I sat there trying to process what I’d just heard.
Everyone was standing, singing, but my legs wouldn’t carry me.
“Everything is either love, or fear of loss” he had said. Wow. Never had I heard all of life explained quite so simply before. Never had I realized every decision and emotion in my past had been motivated either by fear or love.
We don’t often have guest speakers at our church, and I am so glad Ted Dekker was invited that morning. He had such a shocking perspective on life, that just made so much sense. It was both new and 2,000 years old, like climbing into teachings I had heard a thousand times before yet hearing them for the first time.
As Ted was telling stories, I couldn’t help thinking about my everyday decisions, and emotions:
In the morning, I rush my children and I feel stressed. Why? Because I don’t want them to be late for school. I’m afraid they will be late for school. And I don’t want them to become adults who are late all the time.
I don’t take the time to sit and play with my kids, or even read books with them spontaneously because I’m afraid I won’t have enough time to get everything else done – laundry, clean the kitchen, make dinner, mail those packages, contact these people. Or I rush bedtime because I need me-time. And I’m afraid I will lose those precious minutes if I linger.
I feel jealous of so-and-so, because I’m afraid I am being left behind, and won’t ever get to be where they are at.
I work and work and say yes to too many things because I’m afraid we won’t have enough to live on and accommodate 4 children and the needs & hopes of our international family.
Can you think about your life and your decisions for a little bit?
Do you say ‘yes’ to too many things? Why? Are you afraid you are not enough, and you need to prove yourself all the time?
Do you say ‘no’ all the time? Are you afraid of losing your comfort, your routine? Are you afraid you won’t know anyone at the party and will be alone and uncomfortable?
Do you say nothing for fear of being misunderstood and losing other’s approval?
Are you keeping toxic people in your life – you know the ones… they suck out your energy and give nothing in return; they leave you feeling empty and rob you of self-confidence – because you fear losing a ‘friend’? Or you fear you have failed in helping/rescuing them? Or your fear upsetting relatives?
Do you avoid confrontation because you’re afraid of conflict? Do you fear losing peace or even a friendship for a little while?
Fear is everywhere. We are raised on fear, and we teach it to our children: “Be careful!” “Watch out!” is all we hear coming from our mouths at the playground. It makes me sad that brave young souls are taught danger from the get-go.
We fear loss of comfort, so we agree with fear and call it wisdom.
We go to bed with it at night and wake up with it on our hearts in the morning.
What if we chose love instead? What would that look like?
There is no fear in love… I used to think the opposite of love was hate, and the opposite of fear was trust. Actually, hate is also a kind of fear, that usually comes from ignorance.
And we can try to trust or have faith when we are afraid, but really that is fighting fire with fire. It doesn’t work.
The only way to get rid of fear? Let it go. Step aside, turn the other direction, move a position. It’s kind of like forgiving. Letting go of a heavy coat that no longer fits us.
Try it. Face love, really look at it, and think ‘what would it look like to choose love right now?’
It would look like tiny stolen moments with my children in the midst of busy weekday mornings. I would look at their faces instead of the clock. I would hug more, laugh more, use my patient and kind voice.
I would enjoy, I would actually delight in the precious, small humans under my roof – instead of seeing them as an inconvenience in the way of my favorite shows, work, or a clean house.
There would be giggles and tickles, lots of small moments knitting us together with trust and joy, so that when big moments come we would share those too.
I would let go of relationships that entangle and rob me, and choose love, like oxygen, for myself.
Choosing love over fear means celebrating others and their big moments with a heart full of joy… oh what freedom!
It means saying yes, and saying no, and feeling a brand new peace from those decisions, made in a new light.
Now go and choose love.
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Keren is a world traveler, wife and mother of 4 children -who keep her on her toes! In a past life she has worked as a Registered Nurse in pediatrics, Montessori assistant teacher, blog writer and French teacher. Her days are now filled with caring for her kids, managing two health and wellness communities -one in French and one for English speakers- as well as educating others in natural remedies and how to make everyday products using essential oils. Her favorite day is Sunday, when she gets to enjoy church community with her husband while kids are having a good time!