I am learning to be brave.
Not in an obvious way like scaling mountains, speaking to thousands or entering a war zone. Perhaps those endeavors await me in the future.
But for now, I am learning to be brave in love.
I am saying, “yes” to risky, extravagant love and, “no” to the fear which gripped my heart for too long. The fear of being left behind. The fear that in the midst of the calm, there is a storm brewing.
When I was eighteen, the boy I envisioned spending the rest of my life with moved across the country. We exchanged a few letters in the following months, but I never saw him again.
Although I now know it was for the best, at the time I was heartbroken.
My life is sprinkled with similar stories of people I fiercely loved either leaving or getting so entangled in the mess of life, it was as though they’d left. Though physically present, their spirit was gone. I became a recluse, afraid that any relationship I formed with someone would turn into a good-bye.
Somewhere in all the coming and going, I projected this fear of being left onto a constant, never-changing God.
When I confess my wrongs, I wonder if my slate is really wiped clean. When life is going well and I’m counting my blessings, I wait for the shadow. The other shoe lingers in midair, and I just know it’s going to drop.
These are the lies that haunt me. My enemy comes to me in my dreams, turning them into nightmares of mistakes which can’t be forgiven, accidents which can’t be reversed, and farewells that come far too soon.
I’ve had enough of living in this perpetual state of what if.
I want to trade my clenched hands for audacious abandon.
When the voice of fear overwhelms my heart, my Creator’s voice must become louder.
As I dig into his Word, I see that the voice of fear does not come from him.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 NIV
And there you have it. I have not been made perfect in love.
Does this mean I am not in Christ, and his Spirit isn’t dwelling in me?
No, my friend. It simply means the process is not complete. His Spirit is still working in me, and will continue to do so until the day of Christ Jesus.
Friends, we will never be perfect on this side of eternity. But the more we drown our fears and what ifs with the unchanging truth of his Word, the more like Jesus we become.
When I apply the Word to my anxious heart, I see that I don’t have to be afraid. I know no matter what circumstances lie ahead, my God will never leave or forsake me.
He is not waiting, like some reckless dictator, to take away people I love or punish me for every ill, misguided thought. He loves me with a consuming love which goes far deeper than anything I can imagine.
But we cannot remove the fear and simply leave a vacuum. We must replace the lies with his truth.
Let’s delve deep and form roots that go beyond the changing tides of the world today.
Let’s drink from the Living Water which never runs dry.
*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.