“Happy Birthday Mommy! You are half way to 80!” Said my eleven year old daughter. “Thank you?” I think.
I turned the big 40 last year, and some of my friends told me it was different than all the other birthdays, so I was excited to find out what it meant for me. I am now six months in and I am beginning to understand what it’s all about.
The year started off well and I thought I had it all figured out. Then, it took a nose dive and I decided I wasn’t sure I understood life at all, but just as of late I think I got it again, and this time for real. There comes a time in life, and maybe forty is not the defining age, that things become clear.
A friend of mine has been sending me scriptures lately. They have all been about fear. It prompted me to ask myself, “Am I afraid? What am I afraid of?” And that is when I realized I had become afraid to live in the now. I am afraid because I don’t know how. It feels too calm.
Peace comes when you surrender control. It seems odd to me, but it is true. For the first month of forty I let go and it was great, but I couldn’t stay there. I grabbed it all back. “You are half way to 80!” was magnified in my mind. Time is running out! My kids are growing up, I am getting old, and I don’t have any control over it!
Then the what if’s set in, and I went down a dark path of fear and anxiety. I realized I had no idea what the future held. What if my kids go dark and I can’t bring them back, what if my husband decides I am not good enough for him anymore, what if something worse happens like sickness, or loss of a job… then what? How will I ever face it? I let my mind go wild.
I was sharing it all with a friend and she said, “God only gives you the strength you need when you need it. He is not going to give it to you now, if none of those things are happening.” She was right. I had allowed fear to creep in and steal my now. That is when I took a long hard look at myself. If I wanted to continue living on purpose and in the now I had to give up control.
I had to abide, but I didn’t know how. How do I trust that God will take care of me and my family? I have been relying on myself for so long, thinking I had something to do with the outcomes of my life, but I was becoming aware that I had nothing to do with it. And if I had nothing to do with it so far, what was I to worry about now?
Truth be told it is not easy to just live life as it comes at you. It feels more natural to be worried about what’s going to happen next, or reminisce about what just happened. Living in the now, that I so often encourage others and myself to do, is a challenge. And it frightens me.
Abide defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abide
: to bear patiently : TOLERATE
b: to endure without yielding : WITHSTAND
2: to wait for : AWAIT
3: to accept without objection
Tolerate, withstand, await, without objection…
To abide is to surrender and live. I must learn to tolerate the routine, withstand the hard times, await the future, and accept without objection the day as it comes at me. I am not alone. God is with me (Joshua 1:9). The day whether it be routine or crazy is in the hands of God. He will help me along the way (Psalm 46:1) If that is what the Bible says, then that is what I must surrender to believe.
Fear, anxiety, what if’s, they are all distractions. Sometimes life is peaceful and that is a beautiful thing. Forty is teaching me how to abide in all circumstances. Sometimes life is crazy, sometimes life is calm, sometimes we get and sometimes we don’t. Either way we are to just be, live in the now, and take it as it comes. My Forty is learning the lesson of “The Great Abide.”