Love or Fear…which will you choose?

Image     “We live by two things–love and fear.  Every choice, every thought, every action, stems from one of these, and when your time comes, when you reach out– if you reach out–it’s love that will save you.  Love will get you through everything.”

I’ve just finished reading the book Come Back by Claire & Mia Fontaine.  In the book, Mia’s story of past abuse leads her to get into drugs and run away from home.  Her mother, Claire finds her and forces her to enroll in a program out of the country to rehabilitate her.  The story is intriguing on its own but the lessons learned by both mother and daughter during Mia’s time in the program are lessons that anyone can learn from.

The quote on love and fear stood out to me as being such a revelation.  When you examine any behavior or reaction, if you trace it back to its deepest root you’ll find one of two things, love or fear.  Anger is actually a secondary emotion that stems from fear or sadness.  I’ve been learning to examine my feelings when I’m angry to see where they’re coming from…usually I’m using anger to mask my more vulnerable feelings of fear and sadness.

This new thought that EVERY thing we do stems from love or fear brings a lot of excitement about new ways that I can understand myself and others.  When I’m offended or upset, when I have even a small reaction to someone I can tell where I’m at if I examine my reaction or comment to see if it stemmed from a place of love or fear.

We make thousands of choices each day, and go through so many thought processes over each choice based on our story and past experiences. It’s like we’re on autopilot sometimes not even realizing the dance we do when we encounter feelings of love or fear.   When we are aware of where our simple reactions and our thoughts stem from we can have more grace and compassion for ourselves and start to turn to love instead of fear.

This also brings me hope that I can be better in relationships with my kids, family and friends or even strangers, I suppose, because as they act out in ways that offend me or that are hurtful towards me or towards themselves I can investigate where they are coming from, is it a place of fear or love.  So often I’m quick to get offended at something someone does or says not realizing that the thing done or said has nothing to do with me at all, it has to do with where the other person is coming from.

Yesterday I was at church and I was offended by two people one right after another in the lobby.  As a ministry I donate items to the ladies room to make it more welcoming and I will spend time cleaning and sprucing up the lady’s room before, during and after service saying hello to ladies and helping them if they have a need.  After being offended in the lobby I was in a place of fear for sure, fear that I wasn’t enough in one instance and fear that I was too much in the other. I went to collect my things in the lady’s room and a lady in the restroom said to me that the hand sanitizer was empty…coming from fear I reacted by saying that I had no control over the hand sanitizer, thinking she was telling me it was empty so that I could refill it.  She then explained to me that she was just letting me know it was empty because she thought I was going to try and use it.  She was coming to me from love (trying to help me) I reacted in from a place of fear (protecting myself).

So we go through life setting off a chain reaction of love or fear. Each one of us reacting to others who are acting out of love or fear and then acting out of fear or love towards others.  We can stop reacting! This is good news.  We can move towards understanding and towards healing for ourselves and for others.

I’ll end with some verses from the Bible:

1 John 4:7-9

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.