What are you afraid of?
Maybe that's an eerie, heavy question to begin a new week on. It's still dark, foggy, and snowy out as I type this, so it's okay, right? I have my candle lit and Christmas lights on (because those stay up year round), so it's cheery as can be in here.
Lately, a common theme amongst conversations has been fear. A few weeks ago, one of my friends surprised us from Cali and we had a couple hour coffee date one Monday morning that she was here.
At the time, I wasn't sleeping great. I was stressed and worried about something coming up, and was having a hard time not thinking about it constantly. I can know and trust with my whole heart that the Lord has everything under control, but that doesn't mean I don't struggle with it walking through it. One thing she kept saying, Fear isn't from the Lord. Insert praise hands. She's so right.
Why fear? We hear in a song on the radio, Fear is a liar. We read in the Bible, There is no fear in love. We hear from our friends, Fear is not of the Lord. So, why do we fear? We find fear in the very areas of our lives in which we should be thriving, in the very areas that the Lord wants us to truly be living and loving.
We fear in living.
We ask ourselves.. What if I look different than everyone else? What if they judge me for doing this, for being that? We become complacent in our daily lives because we've decided that it's better to just do that than to stand out. We forgo our God-given talents and passions because we're afraid of what life might look like if we pursue it. We're given opportunities, friendships, relationships, moments, talents, that God wants us to grab hold of, but then we get in our own heads. Don't do that to yourself. You are unique. You have talents and qualities about you that no one else in this entire universe possess. Don't live a half-lived life because you're afraid of what others will think, because you're afraid of being behind or ahead of where others your age are at in life. That's one I struggle with sometimes, but can I tell you something? This journey has been nothing I would have expected it to be, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Time and time again, whenever I've been afraid to take a step, each time the Lord has provided in ways that I cannot even describe. I wouldn't have anticipated it or dreamt it, and with each decision, each opportunity, wherever I was, the fear.. it dissolved, and instead was replaced with such peace and joy. I know that with each step, if it's what the Lord wants for me, there is no reason to be afraid. There is no fear because He will provide, He will guide, and He will give a life that is far beyond anything we imagine. It's the best life, and He wants us to live it. Just take that step with Him. He is faithful every single time and He's never going to leave you. He created the stars in the sky, the mountaintops, the birds, and every little tiny and huge thing in this universe. He wants to give you the life He created you to live.
We fear in loving.
I'm sure many of us can say we've all had our fair share of heartbreaks, insecurities, unhealthy relationships or friendships that have given us a skewed representation of love. We fear being our true selves in fear that we will be too much or not enough. There isn't a rule saying that by being our true self and being vulnerable and open to someone you care about, that they can't just walk away unexpectedly. There isn't a rule saying that someone can't cheat on you, because unfortunately, it happens. It's a sad truth, it's a hard truth, and it can cause insecurities on a deeper level than what we as humans already experience. We put guards around our hearts like the Great Wall because it's easier to keep people at a distance than to let them in again and chance being hurt. I don't know what you've been through. I don't know if or who or when someone caused you pain that's caused fear for you in loving. All I can tell you is what I have learned and what I've walked through is this. Yes, it can be incredibly hard to trust someone and love people after you've been hurt. I'm not even talking about relationships, but just loving people in general. It can be scary to be vulnerable, to open your heart. I won't lie to you, I had the Great Wall up around my heart 80% of last year. But as I grew in knowing who I am in Christ and understanding His love for us, something hit me.. There isn't any reason to be afraid. There is no reason to be anything other than myself and love anyone that He puts in my path. The stranger in line at the grocery store, coworkers, people I see everyday. Sure we might be hesitant to love on people, but what I've found is doing so brings me so much more joy than it would have if I'd just kept to myself. That doesn't mean I'm exempt from being afraid, because it still gets me sometimes. But when I do, I remind myself.. Jesus didn't choose who He loved. He loved the beggar on the street, the widows, the sinners, the saints. He loved them all. Why can't I do the same? 1 John 4:18 reads.. There is no fear in love. Sure, some people won't always accept that love, they might think you're crazy or not understand how you can love them, but that's the thing about His love. It doesn't have to make sense. He died for us when He knew we were going to fail Him. And yet, we're afraid to love the very people He's putting in our lives? If He's in it, there's no reason to be afraid. Maybe the saying is true, it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
So this week, I challenge you to live unafraid. Be you. Be bold and confident in who you are. You are one of a kind. You are enough. You are so very special and you are so very loved.
Give someone a hug today (or five!)
Happy Monday, beautiful people. May your week be full of living, taking chances, pursuing your passions, and love, love, and more love.
And hey, by the way, I love YOU.