by: Laura Elizabeth Stephens
We all want to be known, to be loved, to be included. Our fractured souls are fearful of rejection & of one powerful lie the enemy is urging us to believe ... that we don't matter. The problem with fear is that as it creeps in it begins to smother love. And as love gets smothered, we become people who choose sarcasm, judgement, name calling and hate over grace, forgiveness, acceptance & beauty. We jump on one another's weakness because for a moment it helps us forget the darkness in our own hearts. We hide behind computer & phone screens to cast judgements on people we don't know because their life seems more beautiful than ours. The problem with fear is that it not only, keeps us from enjoying someone else's happiness but it also, causes us to abhor it. A mind consumed with bitterness cannot recognize the beauty in it's own life because it's become so addicted to despising every one else's.
There's a shallow power in withholding love. It makes us feel like we're in charge. We become the one's in control as we go through life picking & choosing who will get grace we've measured out in teaspoons. But the God we serve has given us an endless ocean of grace to cover an infinity of sinfulness. Enough to rid us of the fear that chokes out the beauty in our soul. 'For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven & cringing & fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power & of love & of calm & well balanced mind & discipline & self control.' God wants us to kill the fear in our hearts because He knows if we don't we'll become too paralyzed to love. Let's fight against the inner voices telling us that grace & love will only hurt us. We must battle the lies in our head that tell us power to withhold love is what we deserve.
CS Lewis offers this warning:
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything & your heart will be wrung & possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies & little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
May we be a people who aren't afraid to have our hearts broken because we know the Creator who can repair them. A people so confident in the God who created us that we love openly, without fear. Love is always worth it. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Plus, with a love like that? We have the power, through Jesus, to bring the glory of heaven to earth.