I’ve been reflecting on this post by Glennon Melton a lot recently – holding on to the most repeated directives in the Bible: Fear not and Remember.
There’s a whole lot to fear in the world today. With a few taps on my phone screen, I can be fully informed on the latest fear-inducing events. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, school shootings, Trump’s presidential candidacy… it’s all there for my quick and complete absorption.
But here’s the problem: I don’t want to live my life in a posture of fear. I don’t want to hunch over my stockpile, wary of all the perceived thieves and threats. I don’t want to tattoo “afraid” across my forehead and have it dictate, or even just inform, my decisions. Rather – I want to remember. Glennon writes about remembering that I am a child of God and so is everyone else. Yes. And when I was thinking and writing this morning, the words of Kid President came to mind. I want to remember:
You’re going to do so much! But it’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are. You? You’re awesome! You were made that way. You were made from love, to be loved, to spread love! Love is always louder, no matter what. Even if hate has a bullhorn, love is louder! So let your life be loud. Let’s shout to the world, “Things can be better! It’s okay about all the mess ups! Corn dogs rule!”
I love this quote from his Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here. The only thing I would change is the reference to hate. Hate is not the opposite of love. Hate is still invested and engaged in the relationship, albeit in a negative way. Fear is the opposite of love. Even if fear has a bullhorn, love is louder. Fear dictates fight or flight, ultimately pursuing disengagement through distance or death. Love (and hate) necessitate engagement, discussion, grappling, pursuing. And our world, our lives, desperately need us to engage.
Fear is not the voice of God. Fear is not the voice of wisdom. Fear is only the product of a scarcity model, an economy of “not enough.” And that voice lies. It is lying to us every day. There IS enough. I don’t have to be afraid of you or intimidated by you and your success. I don’t have to strive day after day after day, looking over my shoulder and trying to accumulate accolades or money or attention. I don’t have to hoard for myself and mine while actively preventing your ability to thrive. In fact, if I want to find my life, I have to lose it. If I want to keep my life, I must give it away. (Matthew 10:39, 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, 17:33; John 12:25)
I’m tired of being lied to, of being shouted at and over. I am working every day to remember: love is always louder. Sacrifice, generosity, simplicity. Will these things get me on the 10 o’clock news? Absolutely not. But it will provide my life a posture of dignity. I will stand erect beside my brothers and sisters, instead of hiding from them under the weighted blanket of anxiety and dread. I am not a victim, I will not be bullied. I will not negotiate with the fear terrorists.
“When the lies speak louder than the truth, remind me that I belong to you.
When I can’t see past the dark of night, remind me you’re always by my side.
We are the sons, we are the daughters of God.
No matter where we go, we’re close to the Father’s heart.
And though we stumble he will not let us fall,
We are the Lord’s and he will never forsake his own.
We are the sons, we are the daughters of God.”
—Brett Stanfill, Sons and Daughters
Friends, let’s not buy into the message we’re being spoon fed every moment from all directions. Let us live lives that elevate love.