Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Choices. Love. Fear.

Two choices. Love & Fear. We all live there. We make those choices daily in a multitude of situations, but we are usually not conscious that is what we are doing. While we would like to profess that most choices we make are out of love, I choose to differ.

One of the most profound examples of this comes from personal experience and the time my husband and I decided to send our son to Mexico to a therapeutic boarding school. Easily, we would say we did it because we loved him and wanted the best for him (which is, of course, true.) However, at the deep root of this decision was our terror (big fear) that he would not live to see another year if we didn’t do something drastic. So, truthfully the choice was made from fear disguised as love.

How often do we see that in the world today? This post began when a friend let me know she would not be allowed to teach in a Catholic church unless a priest “supervised” her program. I was reminded of another fabulous woman I knew in times past who spent 40 plus years on the mission field in Africa, but was not allowed to teach a protestant adult Sunday school class without a male partner. Personally, I was declined leadership in a women’s Bible study because I was divorced and might encourage others to leave their husbands (indirectly, of course ☹.) It would be tempting at this point to rattle on with a multitude of other examples such as war, prejudice, etc. but I shall not. I hope you can start to see in these examples where “well-meaning” people have disguised their fear in terms of what is best for others (so-called love.)

I am feeling close to being in over my head here, but I would like to pose the following: What would it look like if each day, each moment and each interaction we asked the question: “Am I acting out of love or fear? What is my motivation?”

This doesn’t mean that fear needs to go away (for there is no chance of that anyway). Fear can be very helpful and healthy and often keeps us safe. For example, I believe it is good to have a healthy fear of drinking and driving or having unprotected sex. (I am, after all, the mother of two teenagers.) Fear, however, can also keep us trapped inside a box—immobilized and stuck in old patterns of living. Stuck in fear!

We cannot change the past or the future which are both great feeders of fear. The only thing we can affect is this moment. The past is gone. The future will never arrive. All we have is right now. We have two choices in how we will live it. Love. Fear.

So, what might happen if each day, each moment and each interaction you asked yourself the question: “Am I acting out of love or fear?” How would your world change? I hope you will ponder that.


weebug said...

what a wonderful concise post, raising a very important question. thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Good questions and wise words. I do indeed need to ask myself "love or fear" more often.

God help me to remember this....

Your friend A

Anonymous said...

It should be a no-brainer, for we are far far from Eden, and very very close to Jesus and His mother, now: God is the God of love, not of fear. Fear of the Lord (tho' that exists too and certainly has its usefulness) is to be respect and awe for the Omnipotent God, but fear also was supposed to mean fearing our separation from Him, "Who art all good and deserving of all our love." Sometimes both fear and love are in play and one does not outweigh the other (you loved your son!) But indeed, it is food for thought. I began asking myself that question a while back. I really hate duplicity in myself! We so need honesty, even with self.

Sue said...

Great stuff, Lucy.

I *have* been asking myself this question a lot. This has been one of the areas of self-examination that has been happening in me pretty consistently for the past four or five years.

Asking this question can make life messier. It opens up doors we have closed years ago. It forces us to confront the most painful instances of the ways we humans consistently try to control our lives and have power over ourselves and other people, instead of dying to all of that stuff and living in the love of God. I don't think there is any more rubber-meeting-road than this question.

It is the bestest question to ask. The freedom it leads to is nothing short of stupendous (and I've only dipped my toe in this pond. I think the ripples extend out not only in this age but into the next one and the one after that) :)

Love the questions you are asking, dear Lucy.

Ted Marshall said...

I suspect that sometimes we cannot help but act out of both. In the situation with your son, it's difficult to see how you could not be fearful of the outcome, no matter how much love motivated you.
It is a very good question, though.

Dianna Woolley said...

I will, I am. Your questions are motivational, to say the least.


Anonymous said...

LUCY!!! Love the post and why do I all of a sudden hear some really loud music and want to fold into a sculpture?!!! As you know this has now become for me an age old question. I'm currently actively involved in A Course in Miracles, have caught a tiny glimpse of what living in Love would look like but find rather unconsiously I live in Fear. I have always gone back to some touch stone times in my life when collectively everyone was living in Love and I know that is where I want to be. I am grateful for your posts and friendship helping to brave the way and also for other very special Soltura sisters.....Amazing and Powerful examples!! Thanks for the Post. Love, Pamela

Kayce aka lucy said...

welcome to new commenters, weebug & justme!

i appreciate so much all of your thoughtful responses and to know that i am not the only one wrestling with questions such as these :-)

Hope said...

This post helped me put a significant piece of my puzzle together. My husband interacts with our adult children from a place of love and I am stuck in fear much of the time. "Be not afraid" has been coming to me often lately and now I know why. Thank you.

Kayce aka lucy said...

hope, it's nice to hear from you. i am so glad this post was helpful. i love the scripture "be not afraid." how appropriate!!!

Lins said...

I've always found this acronym helpful:

F alse
E vidence
A ppearing
R eal

Kayce aka lucy said...

right on, lins honeyman!!!

Country Parson said...

Fear, like guilt, is a great motivator. Love is not because love takes the courage to risk, and many, if not most, shrink from the terror of that risk. See, even the motivation to avoid love is driven by fear. That is why it is so hard to follow where Christ has led, even as it is easy to proclaim one's faith. Speaking only as and for Christians, maturity, particularly spiritual maturity is a matter of growing in the courage to love in spite of the fear that opposes it.

Kayce aka lucy said...

wise words indeed, cp. it is always a pleasure to hear what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

"True love casts out all fear." I gotta work on that. ;)

storyteller said...

Years ago I came upon a book by Jerry Jampolsky entitled LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR ... and that's what led me to A COURSE IN MIRACLES. The acronym shared by Lins in comments here captures the essential message of the COURSE which begins with these three lines:

Nothing real can hurt you.
Nothing unreal exists.
Therein lies the peace of God.

Amazing to consider. Thanks for the reminder Lucy,
Hugs and blessings,

Kayce aka lucy said...

gabrielle--thank you for that concise is truly a beautiful piece of scripture.

storyteller--funny you should mention the jamplosky book. i actually had it by my side and was looking for a quote from it when i wrote this post. i discovered this book when my son was in treatment at a wilderness program. it was one of the beginning foundations for me to start letting go of so much!!

i also have dabbed in and out of "the course" over the past few years, primarily through others' readings and references. yesterday i was in the bookstore, riding up the escalator when a book caught my eye on the first floor. they had "the course" text on sale for $12 so it is now residing in the assortment of books that lay by my bedside. i look forward to exploring it on my own.

hugs & blessings to you, too!

storyteller said...

Re: ACIM - In the late 1980s when I went looking for the Course, I could find it NOWHERE! I ended up buying my copy online from the Center for Inner Peace (I may have the name wrong, but it's something like that). It arrived in 3 books - the text (which took me YEARS to pick up), the Workbook that I started immediately -- doing a lesson a day for more than 5 years until it became a part of my life, and the Workbook for Teachers that I left for almost a decade before opening because I didn't feel ready (or worthy).

The day I walked into Costco in the late 90s (or early 2000s?) and saw it for sale there, I laughed aloud and thought ... this is an idea whose time has come!

Good luck with the Text (if that's what you picked up). It's not an easy read ... rambling ... off-putting (at least for me initially until I'd studied the Workbook a while) the way language is used ... tapping into some of the strict Dutch Reformed teaching I thought I'd left behind. That said, I'm a believer in the power of serendipity and things arriving when we're ready for them. I'd been studying the Course about 6 months when mom died and the "ex" left ... perfect timing.
Hugs and blessings,