A FEW DAYS AGO THE PORTLAND NEWS was all over a missing young woman. She
worked at a Starbucks and didn't report for work. Family members, of course, were frantic and the big guns were called in to search for her. The outcome wasn't good. A neighbor asked her for a ride and she said okay. Then he pulled a gun on her. He confessed to murdering her.
What's so troubling about this is that it's the kind of thing that could happen to any of us. This wasn't a drug bust gone awry or a prostitute getting smacked around by her pimp. This woman was one of us, just your average law-abiding citizen, going about her life.
Years ago I read the book called The Gift of Fear. Do you remember it? The author's premise was that each of us has an innate protector that will alert us to danger. It's an instinctual knowing when we're being threatened. The alert might be a siren but more likely, it will be a subtle uneasiness that is far too easy to dismiss as paranoia. Or not wanting to cause a scene or be rude.
I was reading The Gift of Fear soon after Laci Peterson was murdered by her husband. I wanted to understand how a smart woman like Laci could have been fooled into marrying a sociopath. Were there signs? Did she have a subtle uneasiness that she ignored or rationalized in some way?
One of the things that alarmed me most about reading The Gift of Fear was realizing that my anxiety disorder was keeping me a slave to high alert and this would, in all likelihood, make it impossible to discern authentic danger. How would I know if there was really a bad guy behind that building if I was always in a panic, sure he was there?
I'm grateful that even during my worst panic attacks, God kept me and my loved ones safe. Now that I'm free of anxiety, (knock on wood) life is a lot easier to live. I know I've now got access to that God-given instinct, should I need it. I trust that if danger is just outside the door, my protector will let me know.
What do you think of the concept that fear can be a good thing?