Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love and Fear.

Fear. How prevelant it can be in our lives--especially in mine. 

I have no idea why I struggle so much with fear. In fact, I never realized that I was fearful until after getting married, at which point it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not that I was not fearful before getting married; there were just more important things to deal with at that point. Now that the struggle of "what does God want me to do for the rest of my life?" is over (that is to say, God has taught me to trust him with that, rather than try to figure out what His will is before he cares to reveal it to me), I suppose fear is the next thing on the list that God wants to deal with in me.

Although my fears are many and quite varied in subject matter, one biggie--that is made especially apparent in marriage--is my fear of being left. 

The popular breakup song, "Breakeven," by The Script, is about a breakup where the girl leaves the guy she was with and has no regrets or grief. Meanwhile, the guy she left is heartbroken over her absence, mourning his pain and heartache, especially in light of his ex's lack of feeling over the incident. He asks, "What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you? And what am I supposed to say when I'm all choked up and you're okay?" Those lines so perfectly illustrate my fear.

I do not want to be the one who gives their all to a relationship, just to have the other walk out, not caring at all. I do not want to be left crying, while he goes out emotionless. I do not want to care if he hurts me. I do not want to sympathize with that song. I refuse to allow my heart to be broken. 

Now, I am aware that I am married. My husband did in fact participate in that covenent before God that both of us made to stay by each other, no matter how good or bad things are. And I know, in my head, that my husband would NEVER walk out on me. Loyalty is an integral part of who he is. I noticed that before we were even friends, which is part of what attracted me to him. Nevertheless, fears are not required to be based in reality or to be rational at all. 

Despite my husband's loyalty, I fear him leaving. I fear that he will radically change and decide to move on. I fear that someday, I will not be enough for him.

Honestly, I do not know how to resolve this fear. My rationale cannot say with one hundred percent certainty that he will never leave; sometims people do. I can say that it would be logical to assume that he will not leave. I can say that, morally, he would not leave. I can say that God is able to sustain us. But I cannot predict the future or decide what God has determined. (But God would never allow that to happen, I argue. And then myself reminds me that it has happened to others, so why not me?)

This fear does not stop with making me afraid. It continues to affect how I act and how vulnerable I allow myself to be. It brings out the perfectionist in me, in an attempt to keep him. It brings out insecurities about my appearance and my personality. It encourages jealousy and envy of others. It causes me to be overprotective. It encourages me to keep quiet about things that bother me. It makes me frustrated with him when he is not guilty of anything worthy of frustration. It causes me to hold him at arms length, because I do not want to be hurt.

The Bible says that "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Perhaps my struggle then, is not so much about fear, but rather about my inability to love. Perhaps I am not fighting a battle between fear and reason, but instead between fear and love. Perhaps I cannot conquer my fears with logic because fear is not something to be rationalized away. Perhaps fear cannot have a hold on me if love is present.

The problem then becomes my lack of love. I have never been able to measure up to 1 Corinthians 13. I cannot banish my fear by loving more out of my own volition, because I have none. I am incapable of loving the way that God has commanded.

What if, by sitting at the feet of Christ, I could soak up His love. And what if, by being rooted and grounded in His love, fear would have no room to remain? What if it does not matter who my husband is or what he does, but solely depends on an understanding of God's love, and His love flowing through me? What if it is not about my husband at all, but simply about my lack of understanding of the love of my Creator?

Who do I want to be? The first word that comes to mind is radient. Not simply physical beauty, but radience that comes from the inside, as in Psalm 34:5--Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed (HCSB). 

Is fear radiant? No. 
Is insecurity beautiful? No. 
Frustration, jealosy, distancing myself, distrust, overprotectiveness, a refusal to be vulnerable, are those things radient and beautiful? Do they speak of love and joy and trust? NO!

I want to be radiant. I want to trust, even in the midst of trial. I want to give all I am to the man that God has given me to. I want to love with abandon, whether or not it is returned. I want to be vulnerable even if my heart is broken. Beautiful women are not those who held back for fear of the unknown. Beautiful women are those who loved even when they were betrayed. And although I do not want the betrayal, and pray that God may spare me from that, I do want to love--not fearing what the result will be. If my heart is broken, God has a plan for it, but if that were to happen, I do not want to be filled with regret and wonder what would have happened if I had given my all.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."  --CS Lewis

Lord, I need you. I cannot love. I cannot trust. I cannot be radient. I am filled with fear. With selfishness. With pride. I need you to come in and fill me with your love. I need you to make me rooted and grounded in love. I need you to help me to understand what is the length and width, height and depth of Your love that surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled with your fullness. Lord, love through me. Enable me to let go of this fear and replace it with Your love. May I be willing to be open and vulnerable to love, as You have loved me.


  1. wow, maurie, there is so much here that i can relate to. where do i even begin?. . .

    oh, my life-long struggle with fear. it is so ingrained into the fibers of my being. something the Lord knows i long to be free from. i don't always understand it, either, but i sure do understand the struggle, friend.

    the perfectionism, the self protection, the attempts to conquer fears with logic -- wow. i have written about EACH of these things . . . you are NOT alone, maurie.

    and i smiled when you said the word, radiant. if you were to open up my HS yearbook & turn to the page where my senior classmates & i are featured, you would see the same question next to each of our faces: how would you like to be remembered?
    my answer? radiant.
    and just like you said. not with an external, fleeting beauty. but a radiance that can only come from the glory of God shining through me.

    and that c.s. lewis quote? one of my all-time *favorites!!*

    so did i mention there's so much here i can relate to? lol. truly, i'm so glad i hopped over here from beth's WW link-up.

    blessings to you, my fellow sojourner,

    1. Wow, that is amazing that you can relate so well to this post. My goal on this blog is to be honest and speak candidly about my struggles and joys in marriage in hopes that it will encourage someone else going through a similar circumstance with the hope that they are not alone, and that God is bigger. At the same time, it is nice to know that I am not alone either!

      The radience bit was just a bonus, I did not expect that to be relateable at all! Just a little quirk of mine. But that is very cool!

      And CS Lewis, definitely one of my favorite authors. So much insight!

  2. Wow, Maurie, you've really poured out your heart in this post. Thank you for having the courage--perhaps "love"--to be so open and raw about this wounded place in your heart and mind. I think that many more people than not will probably relate to this. It's sort of a universally felt and not always talked about issue. I'll pray for you in this and I trust that God is going to walk by your side, protecting and providing for you in this often cruel world. He is your hiding place, but don't hide yourself from your hubby! Trust me, I've done it, and it will get you where you don't want to go fast! Lovely words here and thanks for linking it up!

    1. Thanks Beth! I certainly hope that it is relateable for others. I firmly believe that the struggles we go through are for our growth and others' encouragement, which is what I aim to do.

      Thank you for the prayers and the encouragement. I really appreciate it. I know it will not be easy to let go of this fear, but with God, all things are possible!

      (And thanks for hosting the link-up! I enjoy linking up and reading the posts; everyone has a story.)

  3. Oh that fear is a harsh taskmaster, isn't it, Maurie. I pray that in the writing of these words, you will find freedom because the truth is on the table and you can look at it and handle it, and begin to release, slowly but surely, all the fearful stuff into the One who can do something about it.

    1. Yes indeed! Honestly, when I got halfway through this post I had no idea how I was going to finish it because I could not see a way around the fear. God brought to mind 1 John 4:18 as I was struggling with how to resolve the problem and gave me some application for it. Truly, as struggles are recognized, it does allow for a more clear view of how to release the issue and deliver it into God's hands.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Maurie, I have experienced the same thing. My fear of Caleb leaving me when we were dating was very raw and real all the time. But we must love like Christ has loved us and given Himself for us! Even though we abandon the Lord and sin against Him, He never ceases to give us all of Himself--all His love, all His energy, all His Word! I want to love like Christ loves us. Like you said, I want to love unconditionally. That verse "Perfect love casts out all fear" is one that I hang onto all the time!

    1. Exactly! When we consider how God has loved us, how could we not offer the same love to others, especially our husband? Of course, it is ONLY possibly by the grace of God. "Let us love one another, for love comes from God...We Love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:7, 19
      (That whole chapter is worth a good study and much memorization!) It is HARD sometimes, but following in Christ's steps (even slowly and falteringly) is ALWAYS worth it.