It’s Life On The Other Side of 60 LEARN edition.
It’s the scariest night of the year, Halloween. Celebrations range from sinister and evil while others – It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, for instance, are fun and light hearted. The sinister stuff is meant to scare and frighten. I like to be scared every now and then – when I know it’s going to last for only a moment and it’s not ‘real’ (although that is debatable, too).
There’s a different kind of being afraid. And that kind is when we let fear define who we are. That’s what I’m addressing on this The Other Side of Sixty – Life – Live Brave.
Once upon a time I lived in fear. Fear had me bound up tight. And, not just fear of on one or two things. FEAR defined me. I was afraid of heights. I was afraid of open waters – so much so that I would get seasick standing on a dock watching boats out on the water. Oftentimes I didn’t want to go anywhere, claiming I was pretty much a homebody, when actually I am an extrovert, but I was afraid people weren’t going to like me. I was afraid because much of the time I didn’t like myself. I was afraid that if someone saw ME, the real me, then it was over but the singing. I was afraid to try new things. I was afraid to try any activity that required me to perform in front of others : bowling, zip-lining, church soft-ball. And, I still have a problem testing out a new mattress in public. I probably could call myself a justified fearful person, because my looks and character were severly judged when I was younger. So, then, I COULD be a victim of that and justify my fearfilled life.
In fact, I wouldn’t actually call myself anything because I tried to not do any sort of introspection. I had zero desire, as an more mature person to try and figure out why I was afraid. I realized, at one point that I was dealing with all the fear and feelings by eating. Literally eating my emotions. . to the point I reached 216 pounds.
What changed me? I am not free from fear, no, but I am free from the fear of fear. Is that a head scratcher?? It’s come in stages: My soulmate, the Man…Lance. We’ve been together for 45 years. He is my best friend and my husband, and the love of my life. When we would go on vacation he wanted to try all the things. Things requiring doing new stuff in front of strangers. I caved most of the time, but can say I was so scared during some events (zip-lining in Jamaica for the first time for instance,) I didn’t enjoy the time. I simple wished the activity would end. Then on one occasion, where we were going on a cruise and spending a lot of extra money on shore excursions. There was a walk through Rome, seeing the coliseum etc, which he suggested we forgo the guided tour and go on our own. He had proven through our long relationship that he wouldn’t put me in danger, and would always protect me. So, I decided, to trust him and if he suggested we do something, then I was going to say yes. This Rome excursion is one of our most fun memories. We got a little lost, bought some paintings that were probably done in China, we got lost in a torrential rain storm, the staircases of ancient buildings suddenly become waterfalls and we we talked about the possibilities we might miss the ride back to the ship! But, in it all, we were laughing and having the best time! We bought souvenir sweatshirts and ate thick slices of pizza from a street a cart before getting on the ride back to the ship. All of this because I had decided, made a choice to trust the character of my love and just say yes.
2. When we lived in Australia, we made some wonderful friends…we call them fRamily. We are Nan and Pa to some of the kids. We shared our lives. One of the reasons for my fear, the fear that manifested in seeking people’s approval and wanting everyone to like and to never disappoint anyone. I believe, is the bullying that took place in my younger years. Some boys had taken to call me Frankie because I was so ugly, they said, that I looked like the monster Frankenstein. When it was picture day, they would tell the photographer that I had to go last because I was so ugly I would break the camera. When it was time for us to move to the US from Canada, one of them left a copy of the Ugly American on my desk. I carried the destruction they wrought on my spirit for years. I was fearful. I believed their lies. Then, in Australia, one of our friend’s daughter’s had a lovely daughter. They named her Frankie…because in their native language Frankie meant beautiful. I decided that I would replace the broken Frankie meaning with this new one. And, there was a freedom. Then, I was given a painting of a woman, holding high an open cage with birds flying to freedom.
3. Ultimately though, it’s Jesus. When life is totally given over to Him….fear still creeps in, but you have the assurance that you’re not alone. He is the all in my all. If you don’t know Him, I am happy to introduce you! Fear shows itself in a variety of ways: anxiety, anger, crying, depression. But, know this…every fear, anxiety, anger whatever, you bring to Him, only secures our choice to trust Him. The bible assures us numerous times that God is always with us, has gone before us and will never leave us. We are told that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You can have that assurance too.
Recommended podcast : The Bema Podcast (a discipleship/evangelism podcast.)
Recommended devotional: Nobody Left Out: Jesus Meets the Messes by Michael Murray
Recommended song: Brave by Moriah Peters