I’ve struggled with a lot of different kinds of fears in my life.
I actually remember being terrified of the night sky as a little girl.
If you’ve ever looked up and seen the sky at night in Oklahoma, you understand the overwhelming beauty of endless stars from one end of the horizon to the other.
The thought of seeing something “up there” mixed in with all the stars was more than I could handle as a young child.
I’m not sure what I was afraid I might see in the big Western sky.
I just remember preferring to travel with my face in a pillow as we moved down the country roads under a starlit sky toward my grandpa and grandma’s farm.
It felt safer not seeing anything than taking a chance at witnessing something terrifying.
I also remember being afraid of birds and butterflies as a school-aged child.
The unpredictable flapping of their wings,
the inability to know where they would land or what they would do when they did,
kept me jumpy most of my childhood.
Parks were scary because birds were always there,
looking for anything that resembled food.
Beaches were nerve-wracking too.
Seagulls swoop down in large flocks when a snack is offered,
and there sure are a lot of people on the beach who enjoy the swooping down of seagulls.
Thankfully, I’ve grown out of most of my childhood fears.
I love the night sky now.
I love birds and butterflies too.
Life has had a way of shaking loose the chains that once held me back from living freely.
There’s something about being forced to walk the roads of cancer and grief that has caused just about anything else that might seem scary to quickly fade away.
Even new risks.
Nothing really holds me back anymore.
But, I’d be lying if I said I no longer have fears.
My fears are just different now.
They aren’t centered around the things I might be called to do or the places I might be called to go.
No, my fears have flipped upside down.
Today, my fears are more about what I might miss by not being or not going.
My biggest fear is that I’ll come to the end of my journey on this planet and realize I missed the most important thing.
I fear I’ll look back and wonder why I wasted so many minutes or days or years doing something that could have been replaced with something more lasting.
A longer conversation with one of my children
Another cup of coffee with a friend
More weekends away with my husband
More joy-filled moments
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
but right before speaking those beautiful words, He gave a warning,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
And isn’t that what the devil does?
Every single day he tries to
steal my time,
kill my joy,
destroy my relationships.
He uses silly things too.
He slips in and whispers doubt, and fear, and anxiety, and regret, and inadequacy, and insecurity, and every other kind of word that can hold me back from the big, full life Jesus offers.
I’m not afraid of big night skies anymore.
But I am afraid of looking up and seeing someone I missed along the way.
Someone who needed love.
Flapping wings no longer frighten me.
But I am afraid of time flying by and memories being missed.
Today, I want to fill up my minutes with love not hate.
I want to pour out joy not bitterness.
I want to feel peace not turmoil.
I want to show compassion not revenge.
I want to love in the same way I hope to be loved right back………..
but even when I’m not,
I want to keep on loving…………..anyway.
Life is incredibly short.
I know this too well.
So when I think about my biggest fear,
I know what it is: