Sacrifice is the Heart of Love

Back in 2008 I stumbled across a Death Cab for Cutie song called I’ll Follow You into the Dark.  Between the words and melody, it has a poignant beauty.  If it wasn’t so morbid, I probably would have used it as my wedding song.  There is one verse in the song that struck me especially hard.  It includes a line where a Catholic nun explains that “fear is the heart of love.”

As a New Age spiritual seeker, I simply could not get behind the idea that fear is the heart of love.  It sounds ludicrous, right?  Love feels good and fear feels bad – even a 5 year old understands that.  How can something that feels bad, be the core of the most cherished of human emotions?

Having converted to Christianity, I think the surface level answer is that everyone should have a reverent fear of the Lord.  Let’s be honest though, I’ve never been one to stay at the surface level.  My seeker’s heart wants to dig in, go deep and find the truth.  I’ve been exploring this idea.

When I think of it from the perspective of my relationship with God, the use of the word “fear” aligns more closely with the word respect.  He made me, more than that, He made everything.  Including billions and billions of galaxies, let alone Earth and all its inhabitants.  It’s clear I should have some fear.  That magnitude of power is incomprehensible.  He has full authority over it all and decides on my judgement day whether I am headed for paradise or destruction.  This is scary, and I think this is why many Christians say that fear is the heart of love.

Parenting

I’m a parent and I love my kids.  I love them so very much.  They bring me immeasurable joy, but I will punish them.  When my daughter sasses me for too long, she gets a time out.  When she says bad words or hurtful things, she gets a dab of soap on her tongue.  I’ve even gone so far as to (dare I say it) spank her hiney when she out and out disobeys me.  There are rules in our home and I hold her to them.  Her brother will be taught similarly once he’s older.

On the flip side, my children know I love them.  They see it not just in my rules, but also in how I take care of them.  I clean, cook, work, juggle and fear for them.  I desire their safety and comfort above my own.  I make choices today that I may find distasteful or unpleasant, for their greater good.  Truthfully, I can say the same for my husband – although I’ve never had to put him in time out.

In other words, my definition of love has evolved.  I reconsider the heart of love; it’s not butterflies, excitement, eagerness, and fun.

Sacrifice is the Heart of Love

When we truly love people, we sacrifice for them.  Not all day every day, but often and dutifully.  We do this because we value them above our personal wants.  That is generous, kind and faithful.  That is how God wants us to think and to be.  This is what Jesus demonstrated for us.

In the end, I’ll say that a dose of fear is healthy for our development, but that love is not defined by that or any feeling.  It’s defined by attentive and deferential actions taken regularly for the benefit of others.

 

Know Your Nature to Change Your Story

Life consists of choices and consequences.  Unfortunately many of our choices are made on auto-pilot.  We make them because of lessons we learn as children, defensive thinking from bad experiences, or even willfulness born out of addictive or destructive habits.  In other words, we harden our thinking (and sometimes our hearts) because of beliefs we made up.  We tell ourselves this is who we are, but is it really? Continue reading

I Need to Watch my Big Mouth

“You’re killin’ me!”  I heard my four year old say this to my two year old and I cringed.  I have become uber-conscious of the words I use and I know this is a phrase I used often.  Recently I found the books of Florence Scovel Shinn.  Her primary work is The Game of Life and How to Play It.  I’m reading this now, and will review it with you once I’m done.  It’s typical for me to power through a series of books by a single author, once I form an interest in his/her writings.  To date I’ve read Shinn’s both The Power of the Spoken Word and The Magic Path of Intuition – which I loved.  They are very repetitive and seem to be comprised of Shinn’s personal notes and journal entries whereas The Game of Life is a standalone book she made with intention. Even so her message resonates so clearly with me, that I see the repetition as a boon. Continue reading

Signs and Wonders

In the Old Testament God got Moses attention by showing him a burning bush.  Today if someone saw that, they would imagine a kid playing with matches and douse the bush with water. If they watched long enough to notice it wasn’t going out, they’d wisely call 911 thinking it was a dangerous chemical fire.  I wonder, how would a sign from above play out during this day in age? Continue reading

You Don’t Really Own Your Things

Since becoming a follower of Dave Ramsey months ago, I’ve watched hours of video on his YouTube channel.  On multiple occasions, he’s said that he is only the steward of his money.  He believes it all belongs to God, and that it’s his job to oversee it during the time it is in his possession.  Honestly, I never cared much for that sentiment.  My thinking better aligned with – my money and things belong to me.  I worked for them, I maintain them and they are mine. Continue reading

6 Questions That Can Help You Determine Your Calling

During a recent coffee date, a friend congratulated me on this blog.  She said it’s wonderful for me to share the content that I do, and that I am fortunate to have found a way to contribute to the world that is meaningful to me.  I felt honored by the compliment.  Then she told me she was happy with her life, but that she feels she is not pursuing her calling.  Furthermore, she has no idea what her calling is.

I love personal reflection and looking to more deeply know myself.  The idea of finding my calling has been on my mind since my late twenties.  I have read a plethora of articles and books on this very topic.  Below is a series of questions I feel helped me find some answers.  I advise people to consider them if they also want more clarity on how to align with their life’s purpose. Continue reading

How I Flipped the Script on My Fear

Here’s the thing about fear, it’s insidious.  It’s a weed that if not managed can quickly overrule your mind.  I know this, and because I know this I actively combat it.  In my life I have occasionally allowed fear to make my decisions for me, but more often I force myself to do what I think is right/good/smart despite my fear.  In fact, I’ve willfully taken on tasks that caused my knees to shake and heart to race nearly to the point of inducing a panic attack.  Even with this nature, with my guard up and a desire to fuel the world with good vibes and clarity, fear snuck up on me. Continue reading