'Are you ever afraid when you're up there?" the sportscaster asked.
A young woman had just completed one of those breathtaking, no-ripple high dives during warm-ups for a world championship diving competition. In the light of her years of competitive experience and thousands of hours of practice, it came as somewhat of a surprise to hear her reply matter-of-factly, "I'm afraid every time."
Why, some might wonder, would anyone voluntarily live with fear day in and day out? Obviously, this woman had stronger motivations than just being safe and comfortable. And yet when we choose - or even when circumstances force us - to take on challenges, fear doesn't have to be part of the deal.
Actually, living with fear isn't natural or necessary under any circumstance. A growing understanding that God is the Principle governing all life results in less fear all the time. It promises not just the suppression of fear but its complete end.
To see how to begin moving in this direction, consider two fears that a diver, and plenty of other people, might confront: getting hurt and failing to do well.
1. For the devoted diver, love of diving can outweigh fear of getting hurt. That's a useful hint in handling fear in any situation. Taking love to the highest level, a close disciple of Jesus said, "Perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). One meaning of the Greek word translated perfect is "complete," or "fully developed." A fully developed love of God eliminates fear. Such love includes trust in God's goodness and ability to preserve us. One way to develop this confident love is to affirm on a regular basis that God loves us, and that we are safe in that love.
We're loved and safe because each individual is and always will be essential to God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote: "If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected. The Ego would be unexpressed, and the Father would be childless, -no Father.... But man cannot be separated for an instant from God, if man reflects God. Thus Science proves man's existence to be intact" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 306).