Saturday, 22 March 2014

What if...?

We live our lives enslaved to fears much of the time. So much of it that we've lost sight of the cage. We look around and see things we actually need - not a new car or a bigger house, but a better quality of meat or veg. Something that will nourish our bodies and minds

Needs, not wants.

And we get hit with the accusation "What if you 'need' that money later in the month?"

So we buy the cheaper cut. Or the lower quality veg.

And it ends up costing us more.

Our health suffers. We go on fad diets "in case" we develop weight problems or heart disease or diabetes. The irony that the stress we pile onto ourselves about having a perfect figure and being "healthy" actually often is what triggers the very condition we were stressing about avoiding!

I take medication for diabetes. I refuse to say "I'm diabetic" or "my diabetes" (except in these circumstances) because I do not feel that it is "mine", and I know it doesn't define me.

In South Africa, Diabetes is considered a "disability", and if left out of control it can cause disabilities such as blindness, sexual dysfunction, nerve damage, kidney damage and more. But controlled properly I can live a completely normal life.

And I do. I eat and drink what I feel like. The only difference is I jab myself with a pin a few times a day to see what my blood sugar level is. And it's (usually) normal.

But I digress.

Fear grips us. We live under it constantly.

I live on the coast - South facing - of South Africa. The next land-mass is Antarctica.

After the tsunami hit Japan, my wife said "What if that happens here? We'd be killed!"

Huh? Seriously?

I suggested we move up and live on the mountain instead. Her response: "What if the snakes come in?"

Fear rules us. We live as slaves to it without even being aware of it.

I know one person who is so afraid of dying from an illness they caught that they are seriously contemplating suicide - and in retrospect, I've known several others (including myself) who have been through something similar. My own story is that - and I admit it was a bad year - the final straw was being diagnosed with diabetes. I thought my life was over. And that belief was a huge part in not one, but four (yes 4) attempted suicides on my part. I wasn't prepared to live with this illness.

That was 15 years ago, and I've not had the thoughts since. But I understand them. Rational thought goes out the window, and fear takes over, often masquerading as rationality. It's insidious, and unchecked it will destroy us. That's the enemy's plan. Steal, kill and destroy.

But what if we learn to recognise it.

What if we choose to not be afraid?

Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps, did so by choosing to focus on freedom. He summarizes that he had more freedom than his guards.

If one man can do it, we all can. God won't withold that.

What if we stop being afraid?

What if there is no spoon?

Neo's experience in the Matrix is like ours as Christians. The World tells us what is and isn't possible, and we believe it. Accept it. We don't question it. But what if there is no spoon? What if what we fear most is smoke and mirrors?

Often it is. Just smoke and mirrors.

What if we choose to look beyond it.

What if we choose Eternal Life? What if we choose to believe we are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, Love and Sound Mind? "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7) How would we live differently?

Would we in fact take the chances we believe God is pointing us to? I believe we would.

It's taken me 20 years to start writing in a place where people can see what I've written. In the last 3 years since I started this blog there have been over 3000 hits from all over the world. America, Russia, China, Europe. People I've never met have read what I've written. It excites me when I get another "view" on the site. Maybe someone's life has been touched by what I wrote, but mine has definitely been touched by them just opening the page. And what's more, some of the hits come from people who entered the actual address of the blog - that means you came back.

20 years ago I was too scared to try writing. Now I'm almost finished writing a book and looking into how to publish. And regretting letting fear steal 20 years of my life.

What if you learn from my mistake? What if you step out?

Peter was going to drown if he stayed in the boat. He had nothing to lose by getting out.

What if we do the same?

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