I have had to overcome a lot of fear in my life more than I can possibly discuss in this short blog. I remember when I was eleven, I was afraid of scary rides that went upside down. You know like roller coasters and stuff. My best friends were twins and we went to the local carnival where there was this upside-down Ferris Wheel. I told them I wasn’t riding it so they asked me to just stand in line with them. When we got to the front of the line one of them hit me in the stomach and the other pulled me into the ride. I was kicking and screaming until I discovered I loved upside down rides!
I was afraid of the dark, afraid of bugs, afraid of failing, afraid of being hurt and the big one was afraid of death. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I grew up in a home where you had to perform to get love, so I really never knew I was loved unless I did something right. That means I never really knew what true love was. In my mind, I had to do things the way others wanted it in order to be accepted by them. When you’re the only black kid in the neighborhood that poses a huge challenge because in some cases I never could or would be accepted.
Our Fears are Rooted in Our Empty Love Tanks
Over the course of years, God began to teach me that my fears were mostly rooted in my empty love tank. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” This is not just a great saying, God has given us the key to overcoming our fears. My fears were directly related to not knowing and receiving love. Even when we accept Christ it doesn’t always mean we allow Him to wash us fully with His love. Many of us have learned to protect the areas where we have the most fear. These are the areas where we have been hurt, abused or attacked.
For many of us, when we think of love we think of a good relationship, a man or woman in our lives. A family, our kids, or just those who are important around us. That is not the love that God is talking about and explains why we still have so many fears when people who love us are all around. There is another love that only comes from Him and conquers all our fears and resolves all our doubts. We love Him because He first loved us. We love… because He first loved us.
My Love Revelation Experience
In 1986, I had one of the greatest revelations in my life. As God was teaching me how much He loved me. I was worried and frantic about many things. I was anxious and was complaining to God while driving to work on the interstate. I was talking loudly to God in my car, it was very early in the morning, the sun had not risen yet, so it was dark. As I complained going from one topic to another I thought to myself how would this whole scenario play out. How was I going to get out of this particular situation and so I said out loud, “so where will I be at this time next year?”
Then God rocked my world as He spoke audibly to me. I mean heaven roared and my car shook, His voice was like thunder. I was in California, so I thought we were having an earthquake. I looked at the cars around me to see if they felt the shaking, but it was so dark I couldn’t see them. Out of the thunder He spoke very clearly and firmly. I could literally write a book on that experience, but it was very personal, so I will only share this one thing which I believe He has given me permission to say in this blog today. Out of all of my fears and anxiety He spoke two words. He spoke before I even finished saying the last word and He said, “WITH ME”. In other words, no matter what I was going through and how I thought my life was going I would be with Him through the process. He would never leave me or forsake me, I was not alone and I would not need to perform to succeed. I was silent for hours after this occurred, His love was manifested to me in a way that I never understood or realized.
The Process of Living in His Love
Perfect love casts out all fear! It is true, when we understand what His love is. Agape love means that we will do whatever we have the power to do for another person’s best interest without any consideration of what it will cost me and I will gain nothing from it. Nothing! No relationship, no warm feeling, no friendship, nothing. I will do what is best for you because it is best for you, period. When we have a revelation of God doing this for us, we now understand His love and there is no longer fear. God began taking me through each fear in my life and replacing it with His love. I am now a risk taker, not because I like to live dangerously, but because I am no longer afraid to fail. I no longer need to perform. When God has told me to leave everything and move, it’s an easy decision because I know He loves me and He will mark out my steps. When things look like they have gone wrong, I know they have gone exactly like He planned them and I am good with His plan.
I’m not complete yet, there is still more work to be done in me, but I am no longer afraid. He has removed my fears because He has connected me to His love. If He has done this for me, I know He can do it for you!