"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. We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:18-19 (NIV)
Recently, I have struggled with fear. I suppose I am not alone in this.
I lost my brother. A family member was injured (nothing life-threatening). And now, the coronavirus pandemic has hit like a tsunami. Each of these events produced some level of fear within my spirit.
Two common factors among these events are the unknown and a loss of control. And I suppose I am not alone in being afraid of the unknown or of losing control either.
I’ve been reflecting about the presence of fear in my life and how it has negatively affected me. Or more accurately, how I have allowed fear to negatively affect me. I allowed fear into my life not only during times of crisis but also in my everyday thoughts and reactions. My fear produced doubt, anger, shame, low self-esteem, self-destructive behavior and more.
So exactly what am I afraid of?
Being alone. Failing. Disappointing others. Hurting. Loss. Chaos.
Looking back over my life, I have determined one thing about fear. Fear is a liar. Fear tells the lies that I am less than, that I am alone and that I need control.
The Scripture above from 1 John speaks to me with its truth.
When I read that fear is about punishment, that made sense to me. I always have an underlying feeling (fear) that tells me I am not enough. That one day I will be exposed. That I am not in control. That I am not able to make a difference. I punish myself in my daily thoughts and actions trying to overcompensate. My soul fears accountability for the failures I know about myself. My hidden failures and insecurities punish me.
In reality, my failures and insecurities are not as well hidden as I think. Just ask my fiancée! And this is the bridge that connects with today’s scripture.
My fiancée has known me since I was 15 years old. She has seen me in strength and in weakness. I have failed her as I have failed myself over the years. But she loves me. Her love drives out my fear between us. I trust her because she knows me, and she chooses to love me.
As strong as our love is for each other, our foundation is built upon God’s love for us: we love because He first loved us.
The truth of God’s love for us shines a light into the darkness of fear. His love removes the lies of fear.
God knows me, and He knows you. God knows all of me, and God knows all of you. God knows our good, bad and ugly, and He chose to love us first. That’s freedom; that’s empowerment! We are free to dance, sing and love others unconditionally! We don’t have to be perfect, and we don’t have to expect perfection from others. We can humble ourselves and forgive others. We are not trapped in the bondage of fear, judgement and death; everything will be okay. No more lies because in the face of anything and everything, God loves me. And God loves you!
During these days of increased chaos and uncertainty, there is something we can do that will make a difference. We can choose to love and drive out fear.
If you are feeling trapped, uncertain and afraid of what is happening around you, I encourage you to act in love today. Write a note, send an email or simply smile at someone.So, what do you do when you find yourself trapped in your own home, wearing a surgical mask, stocked up with canned beans but no toilet paper? Make a call, send a text or mail a note of encouragement. Reach out to someone you know! Let them know you care and help drive out some fear! It’s a powerful choice, and it will make a difference. Together we can.
Yours in Christ,
The Salvation Army of Pickens County | Service Center Director