Growing up I remember much of what motivated me was due to fear. I studied very hard to get good grades because I feared disappointing my parents and teachers. I worked very hard on my chores and later in my part-time jobs, fearing that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get my allowance or my full paycheck. When I learned how to drive, I worried about getting a speeding or parking ticket, and feared getting into an accident or breaking the law.
When I invited Christ into my life to be my Lord and Savior as a young adult, I allowed fear to be a big part of my relationship with Him too. I worked very hard to be “the best Christian” possible. I rarely missed a daily Quiet Time (time spent reading Bible and praying). I was almost always at church and at small group Bible study. I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to share the Gospel with others and to serve Him in ministry. All those things were good things, but my motivation for doing them was wrong. I felt like I would never be quite good enough and I ended up feeling burned out. I now believe this grieved the Lord and kept me from completely experiencing His love and presence in my life.
We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16-19
Becoming a spouse began to open my eyes to how the Lord sees me and wants to relate to me. I found in Rick a friend and beloved who wants to be with me; who celebrates good things with me; who protects me and cares for me; who laughs and cries with me. I have discovered that my Lord loves me even more than Rick loves me. He wants us to spend time together; to celebrate; to “laugh and cry”. He wants to protect and care for me.
Becoming a parent further opened my eyes to how the Lord views me. I have tried to be a loving and kind parent who would do almost anything for my children. I have tried my best to protect and provide for my children. I am very proud of my children’s attempts to do good. I have discovered that my Heavenly Father is the ultimate good, kind, protective and proud parent. He delights in me. He is pleased with me. (And guess what? He’s not a helicopter parent!).
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
I have also discovered that the Lord has given me a very special treasure to live within me, a Counselor and Defender who offers peace and wisdom and who redeems, comforts, and encourages. I am never alone. I need not fear. The Holy Spirit will be with me and within me until God calls me home.
10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves… 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you…These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:10,11, 16-27
“And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6
Now I rest in the knowledge that nothing can separate me from God’s love and I need not fear losing His love or His presence in my life. I am motivated to love Him in all I say and do, not because I fear His wrath or need to earn His love, but because He loved me first and has taught me how to love.