Nearly every morning, I wake up, and it’s there; a gnawing sense of uneasiness threatens my every movement to get out of bed and live. I feel it when I sit down at the computer to write or when I pick up my guitar to compose a song — this dreadful sense that if I press in to the creative well, I will come up dry. If nothing is there, then I am nothing, and I won’t be loved. This feeling is Fear.
I find that Fear is the hidden demon lurking around every path to forward movement in the kingdom of God, the spectre that haunts the door leading to life.
Blocking the door, Fear tells tales of loss, betrayal, rejection, and death that await those who would dare venture into life. Sadly, we believe these stories and walk in circles.
Try as we may, the spirit of Fear can’t be overthrown through behavior modification or self-abasement. This enemy is defeated by the love of God.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV
When we were kids, receiving love* came naturally. As babies, there was nothing we could do other than call out for love and attention from our parents. We expected that our cry would be heard.
But then, as we grew into the independence of teenage years and early adulthood, a shift occurred. We learned that to get anything in life, we had to earn it.
The art of receiving love was replaced by the task of earning love.
Becoming aware of our “unloveable” traits, we perform and hope our achievements will cover the shameful places. And there stands Fear — telling us to hide, warning us not to be vulnerable, condemning us for not being good enough.
Clearly, we need the love of the Father. I need the love of the Father.
To receive this love means I have to surrender my hiding place. I need to put down my mask and show myself. With the posture of an open hand, I can access the love of God. What might change in my life if I did this?
If I believed that God truly loved me…
If I believed that I was free…
If I believed that my shame was gone…
I would create with wild abandon, speak with honesty and authority, and love with unrestrained passion.
*Thanks, Jody Mayhew, for processing the love of God with me and teaching me this. – Ben