, of course, are negative emotions that can turn us into people we were never intended to be. Among them are negativism, fear, worry, uncontrolled anger and resentment.
Nothing can immobilize us more quickly than fear. It gnaws away at the inner being. Fear of failure causes us to sit on the sidelines of life when we could be out on the playing field, making a difference for good. Fear of rejection keeps us from offering friendship and hospitality. Fear of success keeps us locked in a tedious job when we have the opportunity for a new challenge.
One of my favorite stories is of a 747 jetliner. When all passengers were seated, the pilot's voice came on the loudspeaker.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard flight 827 en route to London's Heathrow Airport. We will reach a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and will be traveling at 350 mph. We will take off -- as soon as I get up my nerve."
How can we overcome fear? First, remember fear is a thought, and we can change our thought patterns. Second, as Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."
Third, don't just act on your feelings. If, for example, you awaken feeling ornery, don't act that way. Decide how you want to act, do it and the feelings will follow.
The strongest way to battle fear is to build up your faith. When I began to speak publicly, I was terrified. The thing that helped me most, in addition to continuing to accept speaking engagements, was to repeat to myself the Biblical reminder: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:8). You don't have to be imprisoned by fear. You can have a breakthrough.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.