FiveMinuteFriday_Fear

I’m so thankful I can incorporate my one word, thankful, into my favorite Friday activity – Five Minute Friday, which I confess takes longer than five minutes for me to compose because I’m a deep slow thinker, but only takes five minutes to read. That counts, right? This week, the word is fear. 

GO

What are you afraid of? What stops you in your tracks?

I’m not afraid of typical things like spiders, needles, the dark, heights, flying.

I’m afraid of people. The things they’re capable of doing. It takes a lot of effort for others to get past my security system. My guard is always up. The armor and stuff.

I’m afraid of spending money on stuff. Not having enough to survive. Even though I’ve never completely run out of money.

I’m afraid of turning away from the Lord like I did when I was a child the next time something really bad happens. It happened once. I don’t ever rule out or think I’m so awesome it couldn’t happen again.

I’m actually quite afraid of my job. Being responsible for the care of broken people. Ironic considering I’ve been doing my job for 30 years.

I’m afraid of not pursuing the things God has called me to do, of giving up, quitting. But Fear cannot be the thing that stops me from living. I refuse to let it stop me! That would be the greatest tragedy of all.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Nelson Mandela

STOP

Happy Friday!

to love again

Job’s agonizing story is not our own, and yet there are parts of his questioning, lamenting posture before God that offers a sense of human solidarity and the disrupting hope of a restorative God in the fragile midst of that humanity. After all of the suffering and death early in the book, at the end of the book, Job has seven more sons and three more daughters. Old Testament Prof. Ellen Davis makes the important note that this is not a “replacement” of the children Job lost, as if that were even a possibility. Rather, she suggests that the “clearest expression of the renewal of Job’s mind” is “his willingness to have more children.”Job knows all too well the realities of loss and human fragility. And yet, he pours himself again into the lives of fragile, mortal children. Davis powerfully concludes: “this book is not about justifying God’s actions; it is about Job’s transformation. It is useless to ask how much (or how little) it cost God to give more children. The real question is how much it costs Job to become a father again. How can he open himself again to the terrible vulnerability of loving those whom he cannot protect against suffering and untimely death?”

I have an honest to goodness deep-seated fear of love.

Oh, I’m good at the superficial forms of loving behavior such as compassion, mercy, sympathy, empathy. But real, true, deep love?

If you’ve been following my life story at all, I’m sure you can see where my fear of love was born.

This morning, I read the above quote in an email I received. After I became a Christian, the book of Job was the first book in the Bible that I was led to read. I really love the book of Job. God spoke to me so much through this one book. He revealed a lot of my inner stuff to me through this book.

What I find striking about the above quote, is the perspective of Job’s love and faith in God giving him the strength, the courage to start over, have more children, love those children, and pour into those children.

Sometimes I wonder if God is doing the same for me? Is he allowing me the strength, the courage to examine my past so that I’ll be able to get past this terrible fear of love? Bringing me full circle that I might be able to have an intimate, loving relationship again?

Because at some point in my life, I stopped believing in human love, the way a child stops believing in fairy tales.

And so in this one important thing, I pray, help my unbelief.

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Linking with Jen for Unite the Blogosphere , Kelli for Unforced Rhythyms, and the SDG Gathering.

He seeks and saves

Just read a great little book called Prodigal God by Tim Keller. I loved it. In the book, Mr Keller dissects the parable of the prodigal son in a way that really gets to the heart of grace.

Prodigal

—adjective

1. wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.

2. giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually followed by of or with ): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.

3. lavishly abundant; profuse: nature’s prodigal resources.

Mr Keller goes on to show that not only was the son prodigal in that he blew all his inheritance in reckless living, but that the father is just as prodigal in lavishing gifts and restoration to his younger son upon his return. He also tries with all his might to do the same for the stubborn elder son who is angry when the younger returns.

Here is a picture of how God comes down to us, to recklessly, lavishly give to us what we don’t deserve, His unconditional love and mercy.

Here is just a taste of some thought provoking quotes from the book.

Here, then, is Jesus’s radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge just as each son sought to displace the authority of the father in his own life.

There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good.

Jesus does not divide the world into the moral “good guys” and the immoral “bad guys.” He shows us that everyone is dedicated to a project of self-salvation, to using God and others in order to get power and control for themselves. We are just going about it in different ways.

This means that Jesus’s message, which is “the gospel,” is a completely different spirituality. The gospel of Jesus is not religion or irreligion, morality or immorality, moralism or relativism, conservatism or liberalism. Nor is it something halfway along a spectrum between poles — it is something else altogether. The gospel is distinct from the two approaches: in it’s view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.

He (Jesus) is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness. Nor should we be. He not only loves the wild-living, free-spirited people, but also hardened religious people.

We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness — the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord.

If we say “I believe in Jesus” but it doesn’t affect the way we live, the answer is not that now we need to add hard work to our faith so much as that we haven’t truly understood or believed in Jesus at all.

If you want a better understanding of how awesome God is, how He never gives up on us, I highly recommend this little book.

His… Michelle
Philippians1:20

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