For newcomers to this page: know that this is all written to those who will be cured and those who won't and to all those who are not sure. We are talking about all the insidious ways fears can insinuate themselves in everyday life and how to recognize and overcome them. Freedom from fear enables a richer more joyful life. Now for strategies to overcome it.

It starts with defense. You have got to protect yourself before you can go on the offensive. Start by focusing. Navy Seal Mike Owen recalled “the only way I could endure the hardship and control my anxiety through seal training was by focusing on just making it to the next meal.* 16. Pretty good advice for us as enduring cancer treatment is just about as close as we will get to seal training.

 Focus only on what is knowable and necessary for today – don’t sacrifice today to what is uncertain in the future.  Dave had high-grade prostate cancer and was on aggressive treatment. His sweetheart and wife, Lisa, had every reason to be afraid of what might happen to him. She told me that, "I discovered when I focused only on today, I could do all right, not surprisingly, just as Scripture says! . She described that when she disciplined herself to focus only on today's decisions, using only today's information, that there wasn't room for anxious thoughts about the uncertainties of tomorrow to creep in. She emphasized how much discipline it took to achieve this, to just refuse to think about whether Dave would be around to attend their children's weddings or meet the grandkids, ride out into the mountains, or any number of future plans and dreams. The more she threw her energy and her thoughts into what she was going to do that very day, the better she did. But it was a self-taught lesson that she had to learn over and over again.

Make plans for your week and your day, but each morning focus on what you want to do in the next hour or before your next nap. Asses your energy and


 Deciding on a plan and taking action to implement it decreases fear. Do it. You can always alter your plans as new information becomes available. Sometimes the plan is to get a second opinion or take time to research, ponder and pray, or take a trip or start a project. Whatever it is, explicitly identify it and write it down. That makes it real. Give it a timeframe and start working on it. Then update it. If you're intentional about this, just knowing you have a plan, even a short term plan, even one to just gather more information, will keep fear at bay.

Getting lost alone in the mountain in the dark has been a laboratory of fear for me. I’m afraid of the dark and I don’t like being alone. It invariably happens every year when I am out bow hunting for elk. I feel like a six-year-old scared of bears and wolves and cougars and all those other things that people rarely ever see, and just scared. I have discovered how reassuring it is to find a trail that is going in kind of the right direction. It is usually game trail which peters out after a while. But with a headlamp, one can see a bit of the trail and only a bit, but just seeing some trail, having a short term plan, really helps. So it is with cancer.

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