As a mom and aunt of middle-grade children, I spend a lot of time quelling the fears of children.
Is tropical storm Emily going to be OK, Aunt Christa?
Are my braces going to hurt forever, mom?
What if I have that nightmare again?
If you too find yourself in the hot seat of comforting children as a pastor, teacher, parent or relative along with me, sometimes you know we don’t have answers to the future but…
We do have our historical blessings to back us up and we assure our children and those we minister to of God’s overall love and protection over us.
We remember the big picture and trust the process when we’re at our best.
Such was my role once again this past weekend when I took my nephew and daughter on a ride they’d been begging to go on.
They asked, “Are we gonna be OK?”
(“First off, why did you two beg for weeks to come here if you’re scared?”is what I wanted to say!)
But what I said was, “Of course, God’s gotten us this far, we’re gonna have a blast.”
If you’ve read my blog in the past, you KNOW I was only feeling a little annoyed because I was sweating a bit inside also!
But this time, even as I encouraged them, something just ODD happened. As we rolled off and the buckle was tightened over my lap…
(Which is by the way, my least favorite moment, when you can’t get out but you haven’t really gotten started yet…)
A woman who’d just exited the ride met my eyes. She was walking the opposite direction of everyone else exiting, waiting to meet the gaze of someone who was beginning the ride.
I was the lucky person.
She caught my gaze intentionally.
“It’s horrible!” she mouthed to my family and I. She shook her head with emphasis. “It’s awful!” Her beautiful big dark brown eyes spoke of unforgiving doom looming ahead.
The fear she was trying to instill gripped me inside for a moment.
Isn’t fear like that? So easily passed on amongst not just children but from adult to adult as well….
It only took me a moment to realize that she was probably not trying to be negative, she was simply afraid.
Afraid after what she’d experienced and DEFINITELY not thinking about what others needed to hear.
Clearly, she felt her job in that moment was to be a harbinger of warnings.
However, my job in that moment was NOT to receive it, however well-intentioned she was.
How many times does someone try to pass their fear on you with well-meaning intention?
How often do you have to receive it?
Today I want you to remember you DON’T have to receive it.
If someone gives you a statistic on your chances for a good marriage, your likelihood of bankruptcy, your impending doom as you age and sag or who knows what, or someone tells you your life is destined for failure…
YOU HAVE CHOICES.
Take any well-meant message and consider it for a moment.
Is there any truth to it?
Do you need to get that health screening?
Maybe you need to look at your finances more carefully…
But one thing is sure. You do NOT need to take on their fear or draining attitude.
God has made you for a life of peace, joy, purpose, and love. And, my friends, perfect love casts out fear.
Today let this be your reminder. Don’t receive the fear of others.
I made a choice to do the same in that moment this weekend.
My daughter asked me, slightly alarmed, “What was that lady saying?”
“Nothing important,” I said. I looked her in the eye. “We’re gonna have so much fun!”
She smiled. “Thanks, mommy!”
And you know what, we absolutely did!
It was enthralling. Seriously fun.
I rode that crazy ride three more times afterwards, almost until we closed the park down (and I said no to an even bigger ride and let my husband take that shift!)
But back to the fear.
I had been told the experience ahead would be a living nightmare by a complete stranger.
Had I chosen to embrace it, surely it would have been.
What can YOU choose today?
Is there a situation you are looking at through the eyes of fear?
Can you look at it with any other eyes?
How about the gaze of trust?
The remembrance of all of the times in the past God has helped you through a trial?
How about remembering you are well equipped to face many challenges with the awesome body, mind and spirit God has equipped you with?
Today I want to be one more reminder of your potential to do amazing things.
Most likely way more amazing than just indulging in a roller coaster ride.
I’m talking about doing the things you have always wanted to do but have not felt the courage to embrace…
Today, write down two things you can commit to doing in spite of fear.
Don’t look at anyone else, just do them!
Know that there are many others facing fears and laying claim over this life of peace and joy with you…
That our Reflections team is here to stand prayerfully alongside you as you chase those things you have been destined to do…
Whether it be walking along your child as you teach them the ropes of life…
Or achieving a stronger body than you thought possible…
Maybe it’s that you are going to lead that study you’ve been wanting to or attend church for the first time in forever despite the stares or discomfort.
Whatever it is, don’t look to the right or left. Look upward and onward at the calling on your life and pursue these dreams with the excellence God has granted you!
Love Living Life Intentionally With You,
Christa and the Reflections Staff