Some say that when you reach your 40's, you're wiser and more spiritually in tune. Some believe you need to reach the age of 40 in order to read the Torah, otherwise the words will never be fully understood. They say it would be too much for the mind to handle. For me, I believe it's more of a spiritual sense whether you've developed it like a muscle or if you were truly blessed to reach that level of understanding. I guess for years I was more of a closet spiritual person, more of a closet Christian. Not to say that I was ashamed of my religion, but I didn't want to bump heads with anyone who believed differently than I did until I was well into my adulthood. At that point, I didn't care. I didn't care if people thought I was a "crazy Christian" or some kook who just had hallucinations of God Himself. It's funny, because I have friends that ask me a million questions about my beliefs and how to read the bible to where they're not so confused about it. They also ask me not to tell anyone that they've asked me these 'spiritual inquiries'. I'm more than happy to talk about it, or even help them understand how I interpret the book, because let's face it, that book is translated a billion times with different interpretations from each person. You have to develop your own relationship with God in order to truly read what's in the bible. Otherwise, you're going to read some scary stuff about God and how he's some massive force in the sky killing off the world. It's so much more than the natural and healthy fear of God. I get a lot of, "But I curse a lot, I drink a lot because I'm stressed and I'm so far away from being a perfect Christian -- I'm a mess!" We're all messy in some way. God loves us as is. If we weren't a big mess, we wouldn't need God to begin with. When you live a close to perfect life, somehow, or perhaps subliminally, you feel that you don't need God's help any longer. I welcome the messy situations in my life, the chronic pain that comes and goes, because if I didn't have all that, I wouldn't see the true blessings that come out of it, like being able to actually make my bed every morning and do housework. I grumbled about it in the past, but after having debilitating pain, I am more than thrilled to clean, do laundry and cook to my heart's content for my family. My pain makes me want to live. Same with money. If I had all the money I needed (or more so, wanted), I probably would take a whole lotta' other things for granted and not appreciate what I have right now.
It's all about perspective.
You've heard the ol' saying, "God works in mysterious ways" --- and it's for good reason. I've come to an understanding that I was destroying my body with certain foods and over-the-counter medications, to where I had to be hospitalized. Today, it's instilled in me to eat differently. If I hadn't gone through that awful and painful period in my life, I wouldn't be here today feeling better stomach-wise. I also have no need to remove my gallbladder as once suggested by a surgeon. So through God's path (and it can be confusing that He may have led you through a painful route), I am here today feeling grateful. The more of a relationship you have with God, the more you will "obey" His commandments --- not saying to live the perfect wholesome Christian life, but living a life doing less for yourself and more for others. Let me explain... They say (whoever "they" are), that in order to be happy, you have to be happy first. But what if that doesn't happen? The thing is, to get our own self-absorbed minds away from ourselves and reach out to someone who needs us. For instance, when a mother has her first child, she solely focuses on her child, ignoring her own problems or issues, which may have solved themselves on their own without her effort. What about, "Love yourself first in order to love anyone else"? Love is not only an emotion, but it's actions taken to show your love. Without the action, what is there? Words? ...Meaningless really. I make breakfast for Mad to show her I care. I clean up the house so that when Madelene comes home, she doesn't come home to a mess. I make an effort (or try my best) to make it at family functions because I love my family and extended family. These are all done out of love. Someone can say they love you, but where were they when you were sick or needed help in some way, or even just needed an ear so you could vent a bit. I'm not saying turn your friends into psychotherapists, but any relationship, whether friendship, marriage or family related ---- make the effort and go out of your way. That's love.
Insecurity pushes away true love.
The other day I was asked why I drifted away from a friendship. I looked her straight in the eyes and told her the absolute truth. "I was insecure about who I was and feared judgments of my friends and peers, so I went my own way and I'm so sorry." It wasn't easy coming out of the closet at the age of nineteen. But my mind said, "They'll never accept you," when in fact, they were willing time and time again to bring me back in. I'm pretty much your average Aquarian: the overanalyzing, over-thinking neurotic free-spirited person. That can be good or bad. I thought for the longest time, that my wife's mom was always angry at me just because I came into Mad's life. In my head, I thought, "Well maybe she blames me for her daughter being a lesbian." Wasn't so. I kept this in my heart and put up a lot of walls in the beginning. I never went to family functions because I was so fearful of judgments. And now, that I have finally reached out (even in fear), there are no judgments. It's all love, friendship and family now. I kick myself every single day for waiting this long to really connect as "family" -- and although I know it's my fault, I also know it was that scared insecure little girl trying to hide from anyone who "may" have judged me harshly. So, at my ripe age of being four months short of being the big 4*0 --- I'm realizing the important things in life, and I'm also realizing what's not so important. Family, friends, togetherness, love, laughter, and for me and most of all, a higher and richer relationship with God --- this messy ol' bat still has her faith more than ever. Throw away all the insecurities and in comes a whole new life full of everything you've ever wanted. Insecurity destroyed me.
There's a bigger picture.
It doesn't matter if you're white, black, gay, straight, skinny, fat, rich or poor. God loves us the way we are --- so who's to judge us with such righteousness? And why do we program our brains to think that we're being judged? Maybe because that's just human nature? But in the bigger picture, in heaven, in the afterlife ---- it's a whole different ballgame. There are no short, tall, big, thin, race or other --- it's just spirits connecting. Why can't it be like that here on earth? So from here on out, I refuse to tuck my life away in fear of judgments. I refuse to listen to people bashing one another, judging one another so harshly, when they have a lot of flaws themselves. And flaws are a beautiful thing! God loves us "as is" -- He loves that we have messy lives, which is why He sent His son down to save us. He knew we'd have trouble with sin or any other issue we may be facing. We can only do the best that we can and God acknowledges every single little effort we put into this life, into our family, into our friendships and into ourselves. Enjoy life while we have it and look forward to all that you have on the other side. Until then, I'm going to grab every opportunity to take action to let my family and friends know how much they mean to me. It's the only way. And it took me turning 40 to do this.