Fear in Love…

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment.” 1 John 4:18 (CEB)

I feel like a broken record these days (you remember records don’t’ you?) – music playing and then it hits a little scratch and gets stuck, repeating the same sound at the point of stuckness over and over and over again; to the point of agitation. That is how I feel about fear these days; so much of my life is based on choices out of fear rather than love.

Fear acts like a drug in my world – altering my consciousness, distorting my perceptions, leaving me wanting for illusion that have never existed, except in the darker recesses of my mind.

I feel uncomfortable sharing about how fear rules and ruins my life for…fear of looking stupid. I want people to see me and lean on me as a spiritual director, a shepherd to the shepherdless.

But if I am so damn scared, how can people come to me for anything?

I also have a hard time sharing this reality of fear with other people of faith because the hobgoblins of religiosity come out: quoting Scripture; trite expressions something along the lines of “if only you had more faith…”, blah blah, blah.

But then it happens, this sort of awakening. No, fear does not miraculously disappear from my life, but what does happen quite quickly is that giving a shit about what other people think of me dissipates into thin air. I am called by God to be real and authentic, and if my realness is more velveteen rabbit and ragamuffin than saintly, then so be it. Screw the naysayers, hobgoblins and the pedantic screaming voices in my head telling me otherwise.

I am real. I am ‘entheos.’

And I am scared to death to take risk that involves stepping out in faith. I do not believe God will magically catch me if I take a leap of faith (as the old adage goes). I do not believe I will sprout wings if I leap. Truthfully, I have more faith that if I took a leap of faith most likely I would fall flat on my face…

Ker-splat!

But how to counter act this fear poison thingy that ruins my faith.

What would happen if fear dies? What would my world look like if I truly allowed God’s all consuming Perfect Love to sink into my being so deeply that I made choices from that space/place rather than from fear? What would my world look like if I realized in my deepest being that there is nothing, not one thing, I can do to gain more of or lose any of God’s love (no matter what I do or do not do)? What would it feel like to live my life with nothing to lose and nothing to prove because I dwelt in the infinite love of God?!?

That, well, that would be a world worth inhabiting.

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Poetic Musings: God in our Midst

I want to live my life as if I believe God is in my midst,
not as theory but as a Living Presence.

I hunger for God.

I pine for my life to be a living reflection of the God I believe in.

I want my life to be a fount of God’s love –
limitless, lavish and lushly poured out for all.

God is not to be out done in giving or benevolence.

God pines for us, waiting for us until we are ready to taste and see the
great goodness and truth that surrounds us – the truth that God indeed is in our midst.

“Nothing is More Practical” (Pedro Arrupe)

Nothing is more practical
than finding God,
that is,
falling in love in a quite
absolute and finite way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed
in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you will spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love.
Stay in love.
And it will decide everything.

Minor Musing: Litmus Test of Love

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this [expression of love] everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

The most visible proof that Jesus is real and the ‘proof’ that I am – that we are – following Jesus is revealed by the answer to this one question: how we love one another.

It is not about how well I love the pretty, the well off, the ones just like me, or even how well I love the poor and wounded.

I believe the “calling card” for our faith is revealed by how well we love everyone.

The litmus test of my intimacy with God and the integrity of my friendship with God is shown to be abundant or lacking based on one proof: how well am I giving and receiving Divine Love. 

So, on this journey, I ask myself daily, “am I allowing God’s love to flow into me and through me out into the world?”

The answer to that Question is my spiritual litmus test.

“Consumed in Grace” (Catherine of Siena)

I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age.
the cheeks of the sun were pale before Him,
and the earth acted as a shy
girl, like me.

Divine light entered my heart from His love
that did never fully wane,

though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person’s
faith can at time flicker,

for what is the mind to do
with something that becomes the mind’s ruin:
a God that consumes us
in His grace.

I have seen what you want;
it is there,

a Beloved of infinite
tenderness.

“Praying” (Henri Nouwen)

Praying is not only listening to but listening with.

The discipline of the heart makes us stand in the presence of God with all we have and are: our fears and anxieties, our guilt and shame, our sexual fantasies, our greed and anger, our joys, successes, aspirations and hopes, our reflections, dreams and mental wandering, and most of all our people, family, friends and enemies, in short all that makes us who we are….

We tend to present to God only those parts of ourselves with which we feel relatively comfortable and which we think will evoke a positive response. Thus our prayer becomes very selective and narrow. And not just our prayer but also our self-knowledge because by behaving as strangers before God we become strangers to ourselves.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing

“Ruthless Trust” (Brennan Manning)

Wallowing in shame, remorse, self-hatred and guilt over real or imagined failings in our past lives [portrays] a distrust in the love of God.

Preoccupation with our past sins, present weaknesses and character defects gets our emotions churning in self-destructive ways, closes us within the mighty citadel of self and preempts the presence of a compassionate God.