No Longer a Slave To Fear

Fear. Sadly, I know it all too well. I have come a long way, but I am always trying to be aware of the unwelcome fear creeping in.

I have learned that most of the fears I entertain are irrational, for me. Fear of worms, caterpillars and Dentist visits.

Fear of rejection is a bit bigger in my mind. Fear of not being heard or fear of being misunderstood is even bigger to me.

Scripture says that perfect love drives out fear – 1 John 4:18  New International Version
“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.”

Ouch. I am more aware that if I fear then I am not walking in His perfect love. Oh how I want that. Always a work in progress. And I am really glad to be a work in progress.  That means I’m still alive and we’ve got work to do – Him and I. I love it. Even the “ouches” I love. It means fellowship with my God, my Friend who totally gets me and enjoys my company and I, His.

“No Longer Slaves” Bethel Music

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
‘Til all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God…

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God

Yes, I am
I am a child of God
I am a child of God
Yes, I am
I am a child of God
Full of faith
Yes, I am a child of God
I am a child of God

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Cate B

The Audacity of Humility

Audacity page

This is another entire “Chapter”, an excerpt from Tales of a Magic Monastery by Theophane the Monk.

It leapt to mind today as I read the magnificent post on “Love” by Don Merritt a little before this one [I’m Not Very Good At Saying “I Love You”].

In part, Don said…

I’m not very good at saying “I love you”, if you don’t believe me, ask my wife!

In my Neanderthal male brain, just saying the words is kind of cheap, almost a way out of actually doing something about love; anybody can say it, but how many put it into practice?

Now, notwithstanding how hard it is for me ever to put the concepts “Don’s brain”, and “Neanderthal” into the same sentence that way… these words just RANG for me as being far more significant in our spiritual lives than might appear at first blush.

Nothing in me “disagrees” with Don in any way. It’s just that from his platform of words, my thoughts just sort of launched a bit further into the ozone.

I’ll not say a lot about all that here… but I was struck with how true Don’s comments are about our “cultural conditioning” on “demonstrativeness” of “love”. Some cultures are very “touchy-feely” about love, or romance. Husbands and wives TOUCH one another, perhaps even in public, casually and easily. Friends may touch one another easily. In other cultures, such behavior is not acceptable.

In some cultures (largely patterned and enforced in families and upbringing).. being verbally affectionate, or even emotionally transparent at all, is considered in good or bad taste. Culture, era, family traditions, even the structure of the language itself… all these things have impact on HOW we express our feelings with and to one another.

So I really enjoyed Don’s post, and thought a lot of different thoughts as I read it. Not gonna bore you with all that. But there was this one “shining thought” that came through… THIS one I want to mention.

“Words”… “Words” are more than lingual articulations setting air in motion, making patterns of sound that are impelled forward until they lose momentum. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But I DO know… all the way through me… that they are.

“Words”… are “creations”.

“Words”… are magical… mystical… ideas from the praxis of a human consciousness… from a being made in the image of God… endowed with consciousness and soul from before the beginning of time. “Words” come from somewhere within us… (Jesus alludes to them as “brought forth from the good treasure” or “from the heart of man”…) “Words” begin within us, are spoken, and thus released outwards into our four-dimensional space, our expression of God’s Creation… of Reality as we know it.

We “touch”, we “connect”, we “relate”… one with another primarily through our words, though also with touch.

In short… “Words”… are “sacred”.

Somehow, even from youth, I knew this in some way… though now I see it far more clearly.

I believe, all the way through me, that:

  • Words are sacred
  • The Most Sacred Word is “love”
  • The Most Important and Righteous, Godly, Holy Thing that CAN EVER be spoken is… “I Love You”

This statement, “I Love You”, is not only an affirmative admission… something that reaches from me, extending my love to you… But it is also an admission of vulnerability… I can now be hurt, wounded, injured by you or by your rejection. I not only state strength in my love, I admit weakness. I think this admission of vulnerability has a lot to do with reticence in speaking the truth of love.

Bottom Line: Beyond culture, beyond comfort zones, beyond family traditions…

Our Father… The Lord God Almighty… spends every nanosecond of eternity itself speaking forth this phrase in and to the Cosmos…

“I Love You”

And in that utterance, to and through Jesus who upholds all things by the power of HIS word… all of existence, ourselves included… participate in Him.

They do it all with Word… we are fashioned to do the same… It is worth the risk, the fear, the “awkwardness”… to allow ourselves to “speak the Father’s words”, and be vessel for His spirit in Creation.

He is, after all, the “Word”.

And He always leaves us the choice. We can speak. Or remain silent.

The Pearl of Great Price

This is an excerpt from Tales of a Magic Monastery, by the late Theophane the Monk. He has ever been a mentor to me… For more than three decades now, I’ve unabashedly declared, “When I grow up, I want to write this well.” (I’m still working at it.)


He asked me what I was looking for.

“Frankly,” I said, “I’m looking for the Pearl of Great Price.”

He slipped his hand into his pocket, drew it out, AND GAVE IT TO ME. It was just like that! I was dumbfounded. Then I began to protest: “You don’t want to give it to me? Don’t you want to keep it for yourself? But. . .”

When I kept this up, he said finally, “Look, is it better to have the Pearl of Great Price, or to give it away?”–

Well, now I have it. I don’t tell anyone. From some there would just be disbelief and ridicule. “You, you have the Pearl of Great Price? Hah!” Others would be jealous, or someone might steal it. Yes, I do have it. But there’s that question–“Is it better to have it, or to give it away?” How long will that question rob me of my joy?

Fearing Love

©Angelo Cavalli
©Angelo Cavalli

Why do we fear God’s love so much?

It’s so easy for us to point out the sins of our brothers and sisters, so effortless to gossip about this one’s failings, that group’s lifestyle, another one’s fall from grace. So uncomplicated to express our self-righteous opinions on a red cup, a God-given right (when it’s my right, not yours), or the plight of refugees.

Why is it so difficult for us to accept God’s unconditional love? To really understand why His grace is called amazing? To accept Jesus invites everyone to the table, even those we’d rather not eat beside?

Because it makes us vulnerable. Because it may bring us to our knees. Because maybe we’ll discover God’s will is not our will. Because it may overflow the empty parts of our hearts with so much love the only choice left to us will be to give it away. Because maybe, just maybe, we’re afraid we’ll become diaphanous, like a dandelion blown away in the wind.

Here’s the thing about dandelions. Because of the way God created them, they’re strong. Useful. Ubiquitous. When they go to seed, they are naturally designed to create other dandelions. The wind takes those seeds and carries them to faraway places – places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel on their own.


Dandelions.yellowThe wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8).

Love and Fear


Like footprints in sand washed away by an incoming wave, fear, when allowed to be overcome by love, will be washed away completely.

God’s ocean of love, if allowed into the heart, will cleanse us of fear – the fear that cultivates hate, condemnation and division.

I am convinced God’s unfathomable, immeasurable, indiscriminate love and grace frightens some because it is uncontainable. I think the fearful know, once the free gift of unconditional love and grace is accepted, they must give away the overflow. And giving away love and grace and mercy and compassion to those considered sinners by the fearfully righteous is anathema to them.

You see, fear encourages fists. It fosters clenched jaws and closed minds. It sustains status quo. It deprives lungs of the Breath of Life and starves the soul of Living Water. It neglects the heart, letting it choke and wither. It incites a mindset of hostility.

“We must especially guard against simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil, or, if you will, only the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within.” Pope Francis

We must not be afraid of love. We must not be afraid of grace. We must not be afraid of mercy and compassion. These are ways of being which connect people, which place us in each others’ shoes, which allow us to know one another as individuals instead of groups.

Further, once the decision is made to surrender and accept this miraculous gift, the desire to bless others with the same becomes intrinsic. Hands open, jaws soften, minds become approachable, and the heart blooms. With the help of the Spirit, we see each other through the eyes of Jesus – the eyes of compassion.

Am I in that head- and heart-free space all the time? Heck, no. I’m human. I have days when I shake my head and roll my eyes at other humans who’ve been created by the same generous God who created me.

But getting up every morning and asking the Holy Spirit to arm me with the strength to produce His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) is the one of the most powerful prayers I can pray. It helps me get out of the way so God can use me for His purposes. It allows me to latch onto the peace He provides, and eagerly pass along His love, grace and mercy from His compassionate heart.

The Bible as we know it

How do we see the Bible? Is it a love letter, historical record, rule book—all of these?

Why do we strive to prove our view of the Bible as “right?”

Are we really in love with Father, or are we just paying fire insurance premiums by our rituals and traditions?

Love or Fear?
First, it’s beneficial to consider—Are we viewing the Bible from the perspective of God’s love for us or our fear of him?

If we’re afraid of God, we may see the Bible as a rule book, full of threats if we don’t comply. If we choose to fall ever more deeply in love with God, we may see the Bible as a companion guide through which the Holy Spirit can guide us in growing spiritually.

Digging a little deeper into this, in a church service during my teenage days, the pastor asked the congregation a question—Are we serving God to avoid hell or because we’re deeply in love with Father? This question astounded me at the time because all I had been taught hinged on threats of hell and rapture. It was a rather profound question for me at that time, and has stuck with me throughout my journey. In essence, are we following God out of fear of going to a place of eternal torment when we die?

Is God just a divine grandparent we visit because he gives us “blessings” for compliance?

Are we expecting Jesus to show up at any second as a divine police officer, therefore causing us to strive to be compliant at all times?

Are we trying to “hold our breath” as long as possible? Are we riddled with guilt because we inevitably have to take a breather?

Are we comfortable with Jesus catching us at our worse moment, or are we afraid that he will show up at the “wrong time” just when we’ve slipped up?

Can we truly love God if we fear him? Can we serve the master of fear and the Master of Love at the same time?

Who benefits when we cower in fear from Father—God or Satan?

Think of the first real experience of God’s presence. Now consider, he only wanted it to get better from there.

Are we living an ever deepening relationship with God that transcends any religious experience, or are we just holding out for Jesus to show up on a white horse to destroy all those other “evildoers” we point our fingers at?

Are we attempting to prove our righteousness at the expense of alienating “those other worldly/evil people” that won’t conform to our views?

What does this actually have to do with the Bible?
It would seem the Bible was written in such a way that we have to make some judgment calls for ourselves. And yes, I used the “J” word :D. The Bible isn’t as clear cut, black and white, as we would like it to be. We have to interpret, each for our self, the relevance it has to our personal walk with Jesus. We have to wrestle with scripture, ever asking questions of the Holy Spirit:

Am I following Jesus, myself, or someone else?

Is my relationship and love for Father growing or am I only living out of fear?

Am I truly willing to pay, no matter the cost, to grow spiritually with Jesus?

Am I comfortably complacent in my views, or am I ever challenged to know Father’s heart more?

We can go around in circles pitting verse vs verse. However, spiritually growing in love towards Father is what he desires. We can be “right” in all our knowledge of the Bible yet still be spiritually stagnant. In turn, because of our rigidness, we may repel those God desires us to reach.

As seen throughout history, we can twist scripture to mean whatever we want it to, no matter how unloving our conclusion may be. In this, we can easily make the Bible something it was never intended to be—a false idol that we worship instead of God.

Let’s challenge the default patterns we’ve been indoctrinated with. Let’s stop being conformed to those worldly patterns, but instead, transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let’s ask the questions we’ve been told to suppress because they’re doubtful and sinful. God already knows; he’s just waiting for us to ask. We can’t make God mad, otherwise, we would have a god we control by our actions, and a god we control is no god at all. This is one of my views—one of those lessons I’ve had to learn from the Bible as a love story and not as a “How to avoid hell” manual.

This is a safe place to ask those questions that have been buried, where all are welcome to be who God made them to be—human.

Welcome to the Church, where all are free to live and love in Jesus.