I find it funny when people say I’m confident and courageous. I guess I have my moments, but a lot of the time, I still have a lot of fears. Some fears are so shameful for me that I can’t even bring myself to type them here.
A couple of weeks ago, my church community went through our annual start-of-the-year Prayer and Fasting Week. It’s a great time for us to focus, get rid of distractions, spend extended time in prayer, and hear from God. I came into the fasting week with all my anxieties, fears, and hopes.
On Day 3 of the fast, I woke up that morning with this Bible verse in my head:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
I’ve heard and read that verse many times before but this time it took on a special meaning.
You see, when I’m afraid of something, I’m always trying to manage the situation I’m afraid of, either by finding a way to avoid it, get out of it, or control it so that I experience the least amount of pain. I have this mindset that if only I can prepare better, if only I can sort out the circumstances the right way and the right time, things can turn out okay. What can I say, being strategic is one of my strengths. But the fact of the matter is, we can’t control everything. That’s not how the world works. For starters, you can’t control people, and unfortunately, there are still a number of people out there who scare me.
For me, it’s been years of protecting myself, finding solutions, fixing problems…it’s all been pretty exhausting. And then I remembered 1 John 4:18 and suddenly, a lightbulb switches on in my mind.
I felt like God was inviting me to take a break from protecting myself, finding solutions, fixing problems. Instead, I found myself praying that perfect love–God’s perfect love–would come into every nook and cranny of my heart and cast out all the fear.
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. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)