I watched After Earth the other day with a group of my friends and something caught my eye or rather my mind and I have been turning it over in my head all weekend. For those of you who don't know After Earth is about Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jayden Smith) who crash land on Earth after people have left. Now Earth has been abandoned by humans because we destroyed it (typical environmentalist ideas and what not). Everything has supposedly 'evolved' to kill humans. Now Cypher was severely injured in the crash and upon finding their distress signal completely destroyed, sends his son to find the tail of the plane which apparently has another distress signal device. All alone Kitai must track across the wilderness to find it but his father will be with him every step of the way with this suit that he wears. It allows Cypher to see everything his son sees (because apparently technology in the future still works after really bad crashes:P).
Sometime during the beginning of Kitai's trip Cypher gives him a lecture on fear. He says "Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me, danger is very real. But fear is a choice." Honestly I think this is the wisest thing I have ever gleaned from a movie. Think about it the more you come up with the worst case scenario the more fearful you become. People are hardly ever scared of heights they are scared of plummeting to their deaths. Have you ever been in a tornado? Have you ever been in a room hiding from a tornado with someone who was terrified of tornadoes? If you are that person (as I am) you know that the reason you are scared is because you know what a tornado can do, you know the danger they hold and the reason you are panicking is because you are saying "Oh my gosh we're going to die! We are going to die. It is going to come and rip the building from the ground and we are all going to die" The more of those thought you produce the harder it is to calm you beating heart. Trust me, I have been there done that. Why is a little kid scared of the dark? Because of the monsters he "sees". The pile of clothes that now looks like some slime monster. The more the child allows his mind to wander the more scared he becomes.
Think of a time you should have been scared but weren't. A time where you should have been shaking in your boots but weren't. Why? Was there someone there who you trusted to catch you, was there something that you trusted to keep you safe in that moment, had you accepted your fate and just decided to enjoy that time? Imagine it like this. When I was in Tae-Kwan-Do my instructor Mr. Tuck would always call me up so he could demonstrate certain moves. Now most people would be terrified if a 4th degree black belt decided to kick a half a centimeter from their face. I on the other hand was not, I didn't move I didn't flinch. My stomach didn't even do that weird flip-flop thing it does when you are scared. Why? Because I trusted him completely. I made a decision that I wasn't going to be scared because I knew that Mr. Tuck was in complete control of his kicks. Plus I knew if I moved a fraction of an inch I would no longer have a nose. I can't claim many times like this because I tend to be a fearful/nervous person.
Choosing not to be scared is a really hard thing to do but it is possible. In the movie there is a concept called Ghosting. This is where a person shows absolutely no trace of fear whatsoever and apparently the monster can't see them. (Warning somewhat of a spoiler....kinda) There is one part where Kitia is floating on a raft and he has a vision of his sister who is dead. When his sister asks him if he is scared Kitia answers he is too tired to be scared. Kitia's sister replies, with the key to choosing to be scared, something along the lines of 'good. Your heart is filled with something else"
That is the key to choosing not to be scared. Your heart must be filled with something else. In the Bible it talks constantly about how God is with us therefore we should not be afraid (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, Psalms 23, 27:1, etc) Here is the choice we can choose to trust God completely and if we do that we won't be scared.
My friend Cynthia wrote a fantastic article about the Scary Ghost Places on fear which is worth the quick read. http://www.cynthiajeub.com/2013/06/05/scary-ghost-places/