1 John 4:18
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.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on this verse, overwhelmed and in awe of the simplicity and complexity that exists simultaneously within. What is perfect love? What does it look like? How do I embrace the perfect love of God in my own life and circumstances?
At the age of ten, my parents were divorced. I remember wondering why things were changing and how my relationships with both of my parents would be impacted. I was forced to grow up quickly and deal with anger, frustration, and resentment as well as irrational fears and anxieties. I remember feeling the pressure of doing well in school so that I wouldn’t ruffle any feathers at home. The drive for perfectionism and achieving affirmation through my own accomplishments came out of that. When I was praised, things were good and when I did something wrong, confrontation was avoided and disappointment was felt.
In recent months, I’ve noticed that while the events of my childhood happened many, many, years ago, some fear and anxiety has interrupted my thoughts. I’ve realized that a lot of it comes back to my view of God and how I’ve been approaching him. I’ve realized that the idea of perfect love was never modeled through my family unit and so to experience this perfect love from God has until recently, been something new; foreign even, and hard for me to grasp completely at times.
In God’s faithfulness though, He is using this season and this verse to profoundly shift my view of Him and to increase my understanding of perfect love. God’s plan was to never have us operate in anything but His full acceptance and deep unconditional love. And what’s funny, is that I know this. I know this to be true, and yet, I find myself asking-well how do I get here-to this place of fully and completely operating as a beloved daughter of God?
Perfect love means trusting ALL of my life to God’s plan. Even the tough stuff.
Perfect love means that no matter what I do or don’t do, His love for me is unconditional. He isn’t keeping a record of my wrongs nor is He removing himself from my circumstances because they are too complicated.
Perfect love means believing that God is good and always has my best interest at heart.
Perfect love means that I can open my heart to freely receive his grace with an understanding that there no need to work for His acceptance.
When we let the perfect love of God enter into our situations and circumstances, it has the ability to transform situations of fear and anxiety into trust and peace.
My prayer is that The Lord would continue to grow us and reveal to us a greater understanding of His perfect love; that it wouldn’t just be a verse we say or something to pray for, but that we would attain the treasure that God intended us to through His love. For from this place, comes a Godly confidence that allows us to be known completely and fully as children of a perfectly loving Father.
Practically, I’ve discovered some foundational pieces that have helped me to walk through this season of understanding and experiencing His perfect love.
- Daily Time with God-spending time in His word daily strengthens us as believers and reminds us of His promises
- Accountability and Mentor Relationships-being able to go to someone and share your fears and anxieties without judgement is crucial! It brings a different perspective and allows you to speak out the lies the enemy has planted and renew your mind.
- Speaking out Declaration Verses daily has helped to remind me of who God is and who I am in Christ. Speaking and meditating on these has allowed me to build my foundation on rock so that when the situations come that are difficult to navigate, I know who I am and where I’m running to.
- Taking every thought captive and submitting it to God (Rom. 12:12). It says every thought. That means anytime a “what if” scenario plays out in my head, I’m handing it over to God and reminding myself that He is good and goes before me. Anytime a fear crosses my mind, I’m reminding myself that He says that I should not be afraid, but strong and courageous. Anytime I’m worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow, I’m reminded that He tells me not to worry about anything, but to pray and so I pray and hand it all over to God.