I find myself feeling challenged by three quotes.
The first quote is from Jorgen Roed who points out, “In all people there are two sets of feelings: One is fear; the other is love. If there is fear, then we shrink as a person. But love, wow! That can move mountains!”
As I reflect upon the way I was raised I realize that I grew up with certain fears instilled deep within me: the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking foolish, the fear of embarrassing my family. As a result, I focused much of my living on how I could avoid failure, rejection, the appearance of foolishness, and embarrassment.
I have learned in the realm of coaching that when an athlete focuses his or her attention on not failing, they cannot really apply themselves to becoming the best athlete they can be. They may prevent themselves from making bad mistakes on the court or on the field, but they rarely make the great plays either. As I have been motivated by fear, I have generally prevented myself from making the bad mistakes in life, but I have often shrunk as a person and have not moved many mountains. I am beginning to see that it is only when I truly live in the grace of God that I can gain a freedom from having to guard against the fears of failure, rejection, looking foolish, or embarrassing myself or others. It is only when I truly live in the grace of God that I can find a freedom to be propelled by love rather than fear.
The second quote is from Barbara de Angelis: “You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”
As I look back upon my life, I am aware of so many times when I have held back. While I have been driven by fear, it is natural to hold back. I also see how much I have lost by holding back. I don’t want to live a life of losing, so I am going to put more energy into loving than into holding back.
The third quote is from the apostle John: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
This verse become a good gauge for me: Am I living in fear or acting in fear or holding back in fear? That is evidence to me that something is missing in my love for God, or in my love for the other person, or in my embrace of God’s love for me. This verse then becomes a call to me to bring my fear to Christ and to ask Him to decrease my fear by increasing His love in me.