For as long as I can remember, I was enslaved to fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, you name it. Every choice I made was directly influenced by these questions: What if I fail? What will people think? What if I’m not good enough? These “what if”s held me in a prison cell of pride, the fear of man, and ultimately kept me from fulfilling my true potential.
If we look at the life of Jesus, He was rejected by people on every level possible. However, the thing that was different about Jesus was that He served and lived for an audience of One and that One was His Father. Yes, He came to serve us, but in serving we must know why we do it. Why do we love? Why do we help those in need? Because someone first loved us. Jesus only did what the Father told Him to do, and the Father loved Jesus deeply. Out of the overflow of the Father’s love, Jesus came to serve us and share that love with us. His source was the Father, not us.
John 15 describes how Jesus is the true vine and the Father is the vinedresser. Verse 9 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” The word “abide” means to stay or to dwell. In this chapter,s the Lord tells us over and over again to dwell in His Love. This is where we must keep our hearts fixed. If we are constantly performing for an audience of man, we will be separated from the vine and will find ourselves filled with fear, striving for things apart from the tree.
The gift that Jesus brought us was the gift of redemption and grace, along with the commandment to love others the way He loves us. As we love others, we are loving because we were first loved. I had to personally experience the love of Jesus before I really understood my purpose and who I was. I believe that’s something we’re all searching for in this world. Searching for that something that makes us feel like we belong. Searching for why we exist, what we have to offer this world, and ultimately who we are and who we belong to.
The world tells us to strive after money, popularity, successful careers, finding your “other half,” etc. Yet, when I was living with this mentality, all I found was emptiness and dissatisfaction. My choices were influenced by the voices and actions of those around me instead of being influenced by God. When I finally came to the end of myself and the end of searching in the world for answers, the Lord found me.
Encountering His love and hearing how He sees me was the most pivotal moment in my life. He said I belonged in His family. He told me that there was more to life than these things. He told me that He would love me no matter how many times I fail. And He told me that my purpose in life was to be loved by Him, to love Him and out of that love, to learn to love others well.
Relearning my identity and my purpose in accordance with His Word has been a transforming process. The process has been soaked in tears and freedom. Yet I always hear His voice of encouragement, telling me that He’s with me in the process and that He’s proud of me. These are things I would never tell myself, so I know deep in my heart that it’s Jesus. Though I still feel fear, I can walk through the circumstances with boldness, knowing my best friend Jesus, is walking right alongside me, waiting to pick me up when I fall.
There’s no condemnation in His love, so there’s no reason to fear failure. Even though our friends or maybe even family shame us for our failures, the Lord is nothing like that. Just like how a loving father teaches his child to walk, God the Father is with us, teaching us how to live a life of love. We walk on with our heads held high and our eyes fixed on the Father of all creation, and try and try again in the midst of failure.
Nothing makes His heart happier than to see His children striving to reach new possibilities. When we are weak, He is strong. So I encourage you to press into His strong arms when you feel like you’re not good enough and let Him speak the truth to your heart. We have been made right with God through Jesus Christ. Comparison ultimately is telling the Lord that He made a mistake in making our identity. Our identity must be rooted in who He says we are and not anything else.
People didn’t create you, it is the beautiful Creator that knitted you together in your mother’s womb. So as He continues to break the chains of fear in my heart, I have found freedom in worshiping Him without fear of what others think. I’ve learned to keep trying and trying even when I fail, and I’ve learned to shut down the lies of condemnation and tune into the truth that I am unconditionally loved by the King of Kings. His love is the ultimate chain breaker and will continue to break these chains in your life, just keep pressing in and He will be faithful to give you all that you need.