What to DO
What NOT to Do.
Where is God in all of this?
What About God?
How would God really FEEL about that?
"GAIN GOD's ACCEPTANCE"
and then "STAY ON GOD's GOOD SIDE."
All those years, in my quest to have a closer relationship with God, I was horribly afraid of God.
The more other people told me WHAT TO DO and WHAT NOT TO DO, the more scared of God I became.
WHY FEAR GOD?
There were so many rules to follow. Even though I was constantly striving to do the right things, I eventually screwed up, sometimes without even realizing it.
When I screwed up... others would be there to quickly notice and point it out!
They looked at me, spoke to and about me as if I was some "evil person" or something.
Why didn't they notice how hard I was trying?
Why didn't they know how much my heart longed to please God?
Why didn't all the good stuff matter? (They only pointed out the bad stuff)
When would I be GOOD ENOUGH?
In all those "Christian People," I felt "God's" immediate Judgment and Rejection.
No matter how GOOD I was, they were there to point out how I still wasn't "good enough." They didn't ask me questions first to find out the whole story, they didn't seem to care that I didn't do it on purpose. Sometimes, they had even ASSUMED that I did something which I actually had not done at all.
Their reminders kept leading me to believe that I would never be "good enough" for God.
Was it their intention to discourage me OR make me more afraid of God?
I don't believe it was...
They seemed to be jumping through the same hoops I was, always striving to be perfect. Some even hid their mistakes, so others didn't find out they were not perfect either. Looking back, that was a BIG PART of the confusion for me! When the older people in our congregation were always "perfect," it seemed an impossible goal to reach. To all of us "young kids," they seemed to be looking down at all of us, always pointing out how bad we were. I think if they had realized that, they would have shared more of their past mistakes with us.
What About Forgiveness?
In Church, I listened to sermons about Jesus, who forgives us for all of our sins and commands us to forgive others, as He forgave us. The stories about Jesus accepting people unconditionally, regardless of what they had done seemed NOTHING LIKE the "God" I was always trying to please.
Jesus did NOT say:
"BE PERFECT and then I'll accept you. BUT that's only until you screw up again."
Jesus also did NOT gasp and say, "SHAME ON YOU!" as he wagged the "shame shame finger" at people.
The Jesus I read about in the Bible seemed quick to forgive and lend a helping hand, encouraging people to move passed their mistakes. Jesus supported LOVE, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS.
This didn't "seem like" the same "God" I was always trying to please.
If it wasn't the same "God," then what God was I really serving?
The Bible says: "thou shall have no other gods before me."
Instantly I felt scared thinking, "OH NO! I might have been mislead into serving the "wrong God!"
Fear of being Mislead
I heard so many Christians warn me about being mislead away from God, that the Devil is a "trickster." I listened to their advice and avoided all things that could potentially mislead me, to include people who may associate with those things too! I was super careful, as I didn't wish to be mislead, I was seeking a closer relationship with God. I wanted to know the God that Jesus taught about, not a different one!
The Bible says, "Seek and you will find." Matthew 7:7.
I visited with several pastors about this scripture, always asking questions so that I could better understand the teachings. I especially took interest in something my Brother-in-law (a Pastor) and his wife told me about this particular scripture. They said that the actual translation of "Seek" in this scripture meant something closer to:
"Crave it, aggressively seeking, hunting everywhere for it."
I began practicing that in my life, I searched for God EVERYWHERE. I looked at it as a sort of "Divine Hide & Seek."
Something interesting happened...
I sometimes got stuck FEARING that God would be upset if I looked in the "wrong closet" while I was looking for Him. I was still afraid of doing the "wrong thing," possibly offending or upsetting God in some way.
I became so afraid that I didn't dare SEEK GOD at all. I didn't dare take a step to the side, a step back or even a step forward. Which way was the right way to go?
I couldn't be sure, so there I was... FROZEN IN MY FEAR.
How could I SEEK GOD EVERYWHERE when I was too afraid of God to look anywhere?
Recognizing the Paradox
I desperately wanted to SEEK GOD, so I could finally have that close relationship with Him. Yet, I was too afraid of God's judgment and possible rejection that I didn't dare open my eyes. I realized that if I was going to SEEK GOD, I had to eliminate the fear that kept me from SEEKING, but how?
I prayed about it, asking God for the answer.
I kept praying, just talking to God and saying what I was feeling in my heart.
Questions popped into my thoughts....
Who is YOUR God?
Who do you believe is more POWERFUL, God or the deceiver?
Who do you FOCUS your attention on?
Which God do you serve?
Which one do you SEEK TO FIND.... God or the deceiver?
The scripture contained the answer!
SEEK and YOU WILL FIND.... I needed to be sure NOT to look for the deceiver, because that's what I did NOT want to find!
I prayed to God, asking that ONLY His messages be placed in front of me, so I could STOP FEARING being mislead by the deceiver and release all those deceiving fears that had kept us apart.
Every time a fear came, I prayed to God to remove it because He KNEW my heart's intent was to find Him and that I am SEEKING GOD EVERYWHERE.
It took awhile, but the fears came less and less.
The world seemed less scary. I found evidence of Good just about everywhere and felt comforted and more connected to God. I was finally developing the RELATIONSHIP with God that I had been wanting all those many years.
My relationship with God contains NO FEAR, I trust that God is all around me and always with me.
The Deceiver's Secret Weapon
FEAR was the deceiver's weapon which had held me hostage.
Previously, I feared so much, that FEAR itself had become the "God" I served.
By making me FEAR God, it kept me away from God. How did I not see that before?
Would a Mother or Father want their children to FEAR THEM so much they spend their lives fearing them instead of living?
As a Mom, I can honestly say the answer is- No!
What about God?
How would God feel about that?
Do you believe that God wants us to Fear Him?
Do you believe that God wants a loving relationship with us?
Do you believe God Loves Us?
Bible provided my answer:
"The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love." 1 John 4:18
The solution became crystal clear...
God and Fear do NOT go together... TRUST GOD.
Cast Out All Fear!
written by: Jennifer Kruse, LMT CRMT
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