by Sharon Swing, Co-Author of Listen to My Life
The ‘My Life Now’ map in the Listen to My Life process asks about one’s lingering question. Most people may need to ponder what lingering questions they are asking God or themselves. My lingering question emerged slowly over a few weeks.
“What would it be like to let God’s love eradicate my fears?”
About 20 years ago, I read a book by Larry Crab called “Inside Out” that proposed that we arrange our lives to avoid what we fear most. I think he’s on to something. It is a humbling thing to think about what I fear. Some of the fears or factors that modify my choices are about what I assume others expect of me in ways that are tied to my past. That falls into the category of ‘image management’ and that is not how I want to live! But, what would it be like to be free of any factors other than God’s will for my life? What would it be like to let God’s love, acceptance and grace for me be the one and only thing that factors into what I choose and what I do?
Without realizing it, I can make choices to allow my past and what I’ve learned from life experiences to weigh in more heavily on my choices than what God would have me be or do. I find that fear pulls me away from God, and love leads me toward Him. I’m learning over time that God’s choices are freeing. They don’t carry shame and guilt, and they are invitations for me to be freely loved and for me to love others without conditions. These choices are not without risk, and they don’t always feel safe. However, in God’s economy, they move me toward giving and receiving love and grace. That is the way I want to live!
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4: 17-18 MSG
Deeply respect God, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively. Back up your promises with his name only. Deuteronomy 6:13 NIV
Dear Lord, Help me to recognize when I react to life’s circumstances out of my default responses to my past experiences. I need your help to be released from my fears and to choose your ways for my life. I want to choose to recognize and respond to you, Lord, only you! Amen
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