Everyday we have the opportunity to make choices—some large, some small. Sometimes the options are so slim or grim, we may feel like we have no choices at all. Often we focus on the quality of the things we have to choose from. But the real issue is what is directing our choice- making. That is, what is the greater influence directing our life choices—love or fear?
When I was in college, I read The Purity of the Heart is to Will One Thing by Søren Kierkegaard in which he raised question: Why do you serve God? Because of a fear of hell or a love of God? This question transformed my world. Because my religious teaching was deeply influenced by a fear of God, fear was the basis of my relationship with God. Then I realized how much fear was the operating paradigm that dictated all of my life. And because I was afraid to “mess up,” I often did not take the risks and the leaps of faith needed to help me experience myself as a whole and courageous person.
Some argue that if people did not have the fear that God would zap for wrongdoing that they would abuse God’s love. Because this theology of fear instilled in me, at first I could not get it that God’s love for me is so great that no matter what “wrong” turns or “bad” choices I made, God would always search, find, and bring me to where I needed to be – like the parable of the lost sheep. Overtime, because of the challenge presented to me in The Purity of the Heart, I began seeking to make choices in relationship to God and all of life with a focus on love. To my surprise as I focused more on love, I had less desire to engage in any activities that did not honor God, myself or others. And the more I focused on love in all of my relationships, career choices, etc. I discovered more joy, power and freedom in all of my life.
Perhaps you have been making choices directed by fear for so long that you don’t even know when fear is leading you or how to follow love. So here are some things that work for me.
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ