Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” What happens when you are willing to do that?
I’m not sure why this memory came back to me today, but about six years ago we went out riding with our motorcycle friends on a long, leisurely, calm, dry ride to dinner. Now flip what I just described 180 degrees and you will know what the trip home was like. It was none of the above. The moment we stopped on the driveway in front of the garage I jumped off the bike and literally kissed the ground.
To thine own self be true? Let me just say my own true self came through. My fear factor got a good workout and my spirit of fear had been fully engaged on the back of that motorcycle! Suddenly I felt a truth that could have made all the difference during the pounding rain and flashing lightening. I had not said one word or prayer during those treacherous minutes when I was gripped by panic. What happened there? To thine own self be true.
I know 2 Timothy 1:7 by heart “For the Spirit God gave us does give us a spirit of fear, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. “ I was true to my own self instead of being true to my faith. Instead of being true to my own self, I could have acknowledged my fear, God’s protection, and prayed through it. I could have been willing to put my own self aside and lean into God’s promises to provide my needs – like safe and uneventful travels. **
Something else happened that night. It was late, too late to break out my computer and work. You know how Ben Franklin said, “Early to bed early to rise ….” But I remembered a commitment I had made to someone to have something researched for them the next day. My own self told me to wait till morning and dash through it, but the other side of my own self told me that procrastination was a bad plan. Just like I didn’t know we would ride comfortably to dinner and face anything but comfort on the way home, I didn’t know what lay on the opposite side of sleep.
I learned two lessons on the back of the bike that night. When paralyzed with fear, pray. When I’ve made a promise, don’t put it off till later. Pray through the difficulty and get it done. At 1:00 (yes, 1:00 am) I finished the project and slept.
The next morning, I either had an allergy attack or had a cold that bulldozed into my immune system. “To thine own self be true. “ Not this time. You see, Shakespeare, that’s not going to work for me here. My own true self says to have a pity party. But you know what’s wrong with pity parties? Nobody wants to go. Instead, I didn’t exactly bound out of the house, but I did a little bounce to get started. I could have peeked out from behind the protection of my front door and tested the emotional atmosphere to see if it was safe to venture out. I could have mumbled something like “Good Lord, it’s morning!” But “Good morning, Lord!” has a much better ring to it.
I’m sure I have colored far outside the lines of Shakespeare’s intended meaning, but I know that my own true self can be fearful, selfish, prideful and uncommitted. I don’t want to be fearful; I want to be faithful. I don’t want pride to get in the way of the life God gave me. I want to acknowledge that everything comes from Him. I don’t want to gripe because of emotions that act like storms and winds that coming at me with monsoon force. Instead, I want to be able to say what David says in Psalm 130:5 “I pray to God—my life a prayer— I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
I am willing to examine my heart and realize I have choices: fear or faith; pride or humility; joy or misery – ____ or ____ (fill in the blank)
Willing is the first step and if you aren’t quite there yet, maybe you could start with being willing to be willing.
Life is tough. Pray hard.
** This is a Five Minute Friday submission. The instructions are to write freely for 5 minutes, then post your thoughts. At this point ** I had expended my five-minute time allotment but was not finished with my thoughts. If you would like to join the Five Minute Friday community, it’s as easy as going here https://fiveminutefriday.com and learning all about the weekly prompt.