What are you filling your life with?
What we choose to fill our lives can influence how we view our lives and hold us back. If we focus only on the negative, that’s how we will see the world and others. We’ll be too afraid to try if we are preoccupied with what we can’t do.
In the 5th grade, I had the privilege of spending a weekend in a castle in Germany with my class. My memories of the castle details are spotty, but it had been turned into a retreat center with a hostel attached where we stayed.
I remember the castle grounds were beautiful, and the class had fun exploring the grounds. As we arrived, an overlapping class filled us in on the haunted status of the castle as they left.
Yeah, you read that right. Our school sent us to a haunted castle!
After a day of team activities and learning, we settled in for the evening. Sometime later, wailing split the night, and we ran to see where it came from.
What we saw shocked all of us.
An apparition clothed in a flowing white dress stood on the back wall of the castle grounds. Moonlight rained down on the scene, and the fifth graders chattered excitedly about the ghost until a teacher herded us back inside.
I explored more cautiously the next day to avoid running into the ghost. Braver classmates ventured out to the castle wall, searching for clues, but I held back. Let them figure it out.
That one incident colored my weekend. Life can be like that weekend.
We sometimes let the appearance of things or circumstances affect how we function. We hold back out of fear or anxiety without seeing if our beliefs are true.
Fear can be a good thing. It’s meant to help us protect ourselves in dangerous situations. On the flip side, it can also hold us back from opportunities. As adults, we often become fixated on the ghost on the wall—the circumstances—without digging deeper. We let the appraisal of other people affect our decisions when we should be focusing our sight on what is really happening.
Saturday afternoon, we learned the truth of the castle spirit. It turns out it wasn’t a ghost but a lonely, sad woman. She’d go to the pub in the evening and drink excessively. Often, after her pub time, in a melancholy mood, she’d climb the castle wall and sing. Her propensity to wear flowy dresses played well with the ghost story as those dresses waved in the wind, shrouded in moonlight.
Mystery solved, the fifth graders returned to enjoying the castle ruins and the rest of the weekend.
When how we view our lives holds us back, it helps to consider what it is about that and why it’s affecting us. Often what we think we know needs to be revised in light of what is really happening.
Let’s chat: Where do you need to consider if how you view your life is what is really happening?