I wrapped my brain around what I had just said as I saw the surprised looks on some of the other faces at the table. Maybe everyone should be backing away from me slowly, on the lookout for lightning bolts. Maybe the earth is about to swallow me up. I know God was listening. Did I really mean what I just said?
This morning I looked through old blog posts for evidence of my previous fear. I know that I used to be afraid of God. Honestly, some of them were hard to read. One word kept coming up though.
In one post I commented how God's love seemed a lot to me like the selfish love I'd already encountered in this world. (Love that left me broken, hurting, untrusting.)
In another post I made it clear I was taking John 12:25 literally.
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life
in this world will keep it for eternal life. ~John 12:25
I was totally scared God was going to make me miserable while using me for His plans... with the promise that "in eternity it wouldn't matter..."
If I could just endure, just get through this life without messing up, it would be a testimony for others to see and He would be happy with me... and that all mattered more (to Him) than me being miserable. It was exhausting. No wonder I was fighting Him all the time.
So what made the difference? Why did I stop fearing God?
The Gospel of Grace. Finally learning what grace really is and how it applies in our lives, I'm diving into a deeper relationship with Him and rising to the surface with a level of trust I didn't know I could have. Knowing that I am the righteousness of God in Christ, and that He sees me as perfect (in spite of my mistakes) breaks off the constant performance anxiety and fear of His consequences.
Don't misunderstand, I do believe sin still has earthly consequences. But I'm no longer living under the fear that one wrong move, action, or thought, will bring upon me His wrath or His indifference, the latter of which probably scared me more.
The word "gospel" literally means "good news" and the word it comes from is actually better defined as "nearly too good to be true news."
A God Who loves me, and isn't watching for the moment I make a mistake so that He can move on to someone more faithful, better suited for His work, or who isn't rewarding my faithfulness with indifference... for a girl who has spent most of her life fearing indifference and abandonment more than anything, that IS "nearly too good to be true news." And yet, I am fully convinced of its truthfulness, trusting God more today than I ever have... although probably a little less than I will tomorrow. :-)
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.
~1 John 4:18 NLT
~1 John 4:18 NLT