Like accomplices in the night, they tag-team; destructive and deceitful. They create bars on your heart you didn’t know were there, blocking out the only thing that can set you free from the prison you’ve created. They hide, holding hands, terrified of the light. Their shadow lines the concrete walls, stalking and tall. But they know, oh they know, if but a little light is shone on them, that their power will dwindle, losing air. They no longer can govern your relationships once truth begins to speak. And like a balloon slowly leaks its air, they will eventually crumble under the weight of love, powerless.
Pride and fear.
Two things I believe govern us and our relationships more than we realize.
This topic of love is one I’ve been fascinated with, well, forever. Waiting for my husband to arrive for our fairytale to begin; wanting God’s love to go deeper from my head to my heart; how do I truly love others like Jesus commanded me to?
A conversation Troy and I had last night with some friends about relationships got me thinking about how wrongly I have handled so many relationships in my past. And if I were to really reflect, a lot of it was out of either pride or fear.
Pride — Do I feel better than them in some way? They have more/are more/do more than me in comparison, so my worth is less.
Fear — What will they think if I say something? What if it comes out wrong and I look silly?
We may not like to admit it, but that can often be the thought process of our heart. At least in mine. Yuck.
The sneaky thing is, pride and fear can hide in what we think are good motivations – to protect people, not to hurt them (or us), to keep the peace. But it can build over time into resentment or regrets of unspoken words.
As I read in 1 John 4:7-21 this morning, all I keep coming back to is that our responsibility is never to manage the fear/pride, figure out a 10 step program for overcoming it, or write a to-do list of how to go from glory to glory. No. Our job as believers in Christ?
Vs 12 (Message) says, “But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us – perfect love!”
And vs 16 states (ESV), “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him.”
My job is to abide in God’s love – dwell, stay, remain and make that my home. And to love others. Sometimes loving others is saying the tough things, confronting. And sometimes it’s just praying for them, holding them up in our hearts. Sometimes abiding in God is staying silent when we really want to have our say. And sometimes it is resting in Him and then going out to do what He’s put on our hearts to do. Either way, it starts and ends with love.
Oh may 2016 look different for us all. My hope, as we are in a new community making new relationships, is that I can learn from the past, and rest in God’s love more; my only hope of change. And as I rest in His love, that He graces me to communicate and love others the way He has called me to, rather than be held back by pride or fear. God knows I can’t do it on my own.
The beauty of it all? Once you shed light on the hidden stalkers that keep you imprisoned in relationships, you can begin to pray into it, and like a leaking balloon, pride and fear begins to fade as His love is perfected in us.