Fear always creates distance and divisions.These have been some questions that I/we have wrestled through on this topic recently...
-Compassion by McNeil, Morrison, and Nouwen
- Am I teaching my children that God is Love only sometimes and other times angry and controlling?
- How are we as a family showing Love to our guests that come to our house for the food pantry? Are we treating our guests as friends or as food pantry recipients who must wait until 4:00 sharp to be welcomed inside?
- Are we creating an atmosphere where are children feel included or left out of this "family ministry"?
- How can we give our children room to be creative and involved in their own special ways?
- As part of the Church (disciples of Jesus, as a collective group) how are we encouraging one another in our faith? How are we allowing room for the gifts that the Spirit has given us to do "even greater things than Him" (John 14:12)?
So, the Lord has had His way with me for quite awhile. Sometimes more than others depending on my mood swings. But the most important thing He has taught me how to see is how fear has interwoven its gnarly vines throughout my habits, thoughts, and relationships. He has somehow pulled me out far enough to give me glimpses that have provided me with understanding in how I can change and do things in Love rather than Fear.
This is hard and completely backwards to our humanness. It requires desire for the fruits of the Spirit, desire for a heart like His, patience that comes from the Holy Spirit, persistence that comes from the Holy Spirit, and ultimately surrender and trust in Our Father. Basically, it takes the power of God to squeeze out love from our puny little selves.
But, oh, it is satisfying!!! It is like when you finally stop swimming against the current and let the current take you where it wants to go. It is scary, out of control, and exhilarating all at the same time. And the best part is that all you have to do is let go.
And all of that white-knuckling seems silly afterward giving you confidence that you can maybe even do it again. ;)
In love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love. 1 John 4:18
Our third child, Eva, has given me lots of opportunities to try this "letting go" out. It's not fun and often I find myself white-knuckling again. Fear has gripped me more times than not with her and I pray that I have not ruined her for life many times a week. Most of the time it is because she offends me with her fiery little tongue or sassiness. Ultimately I have fear that I have lost control of her. As if I had control in the first place, ha! My fear creates a desire in me to rise up and put power over her, creating fear in her. Not good.
The quote above is truth. Fear does create distance and division. I don't want Eva to distance herself because of her fear of me. I want her to learn to come close to me in her moments of fear, sin, mistakes and confusion. I desire to be a conduit of His Love for her creating a safe place to grow and learn.
I want to be a conduit of His Love for my husband to be who he is and not what I expect him to be.
I want to be a conduit of His Love for any guest who walks in my home to experience love, respect and honor as a child of God.
I want to be a conduit of Love for His Church, the Body of Christ, so that we can be a safe place for one another to lean on and be encouraged by.
And finally I want to be a conduit of Love to show the world that there is another way to live.