Monday, September 15, 2014

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

The opposite of Love is Fear.  If you are filled with fear, you cannot love.  If you are consumed with love, you cannot fear.  Because perfect love casts out fear.  

For years God told me in my prayer times that I needed to grow in love.  I did not get it.  I loved my family just fine.  I loved my friends just fine.  I had ooshy gooshy feelings for my Hubs.  What does this mean, grow in love?  

Only in hindsight can I see what God meant.  

In the past I would hear God speak to me and tell me to do something.  I almost always ignored Him.  Write someone a letter of encouragement?  Nope.  That's embarrassing.  Tell someone they look pretty or how I admire them?  Nope.  I barely know them and that would just be weird.  Talk to that stranger who looks sad and alone?  God?  Do You know who You are talking to?  My mom said to never talk to strangers and I am sticking to it.  


So much fear.  

Too much fear to take a leap of faith.  Too much fear to actively love the people God was placing in front of me.  Until one day I was done.  Done being a shadow of who God created me to be.  Done being afraid.  Done hiding.  Done running away.  Done, done, done.  

I wanted to be an evangelist.  I wanted to reach out to the poor, the needy, the lonely.  I wanted to do so many things.  I wanted to be a missionary, somewhere exotic or in my own city.  I wanted to be a writer.  And in my head, I was really good at this stuff.  But where my soul longed for these things, my brain said, "No!  It's scary!  Dangerous!  You'll get hurt!  You'll fail!  No one likes you.  You are a wreck of a person, so what could you possibly have to say that would help people?"  

I used to hide who I really am from people.  Even from my Hubby.  But one day I woke up and decided that I was done hiding.  I went through some really dark times in my life all on my own because I was too afraid to seek help and support.  No more!  If I am struggling, I tell people I am struggling so they can walk the road with me.  Even if they can't actively help me or solve my problem, they can give me hugs and pray for me.  And that is often enough.

Recently I discovered that one of the gifts God has given me is to be a truth teller.  I tell people the truth about me, not because I think I have it all together, but because I don't.  I rejected fear and now I will freely tell people about my life.  Why would I tell people about my struggles?  Mainly I share because there is always that one person who is going through a similar struggle who needs to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

That mom who feels like an outcast because she can't get that nursing thing down and resorts to bottles.  Dear Momma, I've been there.  My kids have turned out pretty darn good despite being raised on formula.  That wife who isn't sure if there is any hope left for her marriage.  Dear Wife, I've been there.  I had my bags half packed when God smacked me upside the head and then transformed my marriage into something beautiful.  That woman who has struggled with depression or anxiety, but is too afraid to seek help because she doesn't want people to think she's crazy or incapable of handling her life.  Dear Woman, I've been there.  It wasn't until I hit rock bottom that I was willing to seek help from my doctor.  And I am eternally grateful that God brought me to rock bottom so I would realize I needed help instead of settling for a "good enough" life for the rest of my life.  

And now I get it.  Why God said I needed to grow in love.  I was so consumed with fear that I could not love.  I could not share myself with others.  I wasn't able to listen to other people share with my God-ears on.  I wasn't willing to take risks.  To reach out to people.  To love others.  I loved on the surface where I lived.  Now I live fearlessly and love deeply.  I love too much to be afraid.

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