Tag Archives: fear

the opposite of love

17 Aug

So I have been obsessed with my new favorite band of the moment – Mumford & Sons. I was just introduced to them this past weekend… by 3 different people… in the same day (coincidence??) I don’t know how it took me so long to “discover” them, but I’m thankful that it finally happened. I love their music.

There’s this one song in particular called “Sigh No More” (the title track of their latest album) that I just love because of these lyrics:

“Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free – be more like the man you were made to be…”

They paint a beautiful, powerful picture of love –but it’s not one that everyone has experienced. Some of us are fooled by what we think is love, only to realize later that it was destructive and controlling. For someone that has been deeply hurt by so-called “love” (something disguised as love) it can be hard to become a believer in the idea reality of love as a good, loyal, and freeing type of experience.

But that’s exactly what love is.

Its empowering… freeing… overwhelming even. I mean, I am far from the expert here, but I do know that there is power in TRUE, transformational, life-changing, action-filled L. O. V. E.

Love is NOT a prison. Real love doesn’t make you feel trapped and insecure and weak. It does the opposite. It empowers you to be able to live to the fullest possible extent – to where you can be all of who you are meant to be, without feeling held back and without fear. There is no fear in love.

“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.” – I John 4:18

Sometimes we get confused and think that the opposite of love is hate. But the opposite of love is NOT hate, its FEAR. Love is trust. Fear is the total lack of trust.

God wants to meet us exactly where we are –He wants to drive out all of our fears with His perfect love… so that we have nothing left to fear! Because fear has to do with punishment. A lot of people view God as having a list of rights and wrongs, punishing those who do wrong and only accepting those who do right. But God is not only on the side of those who have it all together. God is on MY side. Your side. The side of sinners and the side of those who fail and screw up and get overlooked. God’s love is about grace, not punishment. Its about bringing people together, not division.  His perfect love drives out fear – we have been forgiven, accepted, redeemed. Its about grace.

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That time I survived a huge killer wasp of death.

25 Jun

So I was sitting there, studying (hard to believe, I know) all alone in the dungeon (the office room on the bottom floor of my house) when I heard something. It was a slight buzzing sound. A buzzing sound that can only belong to certain …creatures. A sound that triggers something in my brain to freak out and causes fear to strike my poor little heart. And then, just as the fear started to sink in, out of the corner of my eye I saw it. In the air. Coming closer. Flying around. Flying towards me.

A HUGE FREAKIN KILLER WASP OF DEATH.

INSIDE my house!

Flying around trying to KILL ME!

And I mean huge, people. We’re talking like the length of a finger. A grown man’s finger. Like as long as a pack of gum. The stick kind, not the little Orbit pieces. Or like the size of those safety scissors for kids. And it was as if it grew as it flew! It freaks me out just thinking about it.

 

 

Pause: Some useful backstory on me: I hate bugs. Especially flying ones that sting. Or creepy crawly ones. Or just bugs in general. NOT cool. One time when I was younger I screamed bloody murder in the backseat of the car while my mom was driving and she literally had to pull off the road because she thought I was dying. She was very upset when she found out that I had seen a little spider on the seat next to me. She had to lie and tell me that she found and killed it before I would get back in the car. I would like to think I’ve come a long way since then, but I’m really not sure.

 

 

UnPause: So killer wasp of death is flying towards me and I am squealing like a little girl and using a piece of paper I had been writing on as a face-shield, and I freeze. Apparently I need to work on my fight-or-flight response. It buzzes around my face for a second and then flies back over to the sliding glass door across the room… maybe he was looking longingly outside, yearning to get back out where he belonged… or maybe he had simply relocated to plot his attack-strategy… I don’t know, and quite frankly I did not care. I was too concerned with how I was going to survive.

So I realize that I am all alone in the house and nobody can come to my rescue. So what do I do? What any good young American with access to the Internet would do. I announce to the Facebook world that I am about to be killed by a huge flying WASP OF DEATH in my own home, and plead for someone to come save me.

Of course that doesn’t really do anything except possibly allow the cops to figure out cause of death when they find me. So minutes come and go, and the death-wasp has not ventured back out of its safe-haven across the room, so I try to just pretend that nothing ever happened and the wasp is really outside and try to concentrate on studying again. More minutes pass and the huge killer-wasp re-emerges from its shelter. This time with a vengeance and furry as it recklessly darts around the air space between us. I am completely freaked by this point and, using my paper-face-shield, I flee from the room and up the stairs. Flight, not fight (or freeze) this round.

It is at this point when Friend #1 randomly texts me. I quickly respond with a “killer wasp of death trying to kill me please help” message, to which they reply with a laugh and a suggestion to call Friend #2 over to come kill it. I take this advice, as Friend #1 always gives good advice and it would be unwise of me not to. Friend #2 also finds the situation humorous but agrees to said act of violence against the evil wasp. Or set it free. Either way. Friend #2 says he will let me know when he is on his way, and I am much appreciative.

After a while, I venture back down the stairs in order to make sure I don’t lose sight of the wretched flying death-creature, and to hopefully continue studying if possible, and I see that it has relocated to directly above the front door. It wasn’t moving, just camping out on the wall above the door… trying to make me think it was “sleeping” or something, so I creep past it and back to the dungeon. I try to study some more.

Next thing I know, an hour has passed and Friend #2 is dead to me. Apparently the words “huge killer wasp of death” did not invoke a sense of urgency within him. Luckily though, at this point, the killer-wasp is still “sleeping” on the wall, and I cannot see it from the dungeon, so my nerves have calmed down quite a bit. It is during this time that Friend #3 calls. He needs to pick something up from my house. I tell him he is only allowed to do so if he kills/frees wasp-of-certain-doom. He agrees as long as I throw in a water bottle for the road. I tell him he can have as many water bottles as he wants if he gets death-wasp out of my house. Deal.

Minutes later, Friend #3 arrives, and I am perplexed as to how to open the front door with huge-killer-sleeping-wasp directly above it. With a deep breath and ninja-like moves, I quickly reach out, unlock, open, and back away from the door. Friend #3 is laughing as I point upward in the direction of the no longer sleeping wasp-of-death. Friend #3 grabs a shoe, throws it at the killer-wasp, and misses. I fear for both of our lives as now killer-wasp is angry, but Friend #3 swings the shoe some more and somehow, miraculously, death-wasp flies out the door into freedom.

Everyone should have a Friend #3.

And that is the story of how I survived the huge killer wasp of death.

risk

27 Apr

A turtle never moves forward until he sticks his neck out.

 

To move forward, you have to take some risks.

 

Check this out, the Bible is not a book that was written for our information, but for our transformation. When we choose to believe in the promises that God has to offer, when we actually apply those truths to our everyday lives, we will find the reward is well worth the effort.

 

Easier said that done though, right? In this life, it takes a lot of courage to risk everything on God’s promises. Like, when I put my hope in His promises, I’m pretty much betting my whole life on something I haven’t seen or experienced yet.

 

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)

 

 Which is where faith comes in I guess.

 

 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)

 

Maybe sometimes we are supposed to do things the hard way. If we constantly do the whole pain-avoidance strategy, playing it safe, never taking chances, never dreaming bigger than what we are now… because we are afraid to trust God, afraid He wont hold up His end, afraid He will disappoint, afraid He wont handle it the way we want Him to (the safe, easy, pain-free way we are comfortable with)… then we actually inflict greater pain on ourselves. It’s ironic. By trying to avoid pain, we end up with more of it.

 

For me at least, I feel like I actually learn more from my mistakes than my successes. Mistakes teach us more about ourselves, more about reality. Pain often does that I think. I try not to see mistakes as mistakes though – as long as I’ve learned something, it was worth it. And I most likely wont make the same mistake again. There’s something about “learning the hard way” that really sticks with you.

 

There are times when God invites us and leads us in a direction that we are scared or uncomfortable going, and we choose not to trust Him. But God has our best interests at heart. He truly, deeply LOVES and cares about you. He created you, He knows you better than anyone, and He wants you to reach your full potential – what you were created for! He wants your life to glorify Him.

 

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 

If you have God on your side, what is stopping you?? Anything worthwhile is going to be hard to get. It’s worth the risk.

 

Stick your neck out.

 

And don’t stop. Its not always going to work out. Pain is part of life. Embrace it. As hard as it may be. Because if you keep avoiding pain, you’re going to miss out.  Dream big and pursue those dreams. Take the risk to follow wherever He is leading you.

 

Don’t let fear hold you back.

 

And when you come to a painful place, hold fast hope. Hold fast to the hope that you have in Christ, the promises and truth that He has provided. If you walk away from Him when things get tough, you will never experience all the awesome things God can do in spite of your seemingly hopeless situation. That’s what He does best – take the broken pieces and put them back together, even better than before. Beauty from ashes. He wants to bring you out of the dark mess you’re in, and into the bright fullness of life that only He offers.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

 

Sin is reality. Pain is reality. Suffering is reality. Having God on your side does NOT mean everything is easy and pain-free, but it DOES mean that He is your ever-present help in times of need, your comforter, your protector, your peace that transcends understanding. He is love and He is good and He is on your side. He has a plan for you, He knows whats going on, and His timing is always perfect.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

So if you believe it, live like it.

 

In the Bible theres a story where Jacob wrestles with an angel (Gen 32:22-32). Now, I don’t presume to completely understand this story, but here’s the way I see it:  Jacob’s brother, Esau, wants to kill him because Jacob tricked him out of all his inheritance mulah. Esau is a big ol burly hunter with an army of like 400 bandits. Jacob is a little soft guy who likes to play with animals and talk to women. Esau could totally kill Jacob if he wanted to, which he did. So Jacob’s running away with his peeps to stay alive and they’re camping out one night, and Jacob decides to go off by himself to pray and be alone and sleep under the stars. Someone attacks him, they start fighting, turns out its an angel. (Weird.) They wrestle. The angel throws Jacob’s hip out of joint. Its uber-painful. Jacob keeps wrestling. All night. With a wrenched hip. He wont let go until he gets God’s blessing. The angel finally gives in a Jacob is given a new name. He goes from Jacob “the cheater”, to Israel “the overcomer”. The rest of his life he walks with limp. And a smile. 

 

Here’s what I get from this. Even when he is scared and in pain, Jacob wont let go of the angel until he receives a new name. He no longer wants to be known as a cheater, he wants God to give him a new name – he wants to be an overcomer. And God does just that. When Jacob cries out for God’s favor and protection, when he clings to His promise in the midst of a tough painful situation, God is faithful to bring him through. In Christ we are overcomers.

 

It’s a risk to live the life He calls us to. But it’s the only way to truly live. Don’t run from the pain, let God help you overcome it.