Did you ever face a situation which scared you silly but you chose to do it anyway out of love for another person? I have!
You see, I've face many trials in these last forty years, that could have kept me in a prison of my own fears. A tentative person by nature, I learned to overcome timidity and fear in order to advance good causes for which I believe. When I first stood on the platform at Alfred University in 1994 to share my story as a survivor of domestic violence, I quivered and quaked but sucked it up and went out there anyway.
I made a choice to love the individuals in the audience enough to get over my fear and show the support and encouragement that might be a lifeline of hope to someone in my pre-survivor state.
I was offended by an abuser, a "man of God" who was a wolf in sheep's clothing and a philanderer. If you can't trust a pastor, who can you trust? Prior to and after that, I had been in several spiritually abusive environments and as a result, had to choose between becoming a skeptic or loving people anyway. If I allowed fear to hover over me, it would have crippled me for life. So I struggle with the choice. Fear or Love? Do I love others enough to jump out of my comfort zone and take risks to help them? Or do I stay in my quiet closet of fear and self-protection.
If I chose the latter, I might never have adopted through foster care the very special children with which I've been blessed. I might never have crossed the threshold of a church again and never had this love to offer to others. I would never pursue a career in writing because the lack of confidence would keep me from sharing the hope I have inside. The message which I have to express would be lost behind feelings of anger, bitterness and hatred.
No! That is not for me. I choose to believe what the Apostle Paul said in 1Corinthians 13-14. Love is a better way. The message of love is interwoven into the New Testament. In 1 John, we are told that perfect love casts out fear.
I aim for this perfect love. My love is still being cultivated and matured. I am reminded of this when I feel awkward helping a friend with something others might think was simple or inviting some one to my home. When my middle child signed up for a missions trip to an inner city project, fear was my first reaction. I fought it with love. I made a choice. "Lord," I prayed through clenched teeth, "I love my son and want what is best for him spiritually, physically and emotionally. He feels led to go on this trip and will learn so much about serving You and others by going. I love the cause that he and the group are there to support and further. I choose to love the recipients more than myself." Though I made a verbal assent, the choice to love had to be a continuous one. I didn't want my son to be away from me for a week. I didn't want to worry about him...The wants and self-love list goes on and on.
This afternoon, I am making another love-choice for the sake of my youngest son. There is a reptile show a town away. My son would LOVE to attend it. I am petrified of reptiles. I rarely saw them while growing up in Maine and I certainly never saw poisonous ones.
This may seem trivial to you but to me, it is the end of the world for me to be in a room with reptiles. But we are going. Why? Because my son loves them. He doesn't know and will be a very great surprise so that he will feel loved and special for one more day while he plays only child and his brothers are away. I choose to love... not fear. Well, it's time to leave now but I will come back with an update and some pictures. Meanwhile, I'm swallowing that fear-AGAIN. Or spitting it out.
Come back soon for more on this topic and an update on the trips!