Monday, March 22, 2010

Fear Has to Do With Punishment

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I have been having revelation lately just how ingrained my way of thinking about the Father's love for me is.  We talk about strongholds and pulling them out by their roots, rather than just chopping off branches so that they end up growing back.  This area feels like I keep pulling and pulling and the roots just keep coming and coming.  These roots are so tangled around my heart that I have a hard time determining truth from lies.

I grew up in a house with a father who traveled a lot for work.  Due to sleep apnea, when he was home, he was tired and grumpy.  Both of my parents were highly involved with my life and I always felt loved.  I also felt a lot of pressure to succeed and do well in all I did.  My parents pushed me and prodded me to do my best.  The problem was that I was already wired to want to please.  I was already wired with my own perfectionist tendancies.  Add all of this up and you end up with a recipe for disaster. 

I felt my whole life as though I were only good, pleasing and acceptable if I was succeeding.  I don't think my parents intentionally did this, but I received a lot of praise when I did do something well.  I was actually pretty good at almos everything I tried.  Soon, I became addicted to earning the praises of those around me.  Try harder. Work harder.  Meet expectations.  Perfection. Perfection. Perfection.

The battlefield in my mind started young and was reinforced at every turn. 

Fastforward to present day and what you have is an adult woman who has been working for years to pull this way of thinking out of her brain.  This way of thinking: that performance equals praise, pleasure, and blessings, is exactly how I see the Lord.

I wrote in my last post about having the faith to follow the Lord even if He asks me to give up everything. But, I am also only human.  There are a couple of things on that list that at this point would feel more like punishment to lay down than anything else.  This is especially true because I feel quite a few of those things are major heart's desires, if not outright words from the Lord that they will come to pass.

It makes the thought of giving them up that much feels like I've done something wrong.  There is a real part of my way of thinking that needs rewiring.  This is the crux of my earlier post about 1+1=932.  I simply cannot wrap my brain around a God whose economy does not include earning His love/approval/blessings and who does not withold those things when you've missed the mark.

I also know, that for me to fully be able to lay my life down, I must understand this in a deeper way so that I don't try to hang on to things for fear of losing them or try to make my heart's desires happen because I am afraid that I won't be able to be "good enough" to earn them.  It makes the verse about fear having to do with punishment that much more understandable to me.

Romans 12:2 says:  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  I feel like this is so appropriate.  If I have a worldly mindset about who God is, if my mind is not transformed, then there is no way I can know what God's will for my life in any area is...not in my decision about Call2All nor anything else.

At the end of the day, this is probably more of my wrestle than anything else I going on. This is the one thing that all of my struggles boil down to. This one thing: what the character of the Lord is.


No comments:

Post a Comment