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Posts Tagged ‘worry’

Imagine what life would be like without worry.   I remember that heady freedom I felt as a child  riding in the car with the windows down, long before child restraints became mandatory, my nose stuck out the window smelling the freshly cut grass, the wind rushing through my hair and a big smile on my face, ready for anything.

I thought that by this stage in life I would have worry all figured out.  I recall jumping onto a plane as a young woman full of nothing but excitement, anticipation and wondering whether I’d order a red or white wine once we took off.  I loved listening to Midnight Oil and Angels songs throbbing on my big old Walkman as the plane soured into the air. Taking off was my favourite part of the trip – so thrilling to feel the plane’s  power, energy and oomph as we climbed into the big blue sky.

These days flying is a very different matter.  The loud rock songs and delicious beverage decisions have vanished from my mind, and in their place are whispers of:  that guy in front of us looks a bit shifty – he could be a terrorist;  what was that grinding noise in the plane’s engine;  what if my son vomits all over the smart-looking woman next to him; my ankles are feeling puffy – I hope it’s not deep vein thrombosis;  did I switch off the iron before leaving the house?  And on and on it goes, relentless and immobilising.  Tapping my toes to Peter and Doc has become an exquisite and bittersweet memory.

Worry can act as a giant eraser, rubbing all the colour and beauty out of life.  I noticed this at the end of the school holidays when I visited a local café with my sons for breakfast.  After a long summer holiday I was feeling unusually relaxed and virtually worry-free.   We sat at the same table as last time – the very first day of the holidays – and I was amazed at the striking coloured graffiti on the wall in front of me.  I commented to my sons and one responded with: “It’s been there all along Mum”.  I disagreed as I’d never seen it before…  So when the waitress came along laden with cappuccino and milkshakes I told her how much I loved the new artwork.  “Oh, that was done before we opened the Café, it’s been there for quite a  while…”  Last time I was in the café I was so tired, stressed and full of anxiety that I didn’t even see all of this colour, movement and artistic expression, right in front of me!  It was an eerie moment of self awareness.  My worry was robbing me of all the best bits in life – the beautiful, special and the meaningful bits.

Yet when I reflect on the times I’ve had to face something really challenging, such as a medical diagnosis that could be fatal, I realise that hiding beneath the heavy layers of shock and despair was a tiny glimmer of hope.  Whether it was a line in a song on the radio,  a conversation overheard in the hospital lift, or simply the uplifting presence of a friend by my side – I caught a little glimpse of light that ignited something in my spirit. I knew I would get through this dark valley – there was a way through and a wellspring to sustain me.  Surely, this little glimmer can be ignited now too, when worry springs up uninvited like a weed threatening to strangle all the joy and colour out of life.

Big problems aren’t always solved with big solutions.  Do you know that a mustard seed is only 1-2 mm in diameter?  A wise man once said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move a mountain. It sounds like a crazy concept, I know, but there’s something in it.

So when those worrying whispers start up in my mind I look for the mustard seed of faith, wrapped in whispers of:   all will be well, you will get through this, things will get better – nothing stays the same, God loves you and nothing can separate you from his love, nothing is impossible, you have a purpose, don’t give up, never give up, just put one foot in front of the other and keep on going…

Seeds have an uncanny knack of taking root and growing.  If you dare to have that first little bit of faith and take a look a few years later, you realise that the seed has taken root and it’s growing taller, green shoots becoming stems and branches.  I’ve heard that in ideal conditions a mustard tree can grow to 3-5 metres tall.  Pretty impressive for a 1-2 mm seed.

So never underestimate small beginnings.  The wise man who told this story knew exactly what he was talking about.  He faced insurmountable challenges of his own with remarkable courage and grace.  Moving mountains seems easy compared with what this wise man actually did.  He transformed sickness into health, despair into hope, pain into comfort, oppression into freedom, prejudice and hate into compassion and love, and ultimately, life victorious over death.

I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be truly carefree again – window down and the wind in my face – strands of hair getting stuck in my teeth.  Maybe I’ll even take to the skies with the Oils or the Angels throbbing in my ears – wondering whether to order the white or the red – worry gone at last and freedom firmly in its place.

 

mountain

 

 

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Have you noticed that some seasons of life are filled with action, adventure, parties and people? Others are not. Over the past month I’ve been living the life of a hermit.  Winter has felt cold and grey, and I’ve caught the never-ending flu virus, which has led to quiet weekends and plenty of solitude.

Over this time my main companion has been Bobbie, my son’s blue budgie. Even when my voice is only a croak and my hair is beyond a mess, he is always delighted to see me, chirping along merrily with his ‘Hello Bobbie’, ‘Who’s a Pretty Boy?’ and ‘I Love You’s.  He’s always ready with his surprisingly gentle peck on the nose when I lean in for a kiss.

Bobbie’s companionship has sustained me through many lonely and bleak days, but despite his reliable nature, now and again he does disappoint me. Just as we are conversing happily, he catches a glimpse of his little blue face in his hanging mirror, and becomes transfixed by his reflection.   He is mesmerised by the gorgeous bird before him, and instead of offering his enthusiastic words and loving pecks to me, they are suddenly all directed at the bird in the mirror.  On it goes – ‘Pretty Boy’ and ‘I Love You’ along with his selfie-kisses, beak tapping madly on the mirror. Our conversation is suddenly over and I’m left talking to myself too.

Bobbie amuses me because his mirror-gazing fixation isn’t a trait limited only to budgies. People do it too.  Have you noticed?  Humans have their our own form of ‘mirror-gazing’.  It may range from a Facebook page populated heavily with selfie-shots, to an obsession with special projects and personal agendas, where little interest is shown in anything other than these particular projects and agendas.  A tell-tale sign I’ve noticed is a particular “glazed-eye look” which comes over a person which seems to prevent them from any shift in their focus. I’m sure most of us can relate to the Non Stop Talker in meetings, who ploughs on and on relentlessly, talking right over anyone brave enough to try to interrupt them. They are so focused on the reflection in the mirror that they can’t see or hear the people sitting right in front of them. Social media promotes this mindset, with all the: ‘Look at ME and all the fun I had today!’ mentality. There’s a temptation to turn away from the people right in front of us and gaze into our own little mirrors.   I fear that one day the human race may become so stuck in selfie-mode that we have with no connection at all to one another and the world around us.

Recently I met with two friends for morning tea. We had cups of tea in elegant yellow and black cups and saucers, rice paper rolls and delicious cake cut into little pieces.  Months had passed since the three of us sat together, and there was so much to discuss.  Each of us spoke in turn, sharing deeply about our struggles – laughing, crying and nodding in agreement.  The only thing that exceeded all of the talking was the quiet listening.  I felt listened to and heard each time I spoke, and spent a long time intently listening.  We each had our turn.  After three solid hours of free-flowing, authentic communication we held hands and prayed for each other.  Nothing banishes a mirror of self-interest like praying for someone else. It’s like emotional health food – building up our spiritual core strength and restoring the inner balance of joy and peace better than any Pilates class or detox shake.

Now I’m not too sure how Bobbie feels after a long session of mirror-gazing, but I know it leaves me feeling anxious and heavy-hearted.  The reflection in the mirror looks okay to begin with. Let’s face it, we’re all fascinated with ourselves to a degree.  At the start I’m like Harry the Mosquito in ‘A Bugs Life’, flying toward the bug zapper:  “I-can’t-help-it. It’s-so-beautiful”.  But once I spend some time gazing at myself all I can see are my failures, imperfections, problems and frustrations. Sometimes a coffee with a friend, listening, laughing and lightening up, or reading a chapter of a good book is enough to lift the heaviness. Other times I walk outside to look up at the wide expanse of sky and breathe in the cool fresh air.

Reflected in the mirror is a distorted egocentric world, but just outside our door are the wide open spaces, the big picture that exists beyond our selves –  painted by our Creator with humble love – a masterpiece of beauty, authenticity and promise.

 

 

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Have you ever made a big change in your life and been bombarded with advice from family, friends and even casual acquaintances?  When I was pregnant with my first baby everyone had an opinion, and some left me in a state of panic.  Now we are about to embark on renovating our home it’s happening again.  It seems that announcing that you have a bun in the oven, or are about to rip out the old oven and get a new one, seems to draw out a pessimistic streak in many.

At least with pregnancy there is the initial happy ‘congratulations’ stage, where people smile and seem genuinely pleased for you.  But it doesn’t take long for the initial excitement to wear off and the secondary  stage to kick in.  Once this happens, workmates, distant cousins and shop assistants who are usually polite and friendly, feel the need to warn you of all the dangers that lie ahead.  Somebody had a 40 hour labour and even then needed a Caesarian, another had an epidural that left them paralysed from the waist up not the waist down, where it was so desperately needed.  Another had a baby which insisted in making his entrance bottom first. Then there are all the horrific stories of the indignities which happen during the birthing process and in front of an audience of doctors, nurses and your traumatised partner. Then begins the stories of the tyranny of never having a nights sleep ever again.  I  began to dread lunchtime  at work with a group of older women who had all ‘been there and done that’.  The stories just kept coming, more horrific by the week. As my bump grew, so did my terror.

Yet I am reminded of one workmate.  In the words of Terry Mark ‘Sometimes it just takes one beautiful person to brighten your day just as one negative person can spoil your day’.  One lady stood out from the others.  She seemed to view the whole birthing process quite differently.  Rather than an excruciating, unpredictable and diabolical challenge, she saw it as something quite miraculous and beautiful.  She was supportive of natural birth and lent me some fantastic books written in the 1970s and filled with photos of happy hippies in flowing caftans with flowers in their hair.  I read the books from cover to cover, giggling at the rose-tinted, outlandish language, but absorbing the refreshing joy and freedom they expressed. There were visualisations of opening flower buds and surrendering to the forces at work in your body which were so unlike the other more clinical ‘how to’ books I had been studying.

When the long-awaited day arrived, strangely it was the advice of my one positive workmate with her hippy visualisations which helped me the most and after four intense but amazing hours I held my son in my arms. Nobody had warned me about the overwhelming emotions I would feel or the fact that this would in fact be one of the happiest days of my life. 

Speaking encouraging and positive words holds incredible power.  So often as humans we gravitate to the negative.  I’m certainly guilty of it at times.  Sometimes I listen to myself and cringe as the words pour out: criticism, worry and ‘worse-case scenarios’ simmer away together like a negativity stew.  Steve Maraboli in his book ‘Life, the Truth and Being Free’ sets this challenge:

How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is brimming with wisdom about the power of words:  

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21)

So now we are about to renovate our house.  We have been planning for this for over two years now, and finally we are about to launch into action.  I am experiencing all the nerves and pangs associated with stepping out of my comfort zone.  After many years working in building dispute litigation, I know first-hand the risks and pitfalls of building projects.  The decision to renovate has been a tough one.  But to make it so much worse, everyone feels they must warn me about it.  Each day I’m told that it will be the most stressful period of my life, the dust will be unbearable, things will inevitably go horribly wrong, it will cost far more than expected, it will probably rain heavily and the roof will leak, I will need to watch the tradesman like a hawk or they will make crazy mistakes, somebody’s cousin Alice came home one day to find a wall in the wrong place,  it will be freezing when the roof comes off, and it will be the worst thing we’ve ever been through. Wow, I just can’t wait!

The best comment I’ve heard so far is ‘well it’s only a few months of your life’.  Although not overly enthusiastic, it is sensible and acknowledges an end date.  I will be content with that for now.  Like childbirth, I’m quite prepared for the labour pains and the discomfort, but beyond the hammers, drills and cement dust, I am visualising our new home taking shape, with room for two growing teenaged boys and space to entertain all the people we love spending time with.  

There are times when predictions of gloom and doom are all you encounter.  At these times, you can do your research, pray a lot  and look out for the sensible advice of trusted friends. Sometimes warnings are helpful, but often the challenge is to follow your heart, stop listening to the opinions of others, step outside your comfort zone and do something completely new. Even Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in his home town as those close to him didn’t believe in him  (Mark 6:5).  But he didn’t let their negativity and unbelief stop him.  We shook the dust from his feet and walked onwards, his eyes facing upward, in peace and confidence.

Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

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Sometimes looking at my youngest son is like looking in the mirror.   He gets impatient, emotional, thinks very deeply about things and really hates change.   Once we drag him, kicking and screaming, to try something new he handles it brilliantly and is really pleased with himself.  But it’s taking the initial plunge that sends him into a spin.  And I know just where he gets it from.

As an over-thinker and chronic worrier, I’ve had to force many changes on myself.   Thanks to the restlessness and curiosity of youth, I found the courage to jump on a plane and head over to London to travel and work for twelve months in my early twenties.   This trip was a baptism of fire, but after a shaky start I found my feet and grew to love living life with a sense of adventure.   This has stayed with me, despite returning home and re-adjusting to ‘normal life’ again.

One sunny day last year when I sat organising our much-anticipated family ‘world tour’ with a bubbly travel agent, a storm cloud descended on us suddenly as  my son screamed: ‘I’m NOT going!  I HATE holidays!  Why would anyone want to leave Australia?’   Stomach lurching, I stared at him in disbelief.  Of course, when he finally found himself walking the streets of Europe, he sheepishly admitted that ‘this actually is okay Mum…‘ and his many euphoric grins along the way said it all.   He conversed happily with waiters using his guidebook French, Italian and German as if he’d been travelling all his life.  He now dreams of returning one day.   But it would have been easy that first day to dismiss our holiday as a bad idea.

So now as I approach my final week at a job I’ve enjoyed for the past twenty-six years, I’m again feeling the old anxiety, hearing the neurotic self talk peppered with ‘what-if-I’m-making-a-huge-mistake’ as I gather my wits, knowing another plunge into the unknown is looming.

I’ve learnt over the years that familiarity, loyalty and longevity in a job are rare and desirable qualities.   My distaste for change has worked in my favour in my choice of employment and I have no regrets.   The friendships formed over the years, the sense of belonging  and even the familiar surroundings have sustained me through some difficult times – times when I struggled with serious illness, loss and grief.   Walking in to see the same smiling faces, the same computer screen blinking at me and hearing the same cheerful receptionist announce my calls has been a blessing indeed.   

But somewhere deep in my bones I know it’s time for a new beginning.  Leaving the comfort of home, I set off on a journey.   It’s a weary climb up the steepest part of the mountain and pretty soon I’m standing shivering at the very top.  I feel frozen, standing still, with the cool wind rushing by, making it hard to catch my breath.  I know what I have to do.  I’ve climbed up this far, I can’t go back now. I wriggle my toes and get ready to take that step.

I shut my eyes and know that, despite my doubts and fears, God already has his arms out ready to catch me.   He won’t let me fall. 

It’s time to take the plunge!

20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  – Mark Twain

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. – Jim Rohn

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Have you ever wondered what difference our thoughts make?   We are often encouraged to ‘think positive’, but what does this really mean?   Unless you are a teenager or have attended lots of self-help seminars, you’ve probably realised, as I have, that we don’t always control our own destiny or have a lot of choice in the way our lives unfold.   Life can be challenging and tough.   But despite what is happening around us, do we still have a choice to own and manage how we think?

I’ve been meditating on some thought-provoking words over the past couple of weeks.   These words encourage us to focus on the positive, the life-giving and the beautiful, rather than the toxic slop the media like to dish up daily.   The last time I watched television I was treated to a mad-eyed serial killer justifying her seven murders, a graphic forensic investigation of a murdered corpse and a series of news updates of teenage road carnage, terrorist threats and the continuing chaotic unrest in the middle east.   I trudged off to bed, heavy with the weight of the gloom and doom I’d just emotionally ingested.  Surely somewhere on the planet something positive happened?  I was reminded again of the words which prompted my meditation:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.*

Last weekend I escaped with a group of friends to the South Coast of New South Wales.   We all yawned and lay around, relaxing after weeks of rushing around.  The soft breeze embraced  us, as we drank in the pure beauty of the beaches with aqua water and white sands, the dolphins jumping and playing in the waves beside our kids, squealing and splashing on boogie boards. We walked on the cool sand which massaged our tired feet as the salty air evoked childhood memories and hopeful dreams.

While I was away I pondered the quality of my thoughts.   A few days immersed in the beauty of nature helped me to shrug off the heavy bundle of anxiety and worry that was gathering on my shoulders.

But now, only a few days after returning home, I’m faced with an unexpected challenge.  On Wednesday I went to see my doctor expecting the big green tick of approval, and some happy chit-chat.   But instead I’m told that something is amiss.  Two days later I am sitting in St Vincent’s Hospital for more tests.  I wasn’t expecting to hear the words ‘don’t panic yet’ and to feel dizzy with dread. This wasn’t in the plan.  As a ‘cancer survivor’ the news has been sobering at best, terrifying at worst.   The ‘what ifs’ are building steadily, and the burden of worries is growing heavy again on my shoulders.

So how do I cope with my thoughts as I wait to find out the truth, when the future turns from bright and exciting to uncertain and grey in a few moments, and my worst fears loom like monsters hiding under the bed?

I’ve had a few days of telling God exactly what I think about this latest bump in the road of my life.   I’ve been threatening him, and bargaining with him.  At the same time, I’ve asked a bunch of good people to pray for me, as I know their prayers will make a lot more sense than mine at the moment.   Prayer has always been the invisible warm mother’s lap that I climb onto when my world falls apart.

While I wait for the verdict next week, I’ve been reading a lively novel, with authentic characters, a good dose of humour and some teary moments.  I’ve been drinking lots of tea and sitting in the warm sunshine.  I’ve been watching my boys perform their own rap songs, written today, and feeling the depth of my love for them.  I’ve spent time with good friends, drinking champagne and laughing.  I’ve noticed my husband’s thoughtful gestures.  I’ve indulged in some new clothes. 

I’ve been acknowledging the good things in my life, my family, my marriage, my kids, my home, my friendships, my job, my work with the women’s refuge, and the list goes on… As I focus on the positives, I look to the future, to the hopes and dreams we are working toward and I hope and pray that they will happen.   I want to walk the streets of London again with my family by my side, eat cheese with crusty bread and drink red wine in Paris, ride a gondola in Venice and discover all the magic of Disneyland.   I want to joke with Valentino Rossi and have a chat with Casey Stoner as we follow the MotoGP around Europe.   I want to see the joy on the faces of Chris and the boys when they discover how amazing the world really is.   And more and more, I want to write.

So I will think on these things –  the true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.   I’ll admit how little control I have over my life and what will happen tomorrow, no matter how much I love to organise and plan.  I will also hold tight to my belief that God wants the best for me and for my family, not the worst.

I’m off now to make another cup of tea and take my novel to my seat in the sun, and wait, hope and breathe.  Today I’ll live from moment to moment, then from hour to hour.   When the worrying thoughts arise, as I know they will, I’ll think about others who have walked this road before me, who found healing, strength and courage.  When the fearful thoughts knot my stomach with their intensity, I’ll think of the power of love and hope.  When the darkness threatens to consume me, I’ll think my way free.

* Philippians 4:8

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Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.     –  Oliver Hardy

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what does a messy handbag mean?  I’ve been carrying a bag full of mysteries around for months now.   Items disappear into its depths, never to be found again.   Finding my keys has become more challenging than finding Wally.   Today in a desperate move, I turned my bag upside down and emptied the entire contents on the kitchen bench.  Out spilt a remarkable array of colourful treasures.  

There was the usual assortment of keys, lipsticks, hairbrush, perfume, band-aids, muesli bars, used tissues, loose coins and several old shopping lists.    More unexpected were the paper clips, decomposing jelly beans, a single purple ear-ring, Pokemon toy, a Myers voucher I thought I’d lost and a business card from somebody I don’t know.   Had I really been carrying around all of this junk?

The state of my handbag is an accurate picture of my life right now.    Messy.    I’m well aware of the benefits of a balanced life, nurturing my children, working hard in the office, spending quality time with my husband, keeping in touch with close friends, helping out at church and in my charity work, allowing myself to grieve for my parents whilst trying to finalize their estate, and finding time to exercise, rest and eat healthy food.   Everything on the list is worthwhile, but right now each branch and vine of my life are tangled together like an impenetrable jungle.   When I try to focus on one area, I get caught up in another.   At the end of the day, I’m achieving nothing.   Emotionally, if not physically, I’ve entered overload territory.

If only it were as easy to tip your life out onto the kitchen bench and chuck out all the weird and useless stuff.   Today I did make a start.  I began the day with the gym which blew away a few cobwebs, I then visited the grocery store to stock the cupboards, and then cleaned my dirty house.   While I vacuumed and scrubbed, singing badly to my favourite Elton John songs, some of the tension began to melt away.    This thawing process made way for a feeling of peace and stillness.   I found myself meditating and praying about my worries and fears.    As I acknowledged some negative thought patterns, bad habits and too much busyness which had crept in unannounced, I mentally put them in a pile like the old jelly beans, paper clips and last month’s grocery lists, ready to be thrown in the bin.  

Yet if I hadn’t stopped today, the junk would have continued to accumulate and fester, weighing me down with depression and worry.    Time spent alone is not selfishness, it is self-preservation.   Every now and then we all need a day to clean up our messy clutter – whether it be in our handbag, or in our mind.   I still have a few decaying jelly beans and old shopping lists to deal with, but at least I’ve made a start.   

How’s your handbag looking?

Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (NIV)

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Have you ever done something stupid that makes you blush and cringe every time you remember it?   Yesterday I had one of those moments.  

It was my last day at work before a fortnight’s holiday, so I ploughed through the day, attempting to tick off my ‘to-do’ tasks and leave a clean slate.   I left work late and then headed to the local shopping centre for one of my least favourite shopping experiences – the quest for new swimmers.   The change room was as traumatic as ever, with the cruel fluorescent light enhancing all the wrong places.  I almost strangled myself with some cross over straps, got stuck in another very snug racing style number, and had to bite my knuckles to avoid laughing outrageously when I tried on a hot pink extravaganza.   Finally, I found a tasteful, comfortable, and unobtrusive navy blue one-piece and decided that it would have to do.

Feeling weak and wilted after this confronting experience, I staggered back to the elevator so I could slip out to my car and head home.   The elevator was empty, so I walked in and pressed the button.    The door closed gently and I felt the floor shudder slightly, wobble a bit, and then a red arrow began flashing,  indicating we were travelling up.   I watched the light.  I watched the light some more and it just kept flashing.   The wobbling had stopped but the flashing light continued.   All I could hear was the eerie howling of the wind.    The minutes ticked by and the realisation struck me that I was stuck in the elevator.

Swallowing back rising panic I read the instructions on the side panel.    In case of emergency, ring the alarm bell.   I pressed the alarm bell for five seconds, as instructed and listened to the shrill siren.  I heard a woman’s voice, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying.   I waited for a few more minutes and then pressed it again, for longer this time.   This time there was no voice.

By this stage, I was perspiring, trembling and could hardly breathe.  I wondered if I suffered from claustrophobia and just hadn’t noticed before.   All I could think about was my husband and sons, and how much I wanted to be home with them.  Would anyone ever find me in here?  How typical it was to be abducted from life just before going on holidays.    I pressed the alarm again, for much longer this time.   There was silence and the lift was perfectly still.

Then an idea struck me.   What if I try to open the door?   I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea.   What would it look like if I was suspended between floors?  Could it cause the lift to slip and crash to the bottom?  All the movies I have seen about elevator disasters seemed to suggest this.  Or did they?  I was panicking too much to remember.

I took a deep breath and pressed the button to open the doors.    The doors immediately opened helpfully and there I was, in exactly the same place  I’d started, outside the swimwear shop.  

Furtively I glanced from side to side, expecting to see emergency crews rushing to my rescue, but nobody had noticed me.    Quietly and avoiding all eye contact, I drifted out of the lift, and bolted up the stairs and back to my car, heart still pounding, and feeling utterly ridiculous.

It struck me that the feeling I had when I realised I wasn’t trapped was similar to a feeling I’ve had before.   Each time I stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs I hesitate, anticipating the pain I used to feel in my hips prior to surgery.  A part of me doesn’t want to take that first step upwards, but then when I do, the climb is so easy.   It feels like a miracle.

I’ve stayed in unhealthy and abusive relationships feeling that there was no way out, complaining, whingeing and letting the anxiety overtake me.    Yet each time I reach the point where I decide to stand up, walk away, and escape from the misery and hopelessness, the door miraculously opens for me.    Escaping the situation has never been as hard as escaping the mindset of being trapped.  It can be a shock to realise that the door has been open all along, waiting for me to walk on through.

My foolish moment yesterday led me to  wonder if I am still creating prison cells in my life.    One thing my faith constantly teaches me is the need to let go of fear and anxiety, and to allow God to mould me into a woman who embraces courage, adventure and freedom.    Only then can I live life to the full, and walk tall and strong.     Next time I’m feeling worried and fearful, I’m going to remember that crazy elevator moment, and reach straight for the button of faith to open the door.

Then you will know the truth, and truth will set you free.    John 8:32

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