Talking ’bout fear

One of my favorite songs is by Christian singer-songer Carolyn Arends. It’s called “Seize the Day.” The song was released in 2000 but continues to be one of my all-time favorites.

The lyrics for the first verse and chorus are:

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan/
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin/
She is an author, or maybe a poet/
A genius, but it’s just this world doesn’t know it/
She works on her novel most everyday/
If you laugh she will say/
Seize the day, seize whatever you can/
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand/
Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand/
Then nothing will stand in your way/
Seize the day

As you can guess, the song caught my attention because it talked about a writer. And at that time, I aspired to be one. To be that girl working on her novel every day, despite what anyone said or thought. To be that girl who was “seizing the day.”

Carpe diem, translated from the Latin means seize the day. The first time I heard that phrase was in the 1989 movie, “Dead Poets Society,” starring Robin Williams as the eccentric and off-the-wall teacher at a stuffy prep school. He encouraged his students to “make your lives extraordinary” and taught them the phrase carpe diem.

That always stuck with me, the idea of living a non-ordinary life.

One of my favorite Bible verses, and one of the first ones I memorized as an adult, is Ephesians 5:15-16:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

The word “walk” refers to our way of life. And that word “circumspectly” means “watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent.” In other words, be careful about what you do, where you go, who you hang around with. Make wise decisions.

All of this is closely related to how I naturally tend to live my life. I am a cautious person, a non-risk-taker.

But my favorite phrase here is “redeeming the time.” The word “redeem” means to offset or counterbalance something bad with something good.

Because we live in an evil world, the followers of Christ should be the light in the darkness. The love of Christ in a world of hate. The good in a world of bad.

And to me, it’s also another way of saying “Carpe diem.” Seize the day. Make your life extraordinary.

I would love to say I do this every day, but the reality is that I don’t. I want to, but I’m afraid. I worry about making the wrong decisions. Going down the incorrect path. Making mistakes.

And that holds me back from a lot of “seizing the day.”
The last verse of the Carolyn Arends song says:
Well I know a man who’s been doing some thinking/
He’s as bitter and cold as the whiskey he’s drinking/
He’s talking ’bout fear, about chances not taken/
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking/

Did you catch that? Fear. Chances not taken.

That’s me so many times. I’m working on it. God is working on me about it. I’m not there yet, but I’m on the journey.

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to “talk ’bout fear” on the Fear Warrior blog. I met the owner of this blog at last year’s ACFW conference. We chatted about our shared fears of … well, just about everything. And she invited me to write a guest post for her blog.

You can hop over to the Fear Warrior blog to read what I said about facing the fear of the deep unknown here. Please stop by, leave a comment, and share with others. I pray that the message God gave me to share will resonate with you as well!

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