I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Fear.” Write for five minutes; unedited.
“Lord have mercy”
Those are the only words I can seem to muster up as I heard about the shooting at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston last night. What has our world come to? Can we not feel safe in our own places of worship? Can we send our children to school without the fear that a shooter might come into their building? Can we not take the lessons we learned in Sunday School and share God’s love with ALL of God’s people?
When I hear these stories of violence in the world, I immediately feel fear. Because so often the media blames the violence on a person who is living with a mental illness. That maybe true…but not everyone who lives with a mental illness will resort to this violence. In fact, most of them will not resort to violence because they have gotten the proper treatment. Yet so many individuals are filled with fear because they do not understand. They do not understand that there is treatment. But more importantly, they haven’t asked the questions or learned about this very treatable illness.
Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am a daughter of someone who lives daily with a mental illness. She has taught me more about life and faith than I could ever imagine. She would literally give the shirt off of her back. She is a beautiful child of God who understands what it means to cast out fear.
“Perfect love casts out fear!”
And I truly believe that perfect love casts out fear! * God sent Jesus into the world for our sins. Jesus was never afraid to sit with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was always breaking bread with the outcasts and the downtrodden. Jesus was a world changer and boundary crosser! Jesus hung on a cross and uttered the words “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Again “perfect love casts out fear!”
What if we followed Jesus’ examples? What if we stopped and truly listened to each other’s stories? Wouldn’t we see that when we love each other, fear is tossed to the wayside and joy and happiness boil to the top? Doesn’t God call us to show love to each other; to show love from all ends of the globe to the next?
“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)
For perfect love casts out and conquers fear!
Last week, I wrote about Godly fear vs worldly fear. If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, here is the link: http://prayingontheprairie.net/godly-fear/
*This is where my five minutes ended. I told them at the Twitter Party that this would be one of those word prompts that would easily go beyond the five minute limit. Sometimes you just have to keep writing!
Oh how easily fear sneaks in! It’s an emotion that we all struggle with. The other day I was working on my newsletter article where I wrote about joy not fear. I talked about how fear comes into each of our lives. Ever since writing that article, I’ve been thinking about fear. As many of you know from some previous posts, I yearn SOOOOO DEEEPLY to be a mom, to have a husband, etc. I wonder what God is calling me to do and be! Am I suppose to adopt and start my family on my own? Am I suppose to wait; wait for the day that God will bring Mr. Right into my life? So many questions….but not so many answers! 😛 I have been praying about this every day since I began having this conversation in my head. I am definetely not at peace and know that I will be when God shows me the answer to my prayer. However fear plays in to because I wonder how my family etc will feel if God is calling me to this adventure and this calling. For now, I am clinging to the joy I see when friends get married, friends start having families, etc! Joy not fear………..
My good friend Bryant introduced me to a new Christian artist Jason Gray. His words speak so deeply to him. The song “Remind Me Who I Am” is something that I am clinging to. Who am I? Who has God called me to be? Who am I in this world? WHO AM I? Again trying to cling to the joy of who I am rather than to the fear of clinging to Who I am not!
JOY NOT FEAR!!!
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).” Or from the Message translation—“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
Fear is a crazy thing, isn’t it? It can be very debilitating to anyone of us. I think fear often gets in the way of trying new things or even living our lives. Because we don’t know what the outcome will be, we let fear take over but the truth is that God is with us in the midst of those fears. But even in the midst of God’s promise to walk with us, fear still sometimes takes over. A friend recently mentioned the possibility of a change for their family and this friend also mentioned that fear was taking hold. If they take this change on wonderful things could happen, but yet fear takes such a deep hold that we are afraid to go for it! Several other friends are battling cancer and in the midst of that struggle, they are being prayed for and held up by so many yet I know that all of them have had to face their own fears head on.
We need to learn to let that fear go which I realize is is so much easier said than done! But children can be such great examples of this. I think of parents who tell of their children who arent afraid to try anything! Hmmm….maybe we could learn something from them. This got me thinking about my own life. When I have let fear go, amazing things have happened. If I hadnt interviewed at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp, I wouldn’t have worked there for seven summers and never would have ended up at seminary. If I hadn’t gone to tour Wartburg Seminary, I never would have ended up there and made one of the most blessed decisions of my life. If I… If I…If I……
Fear likes to take a hold of all of us but I believe, we must take these words from the Old Testament to heart! God promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. Do not be afraid he says! So perhaps we need to let fear know whose boss and trust in our a God; a God who loves us more than we ever could imagine!
Fear is a crazy feeling, isnt it? The Advent One texts reminded us of how often fear can get in the way of our lives. This past year has been no exception. Harold Camping predicted that the world would end and then when it didnt, he gave us a new date, and when that day came and went, we were all still here. “For we do not know the day nor the hour.” Yet so many people found themselves wondering, what if he’s right. I remember a story a colleague told about a woman who is living in fear because of what is predicted in 2012. The colleague asked what she would do differently with her life if they are right. Martin Luther always said, “He would simply plant a tree” meaning he would just go on with his life! Yet how many of us are guilty of letting fear get in the way of living our lives etc! A dear seminary friend has been battling cancer. The operation was successful but then they found that that nasty “c” word had spread to her lungs. 🙁 Ive been simply amazed at her words as she has posted on her carepages site. Yes, she has found herself struggling and wondering why but one thing Ive noticed is she is NOT letting fear get the best of her….she is clinging to the promises of God. What a great example she is! I think too often we let fear get the best of us. I am just as guilty as the next person. What if I never find my Mr. Right? What if I never get the opportunity to be a mother and have a family? What if…What if…What if….and because of those what ifs, I let fear play in and am afraid to try new things. I am reminded of one of my friend Ben’s alltime favorite movies, “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy, the lion, the scarecrow, and the tin man all had their own fears/obstacles to overcome. During this season of Advent, I find myself clinging to the promise of this precious one who is born in a stable in Bethlehem and later dies on a cross in Jerusalem for our sins. This precious one comes to show us that fear will not have the last word but rather that God will!