Sunday, January 10, 2016

There is No Fear in Love

"Outside of the will of God there is nothing I want- and in the will of God, there is nothing I fear."  
-A.W. Tozer

I just finished up this painting and I just love this verse so much: that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18).

I have learned this so intensely this year, that staying fixed and focused and satisfied in God's love for me (the same love He has and offers to anyone, which is why I love to share it in my words and in my paintings, and hopefully in my life) produces the wonderful fruit of a life lived beyond circumstance and in total joy.

He may make us wait, but God always delivers to us the desires of our hearts once we acknowledge that they are there to point us to Him
It's with this attitude and sense of joy I will be moving to the mountains in a few days. Like making art for a living, it has taken me so long to believe in God's purpose for my life. My heart has always desired the mountains, a life near nature and full of peace and solitude, and I used to wonder why it never happened or when it would. 

I was living in my own head, for my own purposes, for my own pleasures, really- and then wondering why the universe wouldn't just give me what I wanted after I had (I thought) 'worked so hard' and 'been so talented' and 'been so good.' 

So learning to love God has been, in a nutshell, humbling. God's economy is not like the one of our minds. Learning to humble myself, to shine so that His light is reflected and His ways are seen and His perfection is glorified, I know is what has brought me to where I am- and will carry me wherever I go next.
The Lord has us step out in faith when the time is right: it may not always be the time we think is best for us, but it will always be the time He knows is best for us. The plans we think we want for our life are often wrong: God has in store for us so much better than even we could imagine, and he asks us to trust His love to adventure forward in revealing those plans to us through our life. 

It has been about three years- turbulent, messy, beautiful, fun, inspiring, sad, fulfilling, heartbreaking, and heart-mending- since I came to know the Lord. Since them, He has put temptation in my life that has proven my tendency toward stubborn, self-gratifying disobedience- and He has ushered me back in loving kindness to a pure path. 

He has watched me handle grief without any sense of trust or divine providence in Him at all- and He has shown His work in my life through the grace of a select few people who have loved me with His love, and helped me heal.
He has grown me from an at times timid, self-seeking, scared, self-doubting and lost individual to a trusting, inspired, faithful, patient, loving woman. 

As my Creator, I know His hand has been in my life all along and it has only been in recent years that I have opened my eyes to see it. I have seen how His love can achieve so much, and a happy, rejoicing heart is such better proof of our loving God than theology or religion or words. And this is what I want my life to be about: having a heart that rejoices in His love.

A heart that is grateful for what I have, grateful that I have the Lord's guidance, aware that I am now running to something instead of away from things. A heart of purpose and passion, and patience in getting there. One that is anchored in God and His plan for me, not one which discontentedly jumps about- from project to project, promise to promise, prospect to prospect, person to person, strategy to strategy- hoping to find ultimate fulfillment outside of Him.
I want my heart (and the hearts of others) to be at rest in the knowledge that it is worth something to the kingdom of God. My spiritual journey in the past few years has shown me the extent to which I had forgotten to do things from my soul: only working to store up money, only forming relationships to self-satisfy; ultimately, only living for me. 

Sometimes God lets us self-destruct, I think, because it makes the victory that much sweeter and long-lasting once He does deliver us from ourselves. The things I wanted out of life weren't coming to me then because I wasn't trusting, I wasn't aware of His love, and I wanted things only on my terms. 

But I have learned our souls are designed for Him, to be satisfied in Him- and once we see that the desires of our heart are placed there to glorify His purposes (of love, patience, kindness, joy, and peace), He will lift us up and use us in ways that make it worth the wait.
(No Fear in Love print available here.) 


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