Excerpt from chapter 8 of Surf the Woods
Every now and then I find myself facing a situation where success looks impossible. The odds are clearly not in my favor, but the desire to succeed is compelling. So I do what I've trained myself to do. I accelerate toward fear.
Several years ago I decided to test my backwoods-survival training by spending four weeks alone in the wilderness of Arkansas's Ozark Mountains. I will never forget parking my truck down a remote country road and walking off into the wild. My expectations were high that first day. That was until night fell, and the thunderstorms began. That first night in the tent proved to be a real mental challenge. I was all alone in the middle of nowhere -- miles and miles from another human being. This wasn't feeling like such a good idea now that I was facing the realities. The next morning I had to make a decision: would I stay close to the truck near what was familiar to me or head deeper into the unknown? I am not proud to say that I packed up and hiked back to the trailhead to the safety of my truck.
I sat in my truck for a few hours, wrestled with the thought of abandoning my dream. Somewhere in the process of that mental battle, I began to focus on the opportunity that lay right before me. I would probably never have this chance again. My courage began to rise. Before I knew it, I made my way out of the truck, put on my backpack, and headed back down the mountain towards the fear and into four weeks of unbelievable memories.
I have a map now that hangs on the wall in my office. It is filled with the GPS locations of forgotten waterfalls, caves, and old structures throughout the Ozarks, locations I found during those unforgettable four weeks. When I look at that map, I am reminded of something I learned about fear on that trip. When I move towards fear, the door opens to the abundant life. The opposite is also true. Moving away from fear is actually the direction of regret, frustration, and failure. Unless we embrace this truth, we will be sucked towards the safe zone. If we are going to be successful at living our God-inspired dreams, we have got to learn to embrace fear. In fact, we have to look to fear in order to get direction for our journey.