Monday, January 23, 2017

Fears & Offenses

I've been fighting this post God for quite some time to just sit down and write what has been pressing heavily on my heart. The biggest fight was to admit the real reason for not finishing this which ironically was my own fear of causing an offense! After ninety-gazillion of my own excuses and a gentle nudge from a sweet friend reminding me God doesn't take 'no' for an answer, He finally reverted to getting the megaphone out, turning the volume to its highest setting, and using His Dad voice to yell "It's worth the risk ... TRUST ME!" through my morning devotion yesterday, "Abandon it All." 


I feared my heart would be misinterpreted. I feared my sincerity would come across hypocritical. I feared I would open the door of vulnerability. I feared I would offend someone. While I don't hold tight to what people may think of me, I feared this post would be read with an offensive mind rather than one of openness. If I have already struck a nerve, I ask that you please continue reading ... give yourself the opportunity to breakthrough the offense that is trying to stop you and allow me to go deeper. 

A while back, I heard on the radio {and have since looked into it out of curiosity and more proof :)} that we are born with only two natural fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Which leaves all other fears to being learned through experience. Talk about an interesting insight! This has really challenged me to stop myself as soon as I feel that first tinge of fear, fright, panic, terror, apprehension, or trepidation and re-evaluate my emotions to discern if they are intuitionally warranted or just habitual from a prior experience in which I have chosen to now avoid all together. 


Sometimes at the first sign of fear (or any of those other feelings), we react by stopping dead in our tracks and shutting the door in which to never return without ever once questioning it. What really is the cause for the fear? Is it a natural reaction that has been learned through a previous experience? Or is it the fear of the unknown or the fear of what will come? Or is it actually warranted, like the tug on your conscience or that 'momma feeling' you get when something just isn't right? Unless it is your intuition or gut instinct {which there are days I wonder if we have forgotten what this is ... sigh, another day, another post maybe}, no matter the cause of these fears they have the potential to overtake our life and hold us back if we are not careful.


And then there are our offenses, although a completely different emotion, these can have the same effect on us. In one instance we may allow a single circumstance {even if it's completely taken out of context} to adamantly dictate how we think or how we will react. Hurtful words spoken, words and actions read into, false accusations made, resentment. rejection, disagreement, conflict of interest, and the list could continue. However, whatever the offense is, if we hold onto it for too long it will eventually become a part of who we are and will only build up more anger, spread more strife, and ultimately hold us back also. 


Fears and offenses are ugly beasts that can stand in our way, blind us from the facts, cause us to tear down rather than build up, and create boundaries that only limit our ability to truly love one another like Jesus loves us, unconditionally. This doesn't mean we have to agree with one another, but it does mean we need to lay down our offenses and push through our fears so true love can be seen. The true love that casts out all fear and has no boundaries, not one! We need to learn how to truly love so we can step outside of the box of seeing things as one side vs. the other and instead seeing it as love vs. hate. 

It's not going to be easy, hard work never is, but especially when it seems impossible to face some of the largest giants you have ever seen. 

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