Fear isn’t something that I think about every day. Instead, it’s something that I only notice when I’m home alone at night, or when I’m driving in a bad storm and can’t see the lanes (those are two of my biggest fears!). But yesterday I was smacked in the face with truth about fear, love and God, and I realized that I have legitimate fears that keep me from having a deep and personal relationship with God. When I heard the message at church it was like something finally sank in, and the only thing I could do was pray.
From the beginning of the sermon, one particular fear wouldn’t leave my mind. My fear of the past. The past is over so there can’t be anything to fear, right? Well, not exactly. God has created a unique story in my life over the past four years or so, and it’s crazy to me when I reflect on what I’ve done, what I’ve been through, and more importantly what God has done and how he has changed me. God has transformed me from the inside out. Literally.
The fear that I associate most with my past is the out part. I am the same person that I was in high school, but if you knew me in high school you would agree that I’ve changed. Even though I can see goodness and maturity in the way that my appearance has changed, it is dramatic for people who knew me before. It can be scary and embarrassing to be seen by old friends and other people from home.
Are you lost yet? Let me fill you. In high school I briefly struggled with an undiagnosed eating disorder and was extremely thin my Junior and Senior year. God is continuing to redeem the brokenness in my heart that was associated with that, but this redemption didn’t come without a noticeable change in my appearance. I hope and pray that instead of seeing the dramatic physical change that I’ve went through, people will see the change that God has made in my heart and that they would see the true beauty of Christ that I now reflect.
So what else did I learn about fear today? I learned that an unhealthy fear is actually a result of a misplaced love. Surprisingly, fear and love are closely connected to each other. A fear of failure is really a love for success. For me, my fear of the past is actually a love for acceptance and beauty. Like many girls I desire to be accepted and thought of as beautiful by other people.
Fear shows us what we most deeply love and desire. I’ve learned that my love for acceptance and beauty can be completely met in Christ. I don’t have to earn my acceptance from God and I don’t have be a size 2 to be beautiful in his eyes. The creator of the universe already accepts me and he calls me beautiful. All of this is not because of anything I’ve done, but because of everything he’s done for me.
Fear also silences the truth and prevents us from experiencing the abundant love that the Father has for us. In God’s perfect love we can find hope and freedom from our greatest fears and we can truly live loved. I am still living in fear of the past but as I continue to be still in God’s presence, and surround myself with his truth I whole heartily believe that I will experience freedom from these fears.
I was so encouraged yesterday by the truth of God’s love in response to ours fear, and I want to leave you with some scripture that encouraged me.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:7-19)
Kati K :)
Kati K :)