Sunday, January 10, 2016

10 Ways To Love Fearlessly

April 14, 2015

Have you noticed how fear stops people from taking risks in close relationships?

Nobody wants to get hurt, and I was one of those people. But when I was protecting myself, I was not free to love.

It is hard to embrace Good Friday unless you know there is Easter Sunday. Have you wondered why Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth from Heaven to save us? Do you know what it means to have a new life freed from bondage of sin and death?

Last Thursday, James and I adventured to Jenner (off California Hwy 1) when I spoke at a sisters' retreat. There was a section of the highway that was very winding, narrow, going up and down on the cliff. At one point, a car on our opposite lane came directly at us when trying to pass the car in front of it. I was scared to death. Thank God for his protection and getting us there 3 minutes before Sunset!

The retreat went very well. The sisters were open to share and willing to learn. On Saturday morning before breakfast, James and I walked outside along the coast. We were blessed.

Our return trip was more relax since we were not in a rush. After we were out of the dangerous zone, I asked James whether he was scared driving up and down the hills. He replied, "No, all I can do is to concentrate on my driving." I'm so happy he was able to keep his cool. Praise the Lord!

Is fear stopping you? Here are 10 ways to love fearlessly!

Let's face it: love is messy. With its magnified highs and lows, love is unpredictable and never what we expect—so much so that we might be tempted to cower in fear. But if we approach love with the courage of a warrior, we can have relationships of heroic proportions. Here are 10 ways:

1. Be your true self. If we want to be loved for who we truly are, why put on an act? Do you know that we are so valuable in God's eyes that He was willing to rescue us, risking the life of His Son Jesus Christ?

2. Don't believe just your side of the story. Our interpretation of events and feelings is, in fact, just one possibility for what is actually true. Focus on what IS to get closer to the truth.

3. Stay open. Fear's favorite pastime is to shut us down. But when we are vulnerable, true connection to others is possible. "There is no fear in love." (1John 4:18)

4. Speak up. We become silent when instead we desperately want to connect.

5. Stop looking for perfection. More than likely, what we call "high standards" is a mask for our own feelings of inadequacy.

6. Embrace the messiness. It gives us the gift of growth.

7. Allow yourself to feel mad. Learn the difference, though, between expressing anger responsibly and dumping it.

8. Love with no thought of what you'll get in return. This is fearless love in action.

9. Take responsibility. Be accountable for your own emotions, thoughts and actions.

10. Love yourself. Only then can you love others and be loved. "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31), presumes loving oneself is an innate characteristic of ours by default.

Are you living in fear or in love? It might be a good time to find out what you are afraid of and where that story came from.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 ESV)
Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

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