The Magic House…
A magnificent old house in St. Louis filled with everything a child (and adult) longs to play with but doesn’t realize yet. There is nothing commonplace or boring. Unique excitement awaits around every corner and in every nook and cranny. A three- story slide, a secret room behind a bookcase, a shadow room, a static electricity ball that makes your hair stand up on end. I could go on.
I’ve been going there since I was a kid and I just went with my kids and one of my mommy friends two days ago. Every time I’ve gone with a mommy friend we wind up feeling exhausted. There are many opportunities to feel…out of control…especially on a busy day and when you’re outnumbered by the kids you’ve brought. Two of us. Four of them. A one year old, two four year olds and a seven year old. There are just so many ways to lose a child in that place and it was swarming with people. The Magic House is a child’s dream but, on a busy day, perhaps a parent’s worse nightmare.
Nothing tempts me toward fear and worry more than my children being in potential danger. It might run in my family a bit. My grandpa was the master at making sure his loved ones were aware of the dangers out there and the rest of us down his line tend toward the same. We joke about it but…this acute awareness to dangers may not be so funny.
Many mothers I know have this awareness that seems to haunt them. We don’t laugh about it. Over time it can become confining. Living a life with this awareness and making decisions based on it…can become a lifestyle. It can turn into a life based on the fear instead of a life grounded in the God who takes away our fears.
My friend and I talk about fear on the drive to the Magic House. Before we experience the madness of the crowd and the opportunities to lose our children. We discuss our lack of fear before becoming moms. Our ability to live unencumbered by fear as young adults. We are shocked at what we “survived”. We compare stories of making courageous decisions and living life as an adventure. There is a sadness that some naïve thinking is…gone. We are…more confined.
I want to be aware of dangers but…I don’t want it to drive me. I don’t want it to be the ONLY thing that influences my decisions. So I’ve been working toward that for some time. A good friend of mine told me recently that she wants to, “Make courageous choices each moment and every day…not fear based ones.”
I want that too.
I want that for my children.
So back at the Magic House. My son wasn’t thinking about fear when he climbed the stairs. I was. I saw the kids almost twice his age climb the stairs and enter the pretend ductwork that runs over my head. I saw the screens that, perhaps, didn’t let much light into the ductwork. I felt… panicky. Were there lights in there? What if he had an asthma attack? What if I didn’t know and I couldn’t hear him call for help? What if those big kids messed with him? There was a lot of ductwork before getting to the slide where he could be free after all of this. I put on the calm face but…those were the thoughts. I watched him climb more stairs. Pensive.
He forgot his courage and turned around to look at my eyes. His eyes asked if I was sure this was OK. I snapped out of my stream of thoughts and realized that he needed me to be confident. If I was going to make one of the courageous decisions that was the time. I smiled and said, “You’re OK…go!”
He disappeared into the darkness. He didn’t turn back. I was surprisingly relieved because I realized at that moment that he makes courageous choices as he watches me do the same.
I remembered my earlier decision that day. We almost didn’t go the Magic House because of some challenges. The night before, I talked to my friend and it looked like things wouldn’t work out. I was a bit relieved because the weather didn’t look good. They were calling for severe thunderstorms and rain. I wanted to stay in and be safe. Not a bad desire but…the actual chance for this was about 50%. I noticed the next morning it had changed to be even less. My friend called early and said that the situation had changed for her and she COULD go. She wanted to know if I would enter her craziness and go now at the last minute. Everything in me wanted to say, “Nah…we’ll just stay here…safe and sound instead of making that hour plus drive.” But I also knew that I needed and wanted to invest in this friendship. I needed and wanted to provide a fun activity for my children. I wanted to follow God’s leading in my life to move toward decisions based on who He is vs. my fears. I felt that nudge to make the courageous decision and I went for it.
What is courage anyway?
My husband always tells my son that it isn’t a lack of fear, but it is facing your fears. It’s being afraid but going forward anyway.
So what does it mean to make a courageous choice…what feeds my ability to go forward anyway?
That question makes me think of another question a pastor of mine asked on Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago in regards to sharing the gospel with people:
“What influences you more–God’s word or the culture around you?”
Now that is a great question in regards to sharing my Christian life and beliefs with others.
It’s also a great question to ask about the choices I make.
What influences me more…God’s Word and His truths about who He is and who I am in Him or…my fear.
My theology feeds my ability to face my fears.
By God’s grace, I am intentionally seeking to make bold choices based on His Word vs. the fears that seem to be ingrained in me.
While some of those fears come from real threats, I have to weigh those threats against the reality of those threats really playing out AND the reality of who God is.
When I make a decision only looking at the threats to me and my family, I tend to make fear-based decisions. These decisions do not glorify God in my heart, mind and life.
So what are those truths about God that feed courage to face my fears?
He is our Caregiver…so I am cared for.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
1 Peter 5:7 cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
He is with me…so I am not alone.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
He is my protector…so I am protected.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 91:1-3 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
Psalm 121:7-8 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
These truths protect me from a wasteland cycle of fear-based decision making that can come so easy for me. Instead it leads me to Graceland…a place of thinking upon the truths about my Heavenly Father and who I am in Christ.
What would it mean for you to make a courageous God-based decision today vs. a fear-based decision?
Maybe you have some big decisions to make or…maybe they are small ones like giving a confident look to your kid as HE makes a courageous decision. Perhaps I won’t make the boldest decision every time as there are real dangers in this life that I do need to consider. But making who God is be a part of my decision and going forward in confidence in that, is what I’m shooting for.
Whether they seem big or small, my daily decisions are all opportunities to glorify God if I take into consideration the truths I’ve been given about Him.
How could you glorify God in your decision-making today?
Visit these great sites that I’m linking up with this week:
*I do not know who the photographer is for the above picture. I found it on Google images.