Hello, friends! Welcome to episode #10 : Love Smothers Fear. That might be a new phrase you haven’t heard before…and probably because I made it up. But it really resonated with me because I’m a very visual person, and I saw myself taking a pillow, which represented the love God has for me, and literally smothering fear! Haha
I’ve mentioned this before, but I see things, scenarios, ideas in pictures. Like a scrolling film in a movie. And, fear feels like a “real” thing to me. I mean, it’s like it has a life of its own. Like it’s a real entity with substance. Something tangible. Like a gremlin. And the only way to get rid of it is to snuff its life out. And I imagine it getting smothered…like with a pillow, smothering its ability to breathe or sustain life. And to me, love does that. Love smothers fear and its life and power over me.
Let me tell you about a situation I faced when I forgot to bring that pillow with me!
When my three kids were young and we were carting them to soccer practice, Tai Kwon Do, swim team, I drove a big red Suburban. It was perfect for traveling vacations, too.
Then, when my last child turned 16 and got a car of his own, I handed over that beloved red Suburban to my husband and got a little sporty car. Those were many years of driving either a mini-van or Suburban and I figured by that time, I deserved to have something fun and zippy. And I had convinced Brian that we needed to keep the Suburban so the whole family could travel together in one vehicle whenever we went somewhere. For me, there was nothing better than to have all my people in one place. I still feel that way. So, bless his heart, he drove that Suburban until the wheels fell off. And then he bought another used Suburban…I think just to satisfy my heart…because at that point all our kids were scattered in different places for school and work...and it was just usually holidays that we were all together. But he drove that Suburban anyway.
It took me while, but after Brian died, I finally took his suburban to sell at an auto dealership known for buying used vehicles. It was a very hard day, and to say that it made me sad is an understatement. It was like another nail in the coffin – a reminder that he was gone…and wasn’t coming back to drive that Suburban that represented so much more than just being a source of transportation.
I had to bring his death certificate because the title was in his name. All so sad. My heart was so heavy. As I handed it to the young girl behind the counter, you could tell that it made her pause. I’m sure she does these deals all day, to the point of becoming route. But it was obvious that she was struck by the seriousness of the transaction as she tenderly took that death certificate from my hand, handling it like it was a most precious piece of parchment. As she was preparing the paperwork, I waited, huddled in a remote corner of the dealership in hopes that the other customers wouldn’t hear me sobbing.
When the manager called me to the counter to explain that they couldn’t print the check in my name, that they had to print it in the name of his estate, I lost it. We hadn’t set up an estate account for Brian (which is not easy, as it had to involve our CPA) and honestly, I just couldn’t…I just couldn’t do one more thing. Everything always felt like a punch in the gut. I remember thinking…again...”Am I really here? Is this really my life? Seriously?”
Anyway, I acted with less manner of grace than I’d like to admit. I was stressed, and I let it be seen in my response – total exasperation, total desperation, total frustration with the manager who was just relaying the rules of transactions that were government audited. I left a mess. Fear had won. Despair had won. I was defeated.
What I forgot at the dealership was that “love smothers fear”. And I’m going to try to explain what I mean by that…what that looks like in our lives & how to apply it.
God’s love is so real and intense for you and me, and His love always wins over fear. When you are afraid of something or face something daunting, the solution – quite easily – is to remember that this real, intense love is for you, is with you…in that very moment to face and handle whatever is at hand. When we can get and own the truth that a love-relationship with Him is better than life...better and more real than anything else…that His love is more valuable to us than anything else...then we find that everything becomes second in importance. Some people call this the "Enoughness of Jesus." It’s having a heart understanding that if we lost everything in this world – as in, if everything were taken away, stripped away – that having a love relationship with Jesus would be enough. And then we’re able to handle the things that we need to attend to here with less attachment to things…holding things loosely.
Love…remembering His love…that He is for you…smothers all that fear. It does because His love is truth. And truth is light.
When I know that, light comes in to dispel the darkness that makes me despair, worry, and overwhelms. Before the truth is applied – that is, that a love-relationship with God is the highest gain, most-valuable – we are groping around in the darkness. We stumble over things – like selling a Suburban – we run into things – like the fear of an unknown future, and we get disoriented to where we are, thinking the life that we’re now living is “it” – and we’d better squeeze out every bit of the goodness there is now, because there’s nothing better (or more important) to come. But when the light switch is turned on, then we are able to “see” the situation from a different perspective, bringing truth to the lie – the lie that fear, loss, and despair are our only companions.
And so, seeing means I’m no longer blind. This kind of “seeing” brings healing to our disordered, chaotic, fear-fraught lives. I can see things I face correctly, heavenly, rightly, eternally – and I’m wide-eyed to the schemes of the devil and trappings of this world. And the trappings of this world include the fear of not having enough, fear of being misunderstood and rejected, fear of being lonely, fear of being without comforts and pleasures of the world. So now being no longer “blind” means that now I can fight in the light because now I can see! And all I have to do is head-on face the situation with the truth that love- His love, our love together - smothers fear!
So the day following the overwhelm at the dealership, I wrote in my journal:
Today, I will smother fear in the intense love of God and the "Enoughness of Jesus."
Today, I will look for the light in the darkness, look for God’s perspective so I can truly see.
I will see the way my heavenly Father sees and I will love.
I will abide in Him today.
I will rest, trust, wait, and then walk into the next.
I will move with the Spirit, looking for Him, searching for His activity, being more aware of His presence, His nearness – with great anticipation of finding Him!
Today I will receive the love that smothers fear.
Today I will trust. But not passively! I will have a great anticipation of Him showing up.
I will have eyes wide open, looking for Him to show me the way to freedom and peace.
Yes, I believe we must make the decision to let love smother fear - God’s love. Our love relationship together. Everything we face, we face with this powerful, deep, intense love - in us and about us. A love so powerful it’s enough to smother all fear. I pray you, too, will know, move, live, exist in this love today.