The Illuminated Life: Because Some Things Bear Repeating
People, this woman is a gem.
I ran into Patty Scott in a group for writers on the West Coast. When I offered up the option to guest post to the group, she jumped in enthusiastically. We friended each other and since then, even in the few weeks I’ve known her, she’s been an extraordinary encouragement to me during a couple of very dry weeks.
You are going to love her take on The Illuminated Life, I promise. Go check out the rest of her blog. you will leave refreshed.
Because Some Things Bear Repeating
by Patty Scott
There is this sweet older woman at my church. She has raised six children and, though outwardly she walks with a walker, inwardly she runs with the Spirit. She once told me something I had never heard before. It bears repeating. She said, as though everyone knows these things, “God says some form of ‘Fear Not’ or ‘Be Anxious in Nothing,’ 365 times in His Word. That’s once for every day.”
Now I’m not much for contrived uses of scripture, like when someone refers to half a verse and it ends up totally out of context. But this – this 365 – one for every day, it grabs me and reveals God’s heart. Our God is in the details. He wants to assure us each and every day that we need not fear. And even if the number is a coincidence, it is sure that He echoed His loving will for us in this: Fear Not.
So I started thinking about why we need this reminder and all the ways we are like skittish sheep, unable to settle even though our Shepherd assures us we need not be anxious. Like sheep, we lose sight of Him and we feel vulnerable and exposed. Under the surface we know we are weak and lack the ability to provide our own needs and protection.
Over the years I have had many fears and they have blown in like uninvited storm clouds blocking me from believing His goodness. I have feared what would happen to my boys when they grew up. Would they stay the course? Or would they get sucked under into all the world holds out to them? I have feared rejection because my heart has been wounded too many times by losses and abuses from others who were wounded and never got the healing they so desperately needed. I have feared not being enough – which when I dug deep has roots in the debilitating fear of rejection and abandonment. I have held distressing rumblings in my heart over whether my needs would be met. I have thought that my life won’t add up to a bag of beans when all is said and done.
These fears, when they press in kept me self-reliant and insecure, and worst of all, they isolated me. I may have been surrounded by others, but I wouldn’t let them see the fears. I wouldn’t be vulnerable because I didn’t feel safe. I could be helpful. I could be seemingly perfect, the one who had it all together. But, I could not be afraid. And yet, I harbored fear and kept it hidden in my heart – trying my best to hide it from myself, from you and even from God.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
~ 1 John 4:18
God is in the details and not only that, He is in each of our lives.
His relentless love is not just for the whole world, it is for each person He made. It is for me. It is for you. He went to low places when He walked this earth as a man. He wasn’t afraid to go into the houses of sinners, to touch lepers, to speak to the outcasts. He came for them. He comes for us: the fearful. And to us, He says, “Do not be afraid” over and over until it rings out every day in our heart and we believe it.
To those of us who have feared He won’t give us what we need,
He reminds us of our own mother-heart for our children. Even though we are sinners, when our children ask us for bread, we don’t give them a stone. God doesn’t “take orders” but He gives what is best from His heart of love for us. Oh, my amnesia-prone soul, remember His love!
To those of us who have feared rejection,
He comes near and says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” You may not hear Him in those moments when your heart clenches tight and circumstances scream that He has forgotten you or doesn’t care about what matters most to you, but your emotions are not always a reflection of reality. He is with you and He cares beyond measure. This God who has counted the hairs on your head and has woven you together in the secret places before you were born, He is your great High Priest who sympathizes. This Creator of the seen and unseen has called you friend. Like Aslan in Narnia, He can seem to come and go, but you are never out of His mind.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things
~ Collosians 3: 1-2
When you fix our eyes on circumstances or on what others think or all that could be feared, you cannot keep your eyes on Jesus. We, the myopic, see only what is near. He is the lifter of your head. He comes to you, His beloved child, and tilting your chin up, He invites you to look at Him instead.
You are His delight.
Your heart may deceive you and measure you by the reactions and treatment of others. You may measure yourself by your accomplishments (or the way you feel you have never gotten enough done, well enough), but He is not measuring you by those standards. His measure is His love. He is a lover. His Name is Love. His love came down for you in Bethlehem. His love bent low to be beaten for you. His love went down to the grave for you. It doesn’t stop there. He comes down for you even today in this very moment as you are, where you are and He repeats the song of His heart for you.
Close your eyes and hear it deep:
The Lord your God is with you.
He is mighty to save.
He rejoices over you with gladness.
He will quiet your fears with His love.
He exults over you with joy.
~ Zephaniah 3:17
Patty is married to her beloved surfer husband, devoted to Jesus and blessed to be the mom to two wild, crazy, precious boys. Patty is a home educator, tea drinker, avid reader, and friend-encourager. She writes and speaks to inspire and bless by sharing the real, the beautiful and the reaching of her own heart on her website, Hearts Homeward.