To not live by half

To not live by half Written by Shana Heslin

To not live by half

I was watching a classic Australian film last week when the movie's catchphrase reminded me of a principle I'm learning to hold dear in my own life.

The film, Strictly Ballroom, tells the out of the ordinary story of a professional dancer and his amateur dancing partner who together overcome their inhibitions to challenge the tightly regulated world of professional ballroom dance.

The movie's slogan is Vivir con miedo es como vivir en medias, which translates from Spanish as "to live life in fear is to half live".

This is an interesting concept, and one with which I can relate.

I'm no stranger to this unfortunate semi-life situation. I've always been an anxious person. I even find myself creating stress where it certainly doesn't need to be simply because I'm so used to it that its absence is unfamiliar.

Am I going to be late? Will I recognise my friends when I arrive? Are they even really my friends, or just pretending?

It's no wonder I don't go to many parties.

Though my examples are somewhat extreme, I'm sure the reader can relate even a little. These are just the small things. What about the major problems that arise in our lives and confound us for more than a moment?

When Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10), He is certainly not offering us a life that's half lived.

When He invites us to come to Him because His burden is light (Matt 11:28-30), He is not suggesting for us to BYO other burdens as well. He is offering us rest from the burdens of stress and uncertainty.

God has a lot to say about fear and anxiety. His message is always the same. If we cast our cares on Him, He won't let us fall. We're more to Him than lilies and sparrows; we're not to worry about tomorrow.

There are many passages of the Bible that have stood out to me with that enduring message of confidence, whatever personal trouble we face in life. God repeats again and again that He is with his people and when we follow Him we can safely trust in Him to be with us without end.

My favourite scripture is found in the first verses of Isaiah chapter 43. This message, once spoken to Ancient Israel, can be meaningful to God's people here and now.

"... I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honoured, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you..."


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Shana Heslin

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