So, as none of you know, I am studying a diploma in applied writing, and one of my latest assessments was to make personal writing goals. One of mine was to go through my journal on a Thursday night and review all the stuff I’d throw in there, get an idea about what to write about, and then develop it. My ideal goal would be to write an amazing life-changing article every Thursday (my perfectionism talking), but since that is unrealistic, I’m just gonna write whatever comes from the journal. Whether it be a poem, an article, a quote, or just plain banter – the idea was to 1) get into the habit of writing out my ideas and 2) post for frequently to my blog!
So: here it is. Thursday Night Banter (Name suggestions anyone?).
I pray and hope that God will help me to do this for me as a writer, as a person, and for you – my readers.
Thursday Night Banter Ep.1 – Being Afraid of God.
1 John 4:19 – We love because He first loved us.
We can’t love out of a striving, pressured, fearful heart – It’s like trying to wring water out of a dry sponge. What I’ve personally come to find along this journey of being a Christian is that I have a deep fear of God. Not like an appropriate reverence kind of fear. But being afraid and not feeling safe. Like when a certain person walks into a room and you know it’s time to shut up and obey. I see God as more of an angry boss than a loving Father. And I know it is wrong. 100%, no doubt about it – this belief is a lie. I know God’s love, I’ve experienced it and I know it to be true.
But what I want to talk about tonight is how absolutely ridiculous it is to be afraid of God, and where the fear might come from. (Disclaimer: All of this is personal. I am not a theologian, but a Christian who’s gone through struggles)
1) We have a distorted view of God.
I don’t believe the Bible lies when it says “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). I’ve found that we can look at life and God through a filter. When I started to see God as mean, disappointed, angry, and condemning – everything in life flowed out of that mind-set. My filter was ‘God doesn’t love me’, so I approached everything in fear of having to impress Him. I started to be afraid of making decisions because I didn’t want to make the wrong one and then God get angry at me. I stopped praying to Him – because why would I want to talk to someone I thought was scary?
I wrote this short quote once when reflecting on my view of God: (Please take it if you need it.)
“Oh the irony of my fear towards you; the safest place I could be.”
And I know, I can’ tell you that right now you need to change your view of God, because some issues run deeper than the surface and some have major trauma attached to them. It might take years to see Him as loving. But it all starts with something small – a small change in how you see God. A verse or a picture that reminds you that God is love. For me it’s Psalm 73:23 – a picture of God holding my hand. I think that if you struggle with seeing God as a loving Father, take it easy. Don’t beat yourself up that you aren’t perfect, because I believe that it will be a wonderful journey walking with God as he reveals His love to you. Hold something close; like I just said. A bible verse, or something simple like “God is Love” on a piece of paper taped to your wallet.
And I know, I’m still going through this struggle. I still fight everyday to think of God as loving and not scary. I’m preaching to myself here too.
Tip: Look up the meaning of “Agape” in Greek. That’s the kind of love God has towards us.
2) We don’t understand the Cross.
The Cross. The Cross. The Cross. The Cross. The Cross!
The Cross: The greatest manifestation of God’s love. The cross is the pivot point of the Christian faith. It’s the reason we are even able to become Christians.
And I think the cross can become too familiar. We wear it as jewellery, a print on our clothes, a cute tattoo. We see the image of a cross but not the man who died on it.
I can’t even express how much I want to appreciate the Cross more. Because I know that at the moment it sinks in my life will change.
If you want to see how much God loves you – look to the cross. There is no greater love. There is nothing more powerful that what Jesus did. It isn’t just that we were washed clean – it’s that God wanted us back. After all humanity had done towards Him – adultery, worshipping other gods, forgetting Him. Still, Jesus chose the Cross.
Read Hosea if you can. It’s a picture of God’s unconditional, sacrificial love.
Being afraid of God will affect everything you do. Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. It restricts you, it scares you, it hurts you. I bet it even hurts God too. I can’t imagine how it must feel for a father to go about his life with his own children being afraid of him. How much it must hurt to know how much of a lie it is but them not knowing. Not being able to lavish love upon them like he wants to.
Child, sometimes we put walls up to block people, but we can block God too. I think God loves slowly and deeply. He doesn’t force Himself – he just speaks gently to the soul and lets you rest. If only we could discover the great love of God. The cleansing and the refreshing. The safety and the comfort. God is good.
God bless you. I pray that for everyone who reads this struggling with being afraid of God, that God will love you in ways you know could only be His. We are all different, we love differently and are loved differently. But God knows each of you, and will show you. Just let Him.