Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Loving Away the Fear

Photo from SodaHead web site.
My children have died a hundred deaths in my imagination, and my heart has broken over and over again. My bank account has run dry; my house has burnt to the ground; my car has careened off cliffs and into trees; intruders invade my home on dark nights. Is it peculiar to women, this almost irresistible tendency to pre-live the possibility of tragedy and lie awake in midnight fear?

I remind myself that worry accomplishes nothing good. Fretting does nothing to prepare me for the actual tragedies of life, big or little, nor does my imagining a scenario provide some sort of mystical immunization against real danger. Quite the opposite, in fact. Worry interrupts my sleep, shifts my focus from matters of greater importance, and wastes hours I could more productively donate to joy.

As I pondered the relationship between worry and fear and our inability to feel love and fear at the same time, I began to chew on the possibility that incorporating greater love into my life could provide an antidote to the worry that gnaws away at my equilibrium. My ponderings led me to the scripture in 1 John 4:18 that reads:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

I sensed a key in that verse somewhere and began to study it in context. I discovered a rich lesson on love in 1 John 4. That "perfect love," the love that casts out fear, is the love of Christ. It is not my power or my love that casts out Satan and the fear and worry that he inspires, as if I could love myself up that tower of Babel to reach godly power. Rather, it is the love and power of the Savior Himself. Negativity and fear flee in the face of His spirit and His grace. 

My part, then, is to accept into my life the Spirit and grace that the Savior offers. I bring that Spirit into my life by loving others, by knowing and emulating Jesus Christ, and by trusting God. Believing that He loves me, trusting in that love, gives me the key to casting out fear. That ability to trust, to truly live a Christlike life, takes time and experience, repentance and work. Unfortunately for impatient souls like me, there is no shortcut. I come to know God bit by bit through the years as I study and as I hike the peaks and valleys of life. Fortunately, God possesses an extraordinary abundance of patience and a willingness to shower blessings and peace upon me just as quickly as I can open my heart enough to hold them. 

Ultimately, having the Spirit dwell in me and feeling that trust are gifts of God that I need to prepare to receive. The more I give place for the perfect love of the Savior in my soul, the more fear and worry fade away. As I cease to fear, I can eventually feel the peace of being "made perfect in love." Then what shall I do with those midnight hours? And how will the world spin on its way without my worry to hold it aloft?


  1. this post deserves to be read far and wide. is there anything I could say to encourage you to submit it to segullah? it's perfect as it is! ♥

  2. Don't you just love the growth that we achieve when we have a great question and search after the answer? Thanks for sharing the insight you received as you pondered upon this topic. I'm sure the truths you discovered are deeper in your heart than even these eloquent words can describe. Thus, the gift of the Spirit!