"Go To War With Fear" - Brennon Peterson
We've been saying it long enough now you've probably realized it's the theme of our message. We tag posts with it, I sign emails with it, and we sing a song live called "Going To War With Fear." However, I've never really taken the time to explain what it means. To be honest, it's been a minute since I thought on it. That being said, a friend of mine recently asked me what it means to go to war with fear so I figured I'd share a little bit of my own personal definition.
My answer to that question was this: "It means waging war on everything you're afraid of. It's not just facing fear. It's launching an all-out assault on it to fight it until there's nothing left." This was met with an additional question about what the best tactic is for doing that. My response was this: "What does one need when they go to war? They need weapons. They need armor. They need strategy. Learning tools that can help with each battle is paramount in wining. Take one enemy (fear) at a time. Analyze it. Study it. Find out what you need to fight it. When you're prepared, you set out on that conquest. It's judgment day. Start with the smaller enemies and work your way up. Like a video game. Each boss gets harder as you progress through it, until eventually you're ready and fully equipped to take on the final one."
There are very few people in the world who can wake up one day and overcome every fear they've ever had. There are many who think they can, so they start off on this grand quest to break every bad habit, end every toxic relationship, heal every trauma, and so on. In a perfect world it would be possible. I don't think I have to tell you that we are far from living in a perfect world. It takes time and patience. It takes baby steps. When you can set a small goal and achieve it, the next goal doesn't seem so daunting. I like to equate this to my days of powerlifting. My first major goal was to deadlift 600 pounds. If I woke up one day, without any consistent training, walked into the gym, loaded 600 on the bar, and gave it all I had to give, I would've found myself in a pile of broken blood vessels, bones, and torn muscles from head to toe. I carefully planned each training session. I planned each moment of every day. Eventually, the time came to put those plans into motion. Guess what happened? I picked up 600 pounds. The same happened with 650, 700, 750, and eventually 800. As the goal increased, so did my knowledge, skill, and strength. Every milestone we pass makes us level up, regardless of what we're doing. The same can be said for any fear you're facing.
If you get anxiety going out in public, don't make the first thing you do to fight it going to Disneyland. Take a walk through a grocery store and pick out a thing or two you don't normally buy. No, don't take your headphones with you. Don't put your hood up or stare at your feet the whole time. Say hello and smile to a complete stranger. Heck, make it two. You're not only opening yourself up to something you're not fully comfortable with, you're also going to make a stranger's day better. That's a win-win, brothers and sisters, and that's something you can feel dang good about.
I could go on with literally thousands of examples. The list of things that put people in fear is endless. A lot of them are completely rational, and a lot of them are absolutely ridiculous by definition. No matter what it is, there is something that can be done about it. I know this from experience. Not every battle is easily won, we know this of war. I had to swallow a pretty bitter pill when I "bombed out" of a really big powerlifting competition a few years back. "Bombing out" means that a lifter misses their attempt three times, and they're disqualified from a competition. Remember that whole soapbox paragraph about waking up and deciding to take on the world? Well, I did that a little too much too fast, and I failed myself big time. It took quite a bit to pick myself up and decide to keep going. It's our failures that teach us the most. So if you do fail at any point during your journey to conquering fear, give yourself a break. It's hard work! It's okay to fall down as long as you get back up. Never stop fighting.
It's my sincerest hope that our message in the war against fear inspires somebody out there to conquer something they're struggling with. Fear is the dream killer. Fear holds us back from going after the things we want most in life. If I'm (we're) able to show someone they don't have to be afraid anymore, and they change their life for the better, that's the most fulfilling mission I could ever image completing.
WE'RE GOING TO WAR WITH FEAR!