No Fear in Perfect Love

As I scroll through my social media accounts, I start feeling anxiety, frustration, and total disgust. In fact, a simple search of anxiety and social media brings up article after article describing the different types of anxiety and mental health problems that come from looking at our accounts over and over. Why is that? I mean, social media is not a nice place. It started out as a way to connect with far away loved ones, old high-school friends, and to see what your ex is up to and if you are still cooler than the person he is with now….Well, maybe that’s not what it was intended for. Who knows 🤷

The point is, it’s really none of those things now. It has become a source of shouting opinions the loudest, making others feel stupid for their opinions, and a breeding ground of fear over the things happening in this world. Is this at all healthy? I think that we can all agree that it is not. Probably each of us has been viciously assaulted by a post we thought as simple and witty while others couldn’t wait to make us feel shamed for our “insensitivity” or “lack of social awareness”.

“We need a new president!” “We need social justice!” “We need equality!” “We need freedom to make choices for ourselves!” “I need! I need! I need!” So many posts about equality and fairness for each person, yet there is no love behind it? There is judgement if we disagree on any point? There is cruelty and no compassion for those that make a mistake in your eyes?

What happened to giving others room to grow? Time to change? Freedom to have their own opinions? Love hopes all things. Love is patient. Love does not easily take offense. What about those things?

While social media is a breeding ground of fear and shame, many are disoriented and completely disillusioned in life. Everything looks bleak and hopeless. So, where does that leave us? Those of us that claim to have a God that protects us. We claim to have a God that brings us joy? We have a God that says to be anxious for NOTHING. Is that what others are seeing? How can we achieve that in our relationship with Him?

In fact, God goes as far as to say that there is no fear in love. It says that fear involves punishment and that if we fear, we are not perfected in love. What is He trying to tell us?

As always, it’s a matter of our hearts. Are we actually trusting Him? Do we trust that He created us and wants the very best for us? Of course, His best for us and what we think is best, may very well be different! God deserves glory in everything. So, do our lives of comfort and having every need met make us feel as if we need Him? Not usually. It’s all about the lens we are looking through as we live our lives.

Do I wish to bring Him glory in every, single thing that happens in my life? When I’m in pain, how do I bring Him glory? When my car breaks down, how do I bring Him glory? Is my first thought, “Poor me! I can’t deal with this right now!” Or, is my first thought, “God, what do you wish me to do in this situation? Wisdom, please.”

You know, I read the most amazing book a few years back and it’s completely stuck with me. Muslim women are very difficult to talk to because, often times, they are only allowed to speak with those whom their husbands have given them permission to speak to. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh put their lives on the line to live in Iran and witness to these women. It proved to be almost impossible due to having no access. After some time, they were put in the worst of prisons. Raw sewage, rodents, bad food (if any). Their response? “Thank you, Lord! You have given us unprecedented and total access to share You with these women!” Because they didn’t think of themselves and ask God why He would have done such a thing to them when they were so faithful, the ministry they had was unfounded! They looked at it as the biggest opportunity to speak to these women, completely undeterred! They had a captive audience instead of seeing themselves as captives.

Can you even imagine how much glory they brought to God? Can you imagine their welcome when they get to Heaven and see Him and how proud He is of them? What a beautiful moment! What blessings!!!

It sounds scary to us to think of being in a situation like that. However, the truth is that we don’t have what we need to handle it because God hasn’t put us in that position. He gives us what we need to handle in our lives only when it is time. I might feel overwhelmed by a big day coming up. Does it help me to stay up all night worried? No. I don’t have what I need to get through it yet because it’s not here yet.

We can rest in the fact that we have a loving God that delights in us! He says, “indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” He is always with us through all things.

Yes, the world is a mess. Yes, we could be headed to persecution. Yes, we are turning away from God in our country. Yes, yes, yes. Does this cause me concern? I certainly don’t like it! Does it cause me anxiety? No. Not anymore. I know that God is truly in control. He has proved to me over and over again that He will provide for me what I need when I need it. He has showed me numerous times how He holds me through the difficulties. My only question?

How can I bring Him glory in all of it?

Can I Truly have joy in 2020?

So, this about sums it up.

I knew we shouldn’t have raided Area 51! 😳

Here I was all excited about the new year and all the things we had planned…I don’t even need to elaborate. You get it. You totally get it. I mean, just imagine trying to explain to someone that just woke up from a coma what’s been going on for the last 8 months. I think I’d tell them to go back to sleep!

Seriously though, it’s been one for the history books. With that being said, how do we maintain peace and joy in a year when so many things have completely changed our way of life, when the world is so unsettled, and when everything is out of our control? We are quarantined without others to lift us up and help us out of our darkest days. I mean, COME ON! I haven’t even been to Target in 6 months!!! That’s how I know there’s a major problem.

Simply put, how do we maintain control when that said control eludes us? We get so caught up in our life plans that we forget to do the most important thing!

Ask God what His plans are and how He wants to use me!

Now, look… I’m just as guilty! I often wonder what is going on! It just seems like it’s all too much. The truth is that we do not wage wars of flesh and blood, but of the unseen. Social politics are at an all time emotional high and we are quarantined and unable to gather and pray together. We’ve been cut off at the knees!

The thing is, we get so caught up in our own troubles that we forget to look at the bigger picture. It’s not about us. Nothing revolves around us. That’s a hard truth. You’re welcome.

Instead, what are we supposed to do? Consider it an opportunity for joy? According to James, that’s exactly what we are supposed to do. Remember, it’s not about us. What’s happening here is so much bigger. How is God wanting to use us through this?

Look, it sounds unattainable and ridiculous. I know. But joy is a choice. It’s a choice to look up at the Light, hold His hand, and journey together. It’s a choice to hope. It’s a choice to be willing to let God use you in whatever way He will get the most glory! If my heart is all about that plan, I can’t help but chuckle and just say, “I’m glad You’ve got this because I sure don’t!”

The weight is gone. It’s not my problem. I can trust that I serve a God that delights in me!

The best part is that He gives us a simple formula. We don’t even have to figure it out on our own! He’s that awesome!!

There are so many verses that can encourage you! I can’t possibly even scratch the surface. All I know is that God is amazing. He delights in me. I want Him to have all the glory. I can rest in Him and give Him control (which I don’t have anyway!). My job? Rest in that, be full of joy, tell God what I need and thank Him for all He’s done and is doing in the madness. I will choose to focus my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable — things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

If this is where my mind is, I am not spun up by the news and the chaos around me. I’m focused. I’m at peace. I’m full of joy!

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