A 180 on Fear

Shortly after 9-11 marred its way into our lives, I had the privilege of interviewing a number of grieving family members directly affected by the terrorist mayhem. I talked with Lisa Beamer whose husband Todd became one of the iconic passengers aboard United Flight 93. Todd’s “Let’s roll” rallying cry emboldened a courageous handful of passengers to storm their attackers before the commandeered airplane slammed into a Pennsylvania field. Instant comrades in their last moments, Todd and the flight’s other brave passengers saved unknown thousands of lives on the ground that fateful September morning.

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Recently I ran across portions of my conversation with Lisa just a couple weeks after losing Todd. Her grief was painstakingly fresh yet her words comforting.

“If your perspective is only on this life and you are holding onto your little world at all costs,” she explained, “that’s going to be a very fearful thing. Anything can impinge on your security or threaten it—especially terrorism. Despite all the best efforts of our government, we will always be vulnerable in some places.

“Most people’s knee-jerk reaction to the events of September 11 was to look to something higher than themselves—go to church or a prayer service—and I think that’s an indication that people deep down know that this isn’t all there is to life,” Lisa continued. “It’s easy to forget about those deeper issues when life is good, but when a true crisis strikes and people’s earthly security is knocked out from under them, that God-given desire for looking above yourself and beyond yourself comes through.”

What wise words from a newly widowed 32-year-old—a pregnant mother suddenly raising two small boys on her own. Fear hisses when our circumstances spin out of our illusion of control. Fear claws into our thoughts and hunkers down until we look above and beyond ourselves. This 180-degree change in perspective happens when we train our eyes to view the needs of others around us and steady our focus to “see things from [God’s] perspective (Colossians 3:2).

As Lisa reminds us, “If your perspective is only on this life,” fear will eat away at the best of you. We won’t all be called to bravery at 36,000 feet like Todd Beamer. But we can start rolling today with looking above and a beyond our fears right in front of us.

Brave and Resilient Tip #83: Fear dissipates when you look above and beyond yourself.


  1. All I can say is AMEN. May we all have Lisa’s perspective when fear comes knocking–then, as they say, let faith answer the door!

    • Thank you, Nancy! Lisa is certainly one to speak from experience on countering fear with faith.

  2. Gives me hope to turn my sights daily in
    the right direction. Thanks girlfriend!