It really is rather pointless to tell someone not to worry, not to be afraid of what might happen. We worry anyway. We play the worst case scenario over and over in our head sometimes to a paralyzing point. The fear keeps us from moving ahead or even visualizing something any less than disaster.
That can be how it is with aging. Some of us just can’t face the fear let alone defeat it. The future with more unknown burdens and pain is just too much to bear. We are tired of the long battle and filled with dread about what may lie ahead so metaphorically we draw up our knees and sit all huddled up with our heads tucked in …and we don’t move at all. This may not be vibrant living but it is what we know and where we feel the safest, but fear suffocates living.
Conversely, to be bold is to act despite the risk. Usually interchangeable with bravery, or even valour, a word used very little today, we often read that it is the absence of fear. I disagree. I disagree because if you are not afraid there is no need for courage. I would agree however that being bold and showing valour means being vulnerable. Let me give you an example.
As I’ve mentioned before, I went to Africa when I was in my 50’s finally following a lifelong calling. Many people told me it was such a brave thing to do. Not for me it wasn’t. I was too delighted and excited to be fearful. I had waited to do this all my life and honestly, courage never entered into it. Yes, in hindsight I may have placed myself in a vulnerable position going there alone but that never played any part in my decision to finally go. I’d known I was called to do this since I was a girl. There was such great joyful anticipation, fear never crossed my mind. Much to my amazement, when I came back home I was presented an award by a community organization, “Bold Woman of the Year!” Though I appreciated it very much, I just never thought of myself in this way. Now if someone had said to me, drive this tractor trailer around this empty parking lot, for me, that would have taken all the courage I could muster. There is a huge difference.
What demands our bravery often varies from person to person. Courage in your life may look a whole lot different than it does it mine. For some it may be getting out of the house again or inviting someone in, or changing or adding to their routine by joining a group, or learning or renewing a long desired skill that’s been left on the back burner. So you see, the bold task, whether seemingly big or small, is huge to the one doing it. It’s personal. Comparison is the enemy and it can be extremely detrimental to any forward movement. Fear is the opposite of love. Go ahead and feel the fear before it stops you dead in your tracks. It can be a dangerous abyss of depression, one you may not even recognize you’re in.
Seniors are uniquely positioned to either enjoy this time of life more than any other…or become stagnant simply holding steady in port. It’s all about courage. If you want to live each of your remaining days to the full, here are some key points to being bold.
1. Learn to rest when you need to. It’s ok to treat yourself well. No one can take care of your physical and mental health but you.
2. Speak up when you need to.
3. Accept that putting yourself first is often what is best. It just makes the most sense...and in the end it is ultimately a gift to those who love you.
4. Learn to say no…and ditch the guilt when you do.
5. Try saying yes to something new. Shape your own adventure.
6. Move ahead even if it’s at a turtle’s pace… recognizing it is a very bold move.
Do you know the Bible says, “Fear not” 365 times? That’s one for every day of the year. So, in other words, you shouldn’t be afraid one single day of your life. But how? After almost 70 years into my own journey, the only time I truly don’t worry is when I boldly leave my issue totally and fully at Jesus’ feet. God has equipped us with all we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable without being so afraid that we can’t move. He tells us this over and over again.
He rescues us. Isaiah 35:4
He fights for us. Deuteronomy 3:22
He calms us. Psalm 23
He never leaves us. Deuteronomy 31:6, 8
He gives us perfect peace. John 14:27
He conquered death for us. 2 Timothy 1:10
So go and live …
…Be Bold! Be Bold! Be Bold!