{Fully} Participate in Your Life

Participate in Your Life

How often do you shrink back from your purpose…from your life?  Do you participate FULLY?

I was recently listening to several excellent body image presentations from Mel Bosna over on Revelation Wellness VIPtv, and she encouraged listeners to “participate in your life.”  In a nutshell, she was speaking about stepping out and taking part in activities we’ve dismissed in the past because of our thoughts and feelings about our bodies; but the more I thought about it, the more I started to see how the phrase can apply to all parts of life.  What does it mean to fully participate in life?  Are there moments where I am failing to truly participate and be fully present in my life?

It’s one thing to go out and participate in an activity or sport.  It’s another to embrace the challenge and participate with your whole heart.  When I look back, I can see plenty of times when I’ve coasted along or gotten busy or pulled back…and chosen not to {fully} participate in my life.

  • Not swimming with my girls because I don’t want to wear a bathing suit in public.
  • Not speaking up when I have an idea because I’m afraid the words won’t come out right and I’ll look stupid.
  • Stuffing down feelings with food because I don’t want anyone to see my tears or hurt.
  • Staying on social media way too long because I don’t want to deal with the house/kids/you-name-it/life.
  • Keeping myself so busy with work and activity because I believe the lie I’m only what I achieve and do.

In these and so many other ways, I’ve made choices not to fully participate in my life.

And all of those choices have been rooted in this one thing:

FEAR.

Not that I’m looking for a scapegoat, but I come by it honestly.  From the very beginning of the Bible, we see fear rear its ugly head.  Remember Adam and Eve in the garden?  When they realized what they had done, they hid in shame and fear (Genesis 3:8).

When I’m not walking in God’s truth, I find myself doing the same.  I hide.  I don’t fully step into and participate in my own life.   After all, I know what I’ve done.  I know who I am.  Apart from Christ, I am overcome with fear…

Fear of failing and looking silly and not being in control.  Afraid of being not enough.  Afraid of being too much.  Afraid I won’t be accepted or liked.  Scared to be successful.  Scared to be unsuccessful.  Living in fear that my husband will leave or my children will die before me or someone I love will get terminally ill again.  The list of things I fear could go on and on and on.

Without Jesus, I would wallow in fear.  I would always hide.

But.

Love  Fear

LOVE > fear

LOVE > fear

I’ll say it again.

LOVE IS GREATER than fear.

If God is LOVE (and His word says He is in 1 John 4:8), He is GREATER…so much GREATER than any fear in this world.  Isn’t that good news?  Isn’t that amazing news?!!

I don’t have to walk in fear.  You don’t have to walk in fear.  We can walk in LOVE.  We can fully participate in our lives!

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. Isaiah 41:10 ESV

 

no longer a slave

That’s not to say it’s easy.  Even knowing the Truth, I can find myself hiding in fear and not being fully present in life.  I can get uncomfortable.  I can turn down invitations to live boldly–or even just to try something new.  But the challenge is still there:

Fully participate in your life today, because this moment will not come again.  Soak it up!!  Remember:  LOVE is ALWAYS greater than fear.

How about you?  Is there something you want to do, but you haven’t done it because deep down you are afraid?”  Can I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone?  Challenge yourself to do what scares you.  Pray for courage and boldness.  Get out there and FULLY participate in life!